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VOL. I, ISSUE II, MARCH 2010

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Rs 60

Putting the zing back to exploring the world


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CONTENTS EYE TALK Some amazing shots from the camera of former Chairman and MD, Pawan Hans.

COVER

STORY

IPL MANIA As the IPL fever grips the nation, we bring to you a quick overview of the cities that will play host to the event.

COMPASS

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NEWS, LAUNCHES & DEALS

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SHORT TAKES We bring you the latest from the travel world in terms of special packages, restaurant and hotel openings along with some attractive deals from across the globe.

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LUCKNOW: A VIEW WITH A DIFFERENCE

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

We have read plenty about Lucknow, but not about its grandeur, as seen from a cruise on river Gomti.

TWIN CITIES

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DOUBLE DELIGHT! Marco Gorin, is not only completely enamoured by India, but also can’t wait to take his family to his favourite restaurant Bukhara (ITC Maurya).

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RAJASTHANI DELIGHTS Similar to its rich culture and heritage, Rajasthani cuisine too is endearing in every way.


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N COVER STORY EGYPT The Pyramids and the Sphinx make Cairo incredible indeed but there is a lot more.

Volume I No 2

BEAUTY ABOUNDS IN DEORIATAL

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Editorial and Marketing Office: Newsline Publications Pvt Ltd., D-11(Basement) Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi 110 013. Phones: +91-11-41033381-82 Mumbai: Platina, 9th floor, C-Block, G-59, Next to Citibank, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East), Mumbai 400051, Tel.: +91 22 3953 0528 All information in TravelX is derived from sources we consider reliable. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. Opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract or in interviews are not necessarily shared by us. Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part(s) without prior permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any loss caused by any delay in publication, error or failure of advertisement to appear. Owned and published by K Srinivasan 4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Delhi-91 and printed by him at Nutech Photolithographers, B-240, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi-110020.

ow that winter has sneaked out of our lives, it is time to take a good look at the world around us. For a long, long time, we considered Cairo — or should we say Egypt — out of the way. Certainly, Cairo with its Pyramids and King Tut remained mired in history. No longer. Though connectivity is a tad difficult for travellers from other parts of the country except Mumbai, Cairo has suddenly become the destination to go to. And why not? It has history, geography, religion, culture and just about everything else. To top it all, unlike some other Islamic nations, it is not strait-jacketed. People are ‘very Indian’ — excitable, addicted to haggling, and love song and dance. Above all, most Egyptians have at some time in their lives seen a couple of Hindi movies. So, when at the beginning of my five-day trip I asked my guide and driver — a quiet and soft-spoken strapping six-footer — whether he had ever seen a Hindi movie and recognised any of the Hindi film stars, I was told, “I drove Amitabh Bachchan around for three days when he was here.” That broke the ice. I was given royal treatment after that. The love for Amitabh Bachchan apart, Cairo is an incredible city. There is so much to see and do that five days is just not enough. Though the holiday season is still far away, there is no harm in planning. Not only does that mean opportunities aplenty, but it’s the ideal time to take friends and family over for long-weekend lunches at places like Paparazzi in Bengaluru, and there’s lot more! Happy reading! Tirthankar Ghosh tghosh@newsline.in

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

GO GREEN WITH ITC GARDENIA 66 COOK IT UP AT 72 PAPARAZZI

Editor-in-Chief: K SRINIVASAN Managing Editor: TIRTHANKAR GHOSH Co-ordinating Editor: PRIYANKA SAXENA Reporters: Punit Mishra, Jasleen Kaur, Sreya Shandilya Special Correspondent - Mumbai: Roohi Ahmad (Mob. 9820295648) Design: Ruchi Sinha, Pradeep Jha, Shivnath Director: Ravi Sharma (Mob. 9650433900) Director (Admin & Corporate Affairs): Rajiv Singh (Mob. 9810030533) Senior Manager (Marketing): Varun Malhotra (Mob. 9650433099) Manager (Business Development): Pranav Khullar (Mob. 9650433088) Regional Sales Manager (South): Karthik K. V. (Mob. 9880209405) Asst. Manager (Corporate Affairs): Amit Sinha Subscription: Jaya Singh (Mob. 9650433044) Executive Director: Renu Mittal email: travelxletters@gmail.com, travelx@newsline.in

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FESTIVAL & EVENTS

Block your calendar

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2010 KUMBH MELA

In the holy city of Haridwar, Kumbh Mela a religious event where mystical minds meet — started on January 14, 2010, and will last up till April 28, 2010. Join throngs of pilgrims who have already started taking bath in the holy Ganges to wash away their sins. One of the auspicious bathing dates is Somvati Amavasya on March 15, when sadhus take bath, known as ‘royal bath’.

THIRUNAKKARA ARATTU The 10-day famous temple festival of Kerala, Thirunakkara Arattu takes place every year from March 15-24 at Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam District, Kerala. As is the norm with these festivals, the highlight is a procession of decorated elephants. Accompanied by drummers and other performers, they carry the temple God to be bathed. Nine elephants usually participate in the Thirunakkara Arattu.

GANGAUR FESTIVAL This year, Gangaur Festival will be celebrated from March 18 - 19 all over the Rajasthan. However, the festivities in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Nathdwara are the most notable. Gangaur is all about honouring the Goddess Gauri and is a manifestation of Parvati (Lord Shiva’s wife), who represents purity and austerity. The festival is predominantly for women, who fast and pray for a husband of their choice, or the welfare of their husbands.

MEWAR FESTIVAL Rajasthani people are all charged up with the enthusiasm to celebrate the arrival of spring, Mewar Festival from March 18 - 20, 2010, which coincides with Gangaur Festival. At Gangaur Ghat, on the banks of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, images of Goddess Gauri are transferred onto boats amidst much singing and celebrating, and taken out onto the Lake. The festival continues with a plenty of singing, dancing and finishes off with a huge display of fireworks.


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As rich and varied is its culture and topography, its festivals, fairs and events are also not far behind. A melange of traditions result in a uniquely diverse offering for the people. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s around the country this month. Choose from the plenty of festivals and events happening in different parts of India.

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ATTUVELA MAHOTSAVAM A delightful water carnival, Attuvela Mahotsavam is round the corner. Slated to take place on March 19, 2010 at Elankavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple, Vadayar, Kottayam District, Kerala, a procession of warmly illuminated canoes carry huge temple replicas through the water towards the temple. They are accompanied by lots of colourfully decorated small canoes and temple percussion music.

ARATTUPUZHA POORAM Another Kerala temple festival this month, the Arattupuzha Pooram, slated to take place on March 28, 2010, is a large elephant pageant featuring around 60 elephants bearing brightly coloured silk parasols. It is one of the oldest temple festivals in Kerala. Legend has it that on the day of the festival, 101 Gods and Goddesses from the neighbouring villages visited Sree Ayyappan, the presiding deity of the Arattupuzha Temple, in the Thrissur district of Kerala.

RAM NAVAMI Ram Navami marks the birthday of Lord Rama and is celebrated all over India. But it extends into a huge cultural event in Bengaluru, which will take place on March 24, 2010. Week long classical music and dance concerts are held at various locations around the city. One of the most recognised organisers is the Sree Ramaseva Mandali.

JEWELLERY SHOW

AUTOEXPO BANGALORE INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE EXPO

The three-day jewellery show will be held from March 20-22, 2010, in Bengaluru, where one can see and shop for an extensive range of jewellery and fashion accessories.

Feel the adrenaline rush at the Bangalore International Automotive Expo, lined up to take place from March 11 - 15, 2010 at Palace Grounds, Bangalore. The event will showcase around 500 automotive designs and technology and more than 10,000 business visitors and delegates will attend the show.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

SOUTH INDIA JEWELLERY SHOW 2010


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SHORT TAKES

Panjim Inn, Goa, welcomes you If you enjoy the comforts of WelcomHeritage properties, you can now also have them at Panjim, Goa. A heritage hotel, it consists of three different mansions next to each other — the Panjim Inn, the Panjim Pousada and the Panjim People’s. Ferry point and casinos are at walking distance and both the North and South Goan beaches are within easy access. The ground floor of WelcomHeritage Panjim People’s houses the gallery Gitanjali, showcasing paintings by contemporary Indian and overseas artists, while the others have facilities to host conferences.

Goa gets a taste of ‘Alila’ hospitality

Float amidst luxury in Kerala Park Hotels marks the group’s first venture into the leisure segment with ‘Apsara’ — the luxury lake cruiser and ‘The Park on Vembanad Lake’ — a boutique hotel in Kerala. Akin to a floating hotel, the eight-cabin cruiser ‘Apsara’ will take to the tranquil waters of Kerala’s Vembanad Lake and offer guests an unparalleled standard in luxury accommodation and backwaters experience. Meanwhile ‘The Park on

Indonesia beckons!

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

We often keep Indonesia synonymous to Bali, but the country has much more in store for you! Places like Raja Ampat (Papua), Bunaken (North Sulawesi), Wakatobi (South East Sulawesi), Komodo Island (East Nusa Tenggara) and Toba Lake (North Sumatera) promises an equally enjoyable holiday. The very fact that some 1,12,000 tourists from India Alila Hotels and resort — Asia’s leading luxury boutique hotel chain based in Singapore has opened its first property in India, in Goa. Alila Diwa Goa introduces the unique Alila experience to the destination. The 149-room hotel is a personalised lifestyle hotel, sited in South Goa along the coast of the beautiful Majorda Beach. The group is already planning to open more hotels in India, mainly in Bengaluru, Calicut and Cochin.

Vembanad Lake’, a luxury resort will act as a docking station for the cruiser. This unique ‘docking station’ for ‘Apsara’, has 10 luxury rooms (four deluxe lake view rooms, four luxury lake view rooms, The Vembanad Room and The Vembanad Suite). It also has a tented spa offering ayurvedic and international treatments, a gym, a restaurant and bar, a pool, pool deck and bar, and a performance space.

visited Indonesia in 2008 is testimonial of our interest in the destination. However, not many of us know that Indonesia houses more than 100 golf courses in addition to some excellent and cheap shopping.

Enjoy New Zealand with Singapore Airlines New Zealand, a country known for its adventurous spirit and eclectic regions has something in store for everyone. This time, it’s offering a special holiday fare aboard Singapore Airlines inviting tourists to fly to Auckland and Christchurch for just Rs 46,000 from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad. Tickets can be booked till March 7, 2010 for travel between March 1 to June 30, 2010.


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Swim with whale sharks in Sorsogon

FIRSTCUT

Beyond the pristine beaches of the Philippines, adventure awaits the intrepid tourist. The seas around the archipelago teem with marine life and from December to May each year, the shores around

Donsol in the province of Sorsogon play host to whale sharks known locally as butanding. Considered to be the biggest fish in the world, these whale sharks are largely vegetarian, which means it is safe to swim alongside! Sorsogon is fairly accessible and on arrival at the international airport in Manila, visitors can travel there by bus or coach. The town has several resorts that offer accommodation at reasonable rates.

India gets its first Mandara Spa The Radisson Resort & Spa Alibaug is launching India’s first Mandara Spa. Operated by MSpa International, a Thailand-based company. The Mandara Spa has redefined ‘luxury’ and ‘relaxation’ for its visitors. Joining its line of ‘firsts’, it is also the largest spa property (20,000 sq ft) in Asia. Treatments

include a variety of massage styles, seaweed, mud or herbal body wraps, facials, salt scrubs, aromatherapy, reflexology and a selection of freshwater baths. Guest can also tailor make a package to suit their needs, ranging from a half day package to two day packages, depending on the guests’ preference.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Buffet with a difference at Eggspectation Enjoy an unending bonanza of food, the North American way, at Eggspectation — the 24 hour resto café at Jaypee Vasant Continental and Jaypee Siddharth, New Delhi on Sunday afternoons from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. One can savour from a wide variety of unlimited soups, salads, breads and desserts for Rs 799 per person, add main course to this and get the deal at Rs 999 per person and if you want to enjoy limitless beer and white spirits, the meal would cost you only Rs 1,299 per person.


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Savour Chinese delicacies at Ano-Tai

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Ano-Tai, the Chinese specialty restaurant at Jaypee Vasant Continental has now incorporated the expertise of its new Chinese executive chef into its menu. The fresh menu has a compilation of finest Chinese delicacies of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like Sautéed tofu on a sizzler with garlic cloves and chef Li’s Peng sauce, steam garlic flavoured bean curd with soya and greens, golden thread prawns with tomatoes, spicy hot BBQ squid on a sizzler, crispy vegetables toast with sesame, tsu-jiao fish soup with chicken, stir-fried seafood with chives, stir fried sliced fish mint and chillies, chicken with chilli beer sauce on a sizzler, spicy chicken country style, sautéed duck on a sizzler with garlic cloves and many more!

DIDYOU

KNOW?

Leela chairman named

‘Hotelier of the Century’ The International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA), based in Geneva conferred the ‘Hotelier of the Century’ award on Capt C P Krishnan Nair, Chairman of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts. The award was presented by Dr Ghassan Aidi, IH&RA President at a glittering ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia on January 21, 2010. Several hundred international leaders and industry luminaries as well as representatives and members of the IH&RA attended the event. This is only the second time in the 140 years of the organisation that this unique award has been presented to an international hotelier. Recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and eight million restaurants, employs 60 million people and contributes $950 billion annually to the global economy.


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Phuket readies for motorcycle event! Celebrating 16 years of Phuket Bike Week on an international scale, the second annual Phuket Motorcycle Exhibition is set to hit the roads from April 9-13, 2010. The event is a must for all bike lovers and is an excellent platform to exchange contact information. Invited to be a part of this exhibition are international motorcycle companies. During the exhibition competitions for best of bikes will be held and souvenirs for bikers will be given. There will also be a colourful variety of concerts.

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Let Parisian delights enthral you We have often seen leading couples of Bollywood serenading outside the famous Eifel Tower and wished — “Kash…” Well, it’s time to turn your dream into a reality. With the aim to up tourist figures from India, Atout France — The France Tourism Development Agency, is going out of the way to roll the red carpet for its visitors. Paris, a city at the heart of Europe, has something for everyone in a multifaceted, magical, mythical and sometimes surprising. People come to Paris for its exceptional architectural and cultural heritage, which makes it one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It is also famous for its monuments and rich artistic and cultural life, which makes it a very important city in world history. The symbol of French

culture, Paris also stands for fashion, refinement, luxury, shopping, food and romance. The city offers a wide choice of shows, plays and operas and an unequalled choice of movies from around the world. The city of festivities, frivolity (with its cabarets), postwar swing and jazz cinemas, etc. is also a city of progress. So what you waiting for?

Take off from Bengaluru aboard Air China

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Expanding its wings in India, Air China is now connecting Bengaluru with Shanghai, w.e.f. February 28, this year. This new sector will be serviced by Air China’s Boeing 757 and will fly twice a week; on every Thursday and Sunday from Bengaluru to Shanghai via Chengdu. The launch of this flight is the airlines’ step forward to enhance mutual trade relations between India and China and to connect the two major IT hubs of the world — Bengaluru and Chengdu. This new flight service will offer seamless connectivity options for a large number of passengers not only to China but also beyond to West Coast USA, Korea, Japan, Australia. The airline is offering exclusive promotional fares starting from Rs 20,625 for a return ticket for a booking period from February 28 to May 31, 2010.

Ladies night out at Brown Sahib A hectic week, tiring schedule, or even bored at home — ladies, it’s time for some masti now! This Thursday, and every Thursday to follow, come to Brown Sahib for an unlimited supply of martini — from flavoured specials (Apple, Peach and Chocolate) to the favourite classic dry martini — all-inclusive in the price of one appetizer from its menu! On from just 7:30pm - 9:30 pm, Brown Sahib is doing it all ensuring

that the ‘ladies’ night out does not end up in a hangover the next morning! There’s a special bar menu created to whet your appetite — bite into Fresh shrimps with mixed herbs and malibu rum sauce (Rs 275), mini mushroom vol-au-vents (Rs 245), honey and chilli chicken wings with bleu cheese sauce (Rs 325), bhapa aloo (Rs 195), and many more delectable treats to go along with the heady martini cocktails.


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FIR ( F O R

Y O U R

I N F O R M A T I O N )

Swarovski Wien

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Showcasing crystal like never before Swarovski is proud to introduce its inspirational new brand centre and store in the heart of Vienna. Situated over three storeys between Kaerntner Strasse, Marco-d’Aviano-Gasse and Neuer Markt, Swarovski Wien makes a bold conceptual and architectural statement. With its stunning contrast between the existing 19th century facade and an avant-garde new glass construction, the light-filled centre becomes a fitting celebration of the beauty, preciousness and magnetic appeal of the world’s leading crystal brand — and a sparkling cultural addition to the Austrian capital. Designed by Innsbruck-based architects Hanno Schloegl and Daniel Suess, the scintillating new brand platform of Swarovski combines generously sized retail sales areas and theatrical exhibition

spaces within the ground floor, mezzanine and basement of an imposing 19th century industrial building in the Viennese centre. Swarovski Wien offers a new, unique shopping atmosphere, with the modernised interior of a historic 19th century building hosting an inspiring interplay of design, everyday culture and crystalline wonder, blend together into a generously sized shopping landscape. “We chose Vienna for a reason,” explains Markus Langes-Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, “It is a city that has served as a melting point between east and west for centuries and is a cultural platform - both in a historical, classical sense, and as a modern, trend-focused urban centre.” The company set out to develop a new format adapted to the capital, which would secure its permanent position in the city. Andreas Braun, CEO of d. swarovski tourism services


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gmbh, continues, “Vienna as a location reflects our traditional identity as an Austrian / European brand, which in turn, will now also become a fascinating part of Vienna’s identity in all its dazzling variety.” The new corporate and brand platform of Swarovski is a 15 million euro investment, and thus one of the most important projects of Swarovski in 2009. The new inspirational centre of Swarovski unfolds its magic across three levels. Alongside André Heller, the company’s long-term artistic adviser, Swarovski Wien was shaped by an international network of visionary individuals, symbolising the rich tapestry of partnerships that Swarovski

enjoys around the world. A unique voyage of discovery awaits visitors in Swarovski Wien, who are able to experience crystal in each of its facets. The spectacular “Honeycomb” exterior wall draws attention to the store from a distance, with the innovative facade — developed by Swarovski — making its debut in the Austrian capital, and shimmering beautifully through the use of thousands of crystals and LED lights. The facade is characterised by changing lighting moods, which vary from glowing molten lava to glittering, cool ice. Straddling the boundary between the interior and exterior, clear cubes offer the ideal stage for multimedia installations such as “Japanese Stilthouses”, by

Belgian artist Arne Quinze. He also created the sparkling “Bidonville Wall” for the entrance area, where urban constructions are reinterpreted in artistic fashion. A glistening, reflective wall entitled the “Lake of Shimmer” creates an optical link between the three floors. The creative concept was designed by the Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. Crystals become water with the “Cascade” chandelier, where the thousands of crystals that make up the three-metre-high piece plunge down from above. The spectacular installation, which attracts visitors? attention even from outside the store, was created by Vincent van Duysen for Swarovski Crystal Palace.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX


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(FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS) What do you suggest is the best time to visit Toronto? Well, the best time to visit Toronto is definitely the spring season, i.e., April to August. At this time, temperature ranges from 15째 celsius to 30째 celsius. And in winters, particularly in December to February, temperature remains -5째 celsius, which can be quite cold for the Indian traveller.

When we plan a holiday, we often delete some places from our list simply because of lack of knowledge on them. For all those who have been wanting to go to Canada for quite sometime now, here are a few queries answered by Robin Garrett, President and CEO, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, for you.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

For the first time traveller, which province should he go to? Undoubtedly Toronto. This is a great city to visit comprising the latest and hippest of everything, ranging from entertainment and culture to shopping and dining. You can spend weeks here, simply exploring the urban landscape. From tall buildings to some finest cuisine, when visiting Canada for the first time, let Toronto be your landing pint.

What about accommodation? The quantity and diversity of places to stay in Toronto are truly delightful, boasting of everything ranging from upscale urban hotels to rustic family retreats. Boutique hotels, suite hotels and resorts may help you sleep well if you win it big. Or if you are just looking for a little convenience, nothing beats a roadside motel. As far as pricing, it roughly varies from $100 to $400. However, special schemes and offers are announced every now and then.

What do we have to cater to the Indian state buds? A plethora of dining options awaits you in Toronto. Here restaurants combine your favourite dining elements in to an exciting sensory experience. Biryani House, The Dhaba, Jodhpur Club Indian Restaurant, Babur Indian Cuisine and Lahore Tikka House, and many more offer some amazing Indian food. What about air connectivity? Toronto is not directly connected. Emirates, Lufthansa, Jet Airways, Etihad, Air France and British Airways connect Toronto to various cities. What are the five must see tourist attractions in Toronto?  Niagara Falls  Royal Ontario Museum  Harbourfront Centre  CN Tower  PATH (underground mall)


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COVER STORY

IPL Season III

INDIA

Not Out!

Indian Premier League, by many standards, is far more than just plain cricket. This is probably the only brand in the country, which has the maximum number and the best mix of brand ambassadors in addition to a whopping amount involved in terms of marketing by IPL and advertising by companies. Back in India this year, this cricket carnival is all set to grip the nation, once again.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

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s it the IPL fever or IPL on dialysis? People may be divided whether the Season III of the Indian Premier League would be as successful as the Season I &II, which were termed as the ‘greatest cricket extravaganza’ from the advertising world perspective, IPL is a perfect case study in the world of advertising on how to market yourself and create a brand out of nothing. The Indian Premier League has moved from strength to strength in its two early editions. And the world has taken notice. The IPL has even made it to the fourth spot of the Forbes list of the world’s hottest sporting properties. The competition returns to India in March 2010 after its South African safari in 2009 and the stage is set for a contest that is more compelling, spectacular and multi-faceted than ever before. IPL is undoubtedly a fast and exciting

game of cricket with a huge dose of entertainment but a lot has been woven around to make it look like a carnival celebrating the festival of cricket. It has not only emerged as a hot media property but has redefined the concept of sports in India. It is today a brand, where who’s who of any field would like to be associated with it; a window of opportunities where you instantly get access to a million eyeballs, and a chance to stand on the high pedestal of fame and be the talk of the town or rather country. There is no denying the fact that the IPL fever has gripped India like kerosene dipped cloth catching fire! However, its ability to sustain and grow its popularity in the long-term depends on the ability of individual franchises to break out and become large media properties on their own. Well, what the future will hold, nobody knows, but at the moment, there is no denying the fact — IPL rules!


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Free Hit GRAB A TICKET Long lines and lathi charges, not to mention tickets being sold in black have always been the evils that plagued the Indian cricket fan when going to purchase tickets; however, the IPL has made things easier for the common spectator by launching ticket sales online and through ones mobile phone. One cay buy a ticket at www.iplt20.com. IPL MERCHANDISING IPL merchandise can be bought at the various venues when the matches are on and all sports good outlets such as Nike, Adidas and Puma will carry all the merchandise for their respective teams. Team apparel can also be bought at the respective team websites as well. Additionally, all the match venues will have stalls selling the merchandise on the day of each match! WATCH IPL ON BIG SCREENS The big screen essentially means the cinema halls. In one of its kind initiatives, UFO movies, Digital Distribution Company has entered into a bond with multiplexes like PVR, Inox, Fame etc and also with many other theatres with single screen to telecast IPL matches live in their cinema halls and create a “stadium like experience� with cheerleaders, music and IPL merchandise stalls! The ticket cost will be the same as of normal weekend movie tickets which is about 50 per cent more than a weekday ticket. Advertisements will be shown only before the match starts and after it ends.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX


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DELHI

Dilli dares to play

What to see

THE FEROZESHAH KOTLA GROUND Q Established: 1883 Q Capacity: 45,000 Q Named After: Sultan

Feroz Shah Tuglaq Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI: India vs Sri

Lanka, Sept 15, 1982 Q Last ODI: India vs

HUMAYUN'S TOMB This magnificent structure was the first of the many garden tombs that were to come up during the reign of the Mughals and is today a popular touristy place.

Australia, Oct 31, 2009 Q Home Team:

Delhi Daredevils

H

CONNAUGHT PLACE Metro, Delhi's new transportation lifeline, will take you to Connaught Place (CP), a sprawling circular market built in 1931. Great shops interspersed with eating joints of all hues and street hawkers. Spend a day loitering around CP — shop, eat, walk relax.

ave you ever wondered what makes Delhi so exciting for a visitor? It is the fact that it is many cities rolled into one — from an ancient Mauryan settlement through the kingdom of the Lodis and later of the Mughals to modern New Delhi, the emergence of a modern metropolis within the ramparts of the still existing walls of these old cities makes it an unbeatable destination.

Delhi is currently going through a major overhaul as it readies itself for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and March-April are about the last months that one can travel around Delhi before the hot summer sets in. So, make the most of the IPL — see Delhi while even as you don’t miss your cricket! And along with don’t forget to try and taste delicious cusines of Delhi.

CULINARY DELIGHTS Q

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Daryaganj is host to Moti Mahal — where at night you get to listen to qawallis while you taste some of the best food from the Western Frontier. Daryaganj is close to the stadium. If you have a sweet tooth, Chandini Chowk is host to Delhi's oldest establishments for sweets. For those who like meat, Karim’s Hotel is where you could head for before a match or after it. This hundred year old restaurant serves outstanding tandoori food. For those who would rather be adventurous there is no dearth of places where one gets great food from late evenings to early mornings.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Comfort Inn The President

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

4/23-B Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, Tel: +91-11-42831666, 1800-117-117 Rates: Superior Room: Rs. 7,000 (Double), Rs. 6,500 (Single) The Hotel also has a reputed restaurant 'Café Tandoor' for great dining.

Hotel Broadway THE BAHA'I TEMPLE Also known as the Lotus temple, this beautiful monument, promotes the notion of unity in diversity.

4/15 A, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, Tel: +91-11-23273821 Rates: Single Room: Rs 2,095, Double Room: From Rs 3,795 to Rs 4,495. Broadway's 'Chor Bizarrre' is one of the best places to taste authentic Kashmiri food. Additionally, there are cheaper, tolerable hotels in Daryaganj which range from Rs 400 to Rs 1,200 per day. Athiti Palace, Flora and Oasis are among the three better options from these. These may not be the best hotels to stay in but are convenient for a host of reasons.


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CHENNAI What to see

Land of the super kings M A CHIDAMBARAM STADIUM Q Established: 1916 Q Capacity: 50,000 Q Named After:

M A Chidambaram Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI:

India vs Australia, Oct 09, 1987 Q Last ODI: Africa XI vs Asia, Jun 10, 2007 Q Home Team: Chennai Super Kings

MARINA BEACH Only a few beaches in the world can be compared with this beauty. After viewing the day's match you can come and have a stroll here or just cool off your heels in the surging waves.

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KAPALEESWARAR TEMPLE A typical example of Dravidian architecture, is the oldest in the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva it has some excellent sculptures among which the idols of 63 Nayanmars, Saivite Bards are a treat to the eyes.

hennai is a quintessence of classical arts, coffee and cricket. For any discerning visitor Chennai offers a cornucopia of entertainment. Those interested in Fine Arts can have them in any of the Sabhas. Nowadays even the public parks have started playing host to the artistes. The Chennaiites have imbibed two things from Englishmen one is he language which flows

impeccably from the locals and other is the catholicity with which they have adapted themselves to the cricket. The cricket is almost an addiction in them which they are proud of. Chennai is a flash in the world map and a bright star in the firmament of Information Technology. No wonder it is termed as “Detroit of India”. But for now, it is gearing up to hold the IPL match in March

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Tiffin and breakfast items include Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Upma served with chutneys and hot sambar. Dishes like vada can be had as snacks. These dishes can be had at udipi restaurants. Vasantha Bhavan and Saravana Bhavan are recommended for high quality food. Try the filter coffee at Saravana Bhavan. Never miss Mysore Bonda soaked in Sambar which you can find in most of the hotels. You can have the taste of tandoori food at Copper Chimne (Cathedral Road). Non-vegetarians will relish the Chettinad food at the specialised restaurant — Saravana Chettinadu.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Crystal Residency MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

51/22, Model School Road, Chennai, Tel: +91-40-28291305-07 28291325-26, Tariff: Rs.1,600-2,250.

VALLUVAR KOTTAM A memorial to commemorate the life and works of great saint poet Thiruvalluvar. It has a stone chariot with a life size statue of the poet installed in it.

Comfort Hotel 22,Vallaba Agraharam(Opposite Star Theatre), TH Road, Chennai Tel: +91-40-28587663 Tariff: Rs.1,200-1,500

Hotel New Park 136-137, Bells Road, Chennai, Tel: +91-40-28588889 Tariff: Rs.1,400-1,800


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BENGALURU

Royal challenge for cricketers

What to see

CHINNASWAMY STADIUM Q Established: 1969 Q Capacity: 50,000 Q Named After: M Chin-

naswamy Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI: India vs Sri

Lanka, Sep 26, 1982 Q Last ODI: India vs

England, Nov 23, 2008 Q Home Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore

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rom pensioner's paradise and air conditioned city to pub city and silicon center , Bengaluru has traversed a long way. The cantonment settlement of nostalgic Englishmen is now a cosmopolitan metropolis, hailed by some as the country's fastest growing city. For a tourist, it makes a pleasant stopover, a transit point to other popular destinations in the state and around. There is a plethora of sights to see and

places to explore. Besides historical monuments, palaces, pubs, parks; there are plentiful delights like museums, art galleries, and glitzy shopping malls. The weather which is its most alluring feature, adds to its attractions as a place for a relaxing break. The diversity of cuisine is reflective of the social and economic diversity of Bengaluru.in Addition to it, the city is also a major center of Indian classical music and dance.

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CUBBON PARK The 300-acre of natural gardens in the heart of the city serves as Bengaluru’s green lung besides a pleasant conduit between some of its most important areas in the heart of the city.

LAL BAGH Laid out in the 18th century by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan.Its famous Glass House, modeled on the lines of the Crystal Palace in England , is the venue of the bi-annual flower shows.

Try the mutton stew and Appam or the bacon omelette with thick slices of buttered toast for breakfast at Koshy's. The Fish Biryani or the Kerala fish curry served with rice and fried Papads make a hearty meal. Karavalli can savour the best coastal cuisine in the city. The USP of the restaurant is the handpicked seafood cooked in freshly ground spices. Relax over a pint at Windsor Pub and tuck into Crab Rasam. The specialty of the place is the Pandi (pork) curry, a Kodava dish. Also check out for seafood specialities like Squid Masala or mussels If you are craving for variety, head to Food Street at V V Puram which is choc-a-bloc with dozens of eateries, temporary establishments and countless pushcarts that serve mouth-watering local vegetarian food, from akki roti to the Chinese bhel.

BOOK A BED AT:

54, Brigade Road, Bangalore, Tel: +91-80-2559 1915, 2532 7190 Executive Room: Rs 4,500 (Double), Rs 3,800 (Single)

The Chevron Hotel 147, Infantry Road, Bangalore, Tel: +91-80-2235 6000/ 6004 Deluxe: Rs 6,050 (Double), Rs 5,550 (Single)

ISKCON TEMPLE The lavishly decorated ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) temple has a stunning shrine of Krishna and Radha. It is a blend of modern technology, traditional styles and spiritual harmony.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Monarch


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JAIPUR What to see

Rajasthan hosts the royal war SAWAI MANSINGH STADIUM, JAIPUR Q Established: 1983 Q Capacity: 30,000 Q Named After: Sawai

Mansingh Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI: India v Pak-

istan, Oct 2, 1983 Q Last ODI: India v Pak-

CITY PALACE Located in the heart of the walled city, the palace is a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture and the ex-royal family still lives in a part of the palace.

istan, Nov 18, 2007 Q Home Team:

Rajasthan Royals

S BIRLA LAKSHMI - NARAYAN TEMPLE The Lakshmi - Narayan Temple known as Birla Mandir is situated just below the Moti Dungari. This is a modern temple built of white marble on top of a hill, dominating the skyline of south Jaipur.

ome call it the City of Forts others have dubbed it as the Pink City, the nomenclature doesn't matter, what's important is that there are a million reasons to visit the city of Jaipur and add in some high voltage cricket into the mix and the picture just gets merrier. Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan. Although Jaipur serves mainly as a stepping stone for travellers heading to

the desert cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, it is not without its own attractions, such as several massive Rajput forts. Even though the distances in Jaipur are far and tricky, transportation would be least of the concerns as the state Capital is wellequipped to handle the influx of visitors. The newly renovated Sawai Man Singh stadium is one of the best and state-ofthe-art venues in the country.

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Jaipur is known for its diverse and mouth watering cuisine. The city is packed with a large number of multi-cuisine restaurants. Some of them include Niros, Surya Mahal, Copper Chimney, Indian Coffee House, Natraj, Dasaprakash, Jaipur Darbar, Surabhi Restaurant, The Palace CafĂŠ, Om Revolving Restaurant, LMB Restaurant (Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar), Handi Restaurant, Chokhi Dhani, Gulab Mahal - Jaimahal Palace and many others A large number of delicious Indian snacks are also worth trying. The Dal Batti Churma, a Rajasthani speciality, is the most popular snack of the city. The samosas, kachoris or the Mirchi Badas, which consist of thick green chilies smeared with gram flour paste and deep-fried, is a hot favourite amongst the locals. Those with a sweet tooth can go for the Mawa Kachori, Ghewar and other types of sweet dish.

BOOK A BED AT:

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Sumati Villa HAWA MAHAL The poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace of winds. This five-storey building is a fascinating example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its delicately honeycombed 953 pink sandstone windows known as jharokhas.

7 Shubham Enclave, Jamnalal Bajaj Marg, Near Civil Line Crossing, Jaipur. A budget guest house located in the heart of the city and situated near the bus and railway station. Rates start from Rs 1,300

Arya Niwas Hotel Sansar Chandra Road, Behind Amber Towers, Jaipur A feudal lord's mansion converted into a hotel with the ambience of a stately home. Centrally located, family managed, cafeteria serving decent vegetarian food and a garden to relax in during the evenings. Rates start at Rs 1,800


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DHARAMSALA What to see

Kings conquer the hills HIMACHAL PRADESH CRICKET ASSOCIATION STADIUM, DHARAMSALA Q Established: 2003 Q Capacity: 21,000 Q Named After:

Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Q Floodlights: Four Q Home Team: Kings XI Punjab

TSUGLAGKHANG COMPLEX This prime tourist attraction has the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet containing some beautiful statues and thangkas, as well as a Kalachakra temple with beautiful murals. It is the monastery of the Dalai Lama, and is located just in front of his residence.

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estled in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley, against the backdrop of the Dhuladhar Range, the beautiful city of Dharamsala is an enigma. Divided into three parts-McLeod Ganj, Kotwali Bazar and Kaccheri area, Dharamsala is home to thousands of Tibetans and their exiled leader the Dalai Lama. Dominated by its Tibetan community, this small town has still BHAGSUNAG FALLS Bhagsunag falls has many waterfalls, an ancient temple, numerous slate quarries and a fresh water spring. This place is at a distance of around 11km from Dharamsala.

retained the colonial lifestyle and British fervour. One of the most popular tourist destinations, Dharamsala will face its biggest test this year when it, for the first time, hosts some of the matches of the Indian Premier League. The mega event has enthralled millions around the world, so one could expect an increase in tourist influx during and around match days.

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McLeod Ganj is a great place for eating, and the town has an abundance of restaurants, especially in the mid to upper range that cater to foreign tourists. Dharamsala is a good place to try Tibetan food and beverages like Momos, Thukpa - a hearty noodle soup with veggies or meat and Pocha, salty tea churned with butter, a Tibetan staple. The best places for fine dining includes, The Common Ground CafĂŠ, Namgyal Cafe Shangri La Restaurant, J J I's Restaurant, Le Vrai CafĂŠ and many more.

BOOK A BED AT:

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Jagatram Niwas Located above McLeod Ganj in the quiet rural village of Heini, it offers clean, stylishly furnished rooms and traditional Himachali home-cooked food. Tel: +91-98161-43957, Rates: Rs 800 / night, including breakfast.

Annex Hotel MISCELLANEOUS Kunal Pathari Temple, Dal Lake, Triund and Dharamkot are other sites worth seeing.

Located on Surya Road, the hotel has 10 rooms, with good amenities Tel: 91-1892-221002, Rates: Rs 850-1,800

Honor House Located off Temple Road, this has been home to stars like Richard Gere. Rates: Rs 1,900 and up.


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NAGPUR

In the city of Oranges

What to see

VCA STADIUM, JAMTHA, NAGPUR Q Established: 2008 Q Capacity: 45,000 Q Named After:

Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI: India vs Australia, Oct 28, 2009

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amous for its oversized oranges and friendly inhabitants the city of Nagpur will host IPL matches for the first time. The Orange City is famed for its laidback lifestyle and it always lives up to this reputation! The city is one of the few which enjoys the privileges of a fastgrowing metropolis-in-the-making along with the pleasures of a large, well spreadout town still in an idyllic and unhurried

state of mind. People are friendly in nature and do have plenty of time to help and navigate you across the city. The city has one of the best infrastructure and traffic woes are really a distant dream here. The ultramodern VCA stadium is located in Jamtha, which is around 25km from the main city, but after witnessing a match in this state-of-the-art venue, the distance is worth travelling.

SEWAGRAM When in Nagpur, visit Sewagram and revisit an important slice of India’s independence struggle.

AMBAZARI LAKE In the evenings one could spend quiet moments with nature at the quaint Ambazari Lake, which is beautiful and pristine.

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Nagpur has a lot of good places to eat. Many hotels in Mominpura (This neighbourhood is a must visit during month of Ramzan) is famous for its Biryanis. The best continental can be savoured at 10 Downing Street in Ramdas Peth and Fountain Sizzlers & Bistro for amazing sizzlers. Mount Road near Sadar is the best hang-out for foodies. Ashoka for continental or Indian, Nanking for Chinese and Barbecue for Punjabi.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Centre Point

The Pride Hotel, Nagpur Opp. Airport Wardha Road, Nagpur- 440025, Tel: +91-712-2291102 / 06 With five-star like facilities, the hotel offers a variety if dining options. In addition to this, there are a number of both expensive and cheap accommodation options available for the tourists. Some of them are Hotel Tuli International, Hotel L B, Hotel Heritage and many more.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

24, Central Bazar Road, Ramdaspeth, Nagpur, Tel: +91-712-2420910-16 The 'Duet' Coffe shop and Roof Top restaurant are a delight

CULTURAL EVENTS Nagpur is known for hosting a series of culturally significant events such as handicrafts exhibitions, tribal dances, folk-art programmes. Kalidas Mahotsav, the Ganesh Utsav and Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din are some of the more popular events.


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CUTTACK What to see

Charge up the warriors BARABATI STADIUM Q Established: 1958 Q Capacity: 45,000 Q Named After:

Barabati Fort Q Floodlights: Eight Q First ODI: India vs

England, Jan 27, 1982 Q Last ODI: India vs Sri

RAVENSHAW COLLEGE Ravenshaw College (now Ravenshaw University) — established in 1878 for Thomas Edward Ravenshaw, a descendant of William Withers — is one of the oldest colleges in India.

Lanka, Dec 21, 2009 Q Home Team:

Deccan Chargers

C BARABATI FORT Barabati Fort is a 14th century fort. The ruins of the fort remain with its moat, gate, and the earthen mound of the ninestoried palace, which evokes the memories of past days. Today it sits next to the modern Barabati Stadium.

uttack, the former capital and one of the oldest cities of Orissa is the administrative headquarters of the district. Cuttack is famous for its stone revetment on the riverbanks, a great engineering marvel of the 11th century AD and a remarkable example of ancient technological skill or Orissa. The town is situated at the apex of the delta formed by the rivers

Mahanadi in the North and Kathajodi in the South. It serves as a convenient base for touring the various places of interest in the district. The Barabati Stadium in Cuttack is one of the older grounds in India. It has hosted several touring sides — including the MCC, the West Indies team and the Australians — before it hosted its first international match.

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Cuttack food includes many vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies prepared in the city. Rice is the staple food of the people of the city. Bhindi Bhaja, Kadali Bhaja, Aalu Palak, Jeera Pakhala and Saag are some of the vegetarian dishes prepared in Cuttack. Some of the non-vegetarian Cuttack foods are Prawn Malai Curry, Crab Kalia, Chilli Fish and Fish Curry. Pavillion is one of the popular restaurants in Cuttack. It is housed inside Hotel Ashoka. It is known to offer Mughlai, Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisines. However, the specialty of the restaurant of Cuttack is Oriya cuisine.

BOOK A BED AT:

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Bombay Inn Ice Factory Road, College Square, Cuttack, Tel: +91-671-2649009, Tariff: Rs 700-Rs 1,100

CHANDI TEMPLE Chandi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple is highly revered by devotees.

Hotel Akabari Continental Dolamundai, Cuttack-1 Tel: +91-671-2423269/ 2423251/ 2423254, Tariff: Rs 700-Rs 1,100

Hotel Sagarshree Haripur, Dolamundai, Cuttack. Tel: +91-671-2430251/ 2433132/ 2429037, Tariff: Rs 450- Rs 1,050

Hotel Dwarika Bajrakabati Road, Cuttack, Tel: +91-671-2421345/ 2422220, Tariff: Rs 650-Rs 1,500


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AHMEDABAD What to see

Addition to IPL fervour SARDAR PATEL STADIUM Q Established: 1982 Q Capacity: 48,000 Q Named After: Sardar

Vallabhai Patel Q Floodlights: Ten Q First ODI: India vs

Australia, Oct 5, 1984 Q Last ODI: England vs

SABARMATI ASHRAM A visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, where Gandhiji lived is a must-you get a glimpse of his life and the freedom movement and come back humbler.

West Indies, Oct 28, 2006 Q Home Team: Rajasthan Royals

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SIDI BASHIR MOSQUE (Jhulta Minars) The mosque narrates the rich history which reflects the growth of culture and commerce of western India over the century.

f you are planning an impromptu holiday during the IPL then do the impractical or the unusual. This time stay clear off the hills, the sands and the beaches, and hop onto the next train or flight to Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad bears a long and old history of art and culture with exquisite architectural prowess. You can visit this beautiful city at anytime in the year. Apart from cricket, tourists will have a

lot of other activities that they could indulge in Ahmedabad. Travelling in Ahmedabad poses no problem as auto rickshaws and taxis come readily available. There is also an inter-city bus service but if you are in the city for a few days, auto will suffice. For those looking to splurge then taxis will seem the better option. Thus, as you watch cricket, savour some Gujarati cuisine in this no-alcohol city.

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The IPL season is also a season for some delectable traditional Gujarati dishes like Undhiyo (a rich gravy preparation of farm fresh vegetables) and Panaki (savoury rice flour pancakes cooked between two banana leaves served with yoghurt). Some of the notable restaurants in the city are, Vishala known best for their best dish: thali meals. This restaurant is a must-visit for any tourist visiting the city. One should also not give Sankalp a miss as it is one of the famous institutions of Ahmedabad specialising in South Indian fare.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Lemon Tree Hotel

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

434/1, Mithakali Six Cross Roads, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad-380006 Tel: +91-79-44232323

Hotel Forture Landmark MANIK CHOWK It is the main bazaar of the old city which is a hub of gold and silver jewellery.

Ashram Road Ahmedabad-380 013 Tel: +91-79-39884444

Comfort Inn Sunset Airport Circle, Hansol, Ahmedabad, Tel: +91-79-2286 2591 Tariff: Rs 6,370


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MOHALI

Lions roar in Punjab

What to see

PUNJAB CRICKET ASSOCIATION STADIUM Q Established: 1993 Q Capacity: 30,000 Q Named After: Punjab

Cricket Association Q Floodlights: Thirteen Q First ODI: India vs

South Africa, Nov 22, 1993 Q Last ODI: India v Australia, Nov 02, 2009 Q Home Team: Kings XI Punjab

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ever has a city ever been defined by a sports arena that existed within the confines of its boundaries. But for the past decade, the mention of the word 'Mohali' was synonymous with cricket and the magnificent stadium that was built in the heart of the small, industrial Punjab town to the average Indian. Mohali is a city also known as the twin city of Chandigarh that is located in

Mohali district, the 18th District of the state of Punjab. Mohali would rarely be called a tourist haven but its proximity with Chandigarh and Pinjore makes it the perfect place for a cricket enthusiast with a penchant to travel. The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium at Mohali, on the outskirts of Chandigarh, is a truly world-class venue with excellent practice facilities and spectator-friendly outlook.

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You can relish all type of cuisines from local Punjabi flavours to Continental cuisine. Nearly all major Western fast food chains have registered their presence in Chandigarh. A variety of restaurants can be found in the Sector 35 market, ranging from traditional Indian sweet shops (Gopal's), Burger joints like McDonalds to formal dine-in joints. To spoil yourself with delicious Chinese you can visit Yin Yang, which gives you superb taste at best prices.

PINJORE GARDEN When it comes to excursions around Chandigarh, Pinjore gardens deserve a special mention. Chandigarh Pinjore Garden serves as the venue for hosting the annual event of mango festival.

ROCK GARDEN Rock garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall. The best part about the rock garden is that each of its artwork has been made by using industrial and urban waste.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Aroma Sector 22, Himalaya Marg, Chandigarh, Tel: +91-172-5085001

Hotel The Komfort Inn SCO 98-99-100, Sector 17C, Chandigarh, Tel: +91-0172-2701614 SCF 119-120, Phase 3B2, MOHALI

Hotel The Majestic Phase 9, S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) Chandigarh Tel: +91-172-2232777, 888, 999 Since Mohali has limitations in terms of accomodation, most tourists prefer to stay in Chandigarh where choices are aplenty, ranging from the Taj, a five-star property, to numerous budget eccommodation.

SUKHNA LAKE Sukhna Lake is a beautiful lake that lies in the foothills of Shivalik range. The unique thing about Sukhna is that it is a manmade lake. if you want to rejuvenate yourself, then Sukhna Lake is the perfect destination for you.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

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MUMBAI

Gateway to great cricket

What to see

BRABOURNE STADIUM Q Established: 1936 Q Capacity: 30,000 Q Named After:

Lord Brabourne Q Floodlights: Four Q Home Team:

Mumbai Indians

D Y PATIL

GATEWAY OF INDIA The Gateway of India is the most popular tourist attraction in Mumbai, located on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai. Its design is a combination of both Hindu and Muslim architectural styles.

Q Established: 2007 Q Capacity: 55,000 Q Named After: D Y Patil Q Floodlights: Four Q Home Team:

gh the railway network with major Mumbai Indians cities of India. Buses and Taxis to Ukhimath are easily available from Rishikesh.

C VICTORIA TERMINUS An outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture.

ricket is undoubtedly India's most popular spectator sport and Indians are renowned for their love for the ‘gentleman’s game’. A number of new venues have been included this year for the DLF IPL and Mumbai and its twin-city Navi Mumbai, have both been selected as venues. The Brabourne Stadium, which is one of the venues of the IPL matches, is still surrounded by gothic buildings.

The D N Road is one of the longest heritage corridors in Asia. It begins close to the city’s most ostentatious heritage building — the Victoria Terminus (CST) until it meets the Bay near the Gateway of India, a symbol of Mumbai's colonial legacy. While the Brabourne Stadium is scheduled to host a majority of matches, the opening match will however be played at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

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While in Navi Mumbai, for a typically vegetarian fare one can try the Prathika Restaurant near the State Bank of Travancore in sector 35. The lane behind the Taj is famous for its street food, and the quaint heritage restaurant Bade Miya is Mumbai's famous non-vegetarian hangout. While in Mumbai, do not forget to grab 'vada-pav' from any of the city's innumerable roadside stalls. If time permits, visit Tendulkar's in Colaba for the thrill of eating at Mumbai Skipper’s kitchen.

BOOK A BED AT: Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Hotel Astoria J Tata Road, Churchgate, Mumbai, Tel: +91-22-6654 1234, Rates: Superior Room: Rs 6,500 (Double), Rs 6,000 (Single)

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotel Ritz JUHU BEACH This suburban beach has plenty to offer everyone. Juhu 'Chowpatty' is a vendor's and visitor’s delight with innumerable food counters. An unusual sight at this beach is the camel ride, which is both fun and popular.

5, Jamshedji Tata Road, Churchgate, Mumbai, Tel: +91-22-22850500, Suite Room: Rs 10,320, Deluxe Suite: Rs. 13,080 Additionally, there are several upscale and mid-range hotels close to airport terminals. The more expensive Leela Kempinski and Maratha Sheraton are within half-a-kilometre of the international terminal, while the more affordable Kohinoor and Mirador are off Andheri-Kurla Road about two kilometres away (equidistant from both airports) . The Yogi Executive Hotel is perhaps the closest three star facility to the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Days Inn on the Palm Beach Road and the Fortune Select Exotica in sector 19 are equally good options.


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KOLKATA What to see

Cricket knights ride Bengal EDEN GARDENS Q Established: 1864 Q Capacity: 90,000 Q Floodlights: Four Q First ODI: India vs

Pakistan, Feb 18, 1987 Q Last ODI: India vs Sri

Lanka - Feb 08, 2007 Q Home Team:

Kolkata Knight Riders

VICTORIA MEMORIAL Victoria Memorial is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. A visit to this monument rekindles the opulent Raj era nostalgia. It is made of white marble and there is a harmonious blend of European and Mughal architecture.

gh the railway network with major cities of India. Buses and Taxis to Ukhimath are easily available from n August 24, 1690, the Rishikesh. their capital to Delhi. Kolkata - the foundations of Calcutta were birthplace of early Indian nationalism, laid by a representative of carrier and bearer of Indian culture, art British East India Company, Job and literature, town of Rabindranath Charnock who acquired three villages Tagore,Satyajit Ray and Mother Teressa — ‘Sultanutee’, ‘Kalikata’ and has changed its portrait a lot by the ‘Gobindpore’ from local landlord passage of time. Population of 14.5 Sabarna Roy Chowdhuri. Bordered by million, extreme pollution, icons of the mighty Hooghly river, Kolkata colonial past, symbol of modernism — served as the seat of British government all coexist in such a lively city, which is from 1772-1911, when they moved awarded as City of Joy.

O PARK SREET Park Street, with its several notable buildings such as the Asiatic Society, St. Xavier's College, Calcutta, a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the South Park Street Cemetery.

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Kolkata is such a place, where one can get the best choice of food according to his kind of budget whether it is speciality restaurants or the food court in shopping malls or star hotels or its ubiquitous street food. Oh! Calcutta, Aheli, Bhojo Hori Manna, Suruchi, Rasona for the most authentic and traditional Bengali cuisine. Nanking, Chungwa and several restaurants of new Chinatown are specialist for Chinese preparations. Royal, Zeeshan, Arsanal, Aminia, Nizam for the best Muslim dishes. Dacers Lane, B B D Bag, Esplanade, Park Street, Camac Street, R B Avenue and Gariahat Road are the ideal places for its wide variety of food to serve thousands of people everyday.

BOOK A BED AT:

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Hotels within walking distance of the Stadium: Oberoi Grand

HOWRAH BRIDGE There are several ways to experience the enigma of Howarh Bridge. One way is of course by embarking on a walking tour of Howrah bridge through the pedestrian footpaths located on either sides of this colossal bridge.

15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata, Tel: 91-033-22269288 / 22492323 Location: Heart of the city, approx. one km from Eden Gardens. Rates: Ranging from Rs 9,500 - 19,500 per night. La Terrace, Baan Thai, Chowrighee are the exclusive restaurants and bar for Bengali, Indian and continental delicacies.

The Park 17, Park Street, Kolkata, Tel: 91-033- 22499000 / 3121, 40049000 Location: Within 1.5 km distance from Eden Gardens. Rates ranging from: Rs 11,000 to Rs 19, 500 per night. Aqua, Saffron, Roxy are the restaurants and bar. With inputs from Pankaj Butalia, Sunil Vaidyanathan, Susheela Nair, Brinda Ganesan, Mallar Sarkar, Col. Anil Mehrotra and Nupur Ray


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COVER STORY

Mummy,

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it’s Cairo


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41

At first glance Cairo could easily be mistaken for Mumbai. The jostling crowds, the blaring horns, old buildings, decrepit taxis and the hawkers balancing a whole lot of baladi (the roti-like bread that is a staple throughout Egypt), makes an Indian traveller quite at home. Initially, even I did. But then Cairo is different.

TIRTHANKAR GHOSH

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Cairo has a lot to offer: from the medieval Al-Azhar mosque and the park attached to it to the Coptic church complex and the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s 14th century souk.

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n the first glance, Cairo may look a lot like Mumbai, but in reality, it’s not. While you are always made aware of the Islamic influence — the black abeyya worn by a large number of women and the galabiyya by the men — it is never ‘in the face’. On the streets, the abeyya and the galabiyya coexists with the Christian Dior jeans and scarves worn by young ladies. It is a happy coexistence: religion is not (en)forced and the younger lot make it a point to pray on Fridays. But it is often a quick in an out from the mosque. The crowds apart, Cairenes are proud of their city — Umm ad-Dunya or the mother of the world, as they refer to it —

and rightly so. Cairo has a lot to offer: from the medieval Al-Azhar mosque and the park attached to it to the Coptic church complex and the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s 14th century souk. Of course, there are the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza.


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42 Where does one begin? Why not Khan el-Khalili? The Indian penchant for shopping and bargains can be satiated in the souk, one of the highlights of Islamic Cairo. The best time for a visit is on Friday Cairo has a lot to offer: from the medieval Al-Azhar mosque and the park attached to it to the Coptic church complex and the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s 14th century souk. I learnt it the hard way Cairo has a lot to offer: from the medieval AlAzhar mosque and the park attached to it to the Coptic church complex and the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s 14th century souk. when there are fewer people inside. Cheek-by-jowl shops overflow on to the barelyenough-place for a person to walk on. Amidst the cacophony of shopkeepers demanding attention incidentally, most of them knew Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan by name while a couple even boasted that the two had visited their shops recently — and a cornucopia of colours, it is a great experience to haggle over statuettes of King Tut and Cleopatra or an ornate green sheesha and appleflavoured tobacco. At one end of the souk is El-Fishawy cafe, perhaps Egypt’s

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One of the royal bronze lions at the entrance to the Kasr-el-nil bridge

A dish worth its money is Sanbusak. As the name suggests, it is a smaller version of our Samosa but with a variety of fillings ranging from cheese and vegetables to minced meat.

An Egyptian woman baking Baladi

most well-known coffee shop. Open 24x7x365 for apparently hundreds of years, it used to a favourite with Egypt’s famous Nobel Prize winning author, Naguib Mahfouz, who reportedly visited the place almost everyday. Within the cafe it is chaotic: people and waiters shouting and drinking the cinnamonlaced Turkish coffee or a range of drinks with the lemon (pronounced lee-mon) worth dying for. Thicker than our normal sweet fresh lime soda, it is a refreshing drink. Grab a sheesha and give it a try. A little further down is Naguib Mahfouz Cafe, a restaurant and cafe run by the Oberoi chain. Named after Naguib Mahfouz, the café has two rooms: one with comfortable sofas meant for sheesha smokers — many of them women in hijabs — and the other is a formal dining area serving Egyptian food comprising Mezze, Koftas and Kebabs. Most of the meats or seafood (don’t miss Fish Market restaurants in Alexandria or in Cairo) taste bland to Indian palates but are delicious nevertheless. A dish worth its money is Sanbusak. As the name suggests, it is a smaller version of our Samosa but with a variety of fillings ranging from cheese and vegetables to minced meat. Cairo would not be Cairo without the Al Azhar mosque. With its beautiful minarets and its huge hall, which can easily accommodate at least a thousand worshippers, it would have been the venue of US President Barack Obama’s path-breaking speech to the Muslim world — the mosque looks over Cairo like a guardian angel and is a testament to its traditions and past. In fact, it is one of the best places to view the city from. Within the city, the juxtaposition of the


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43 Al-Azhar Mosque. This is where Egyptian people wanted President Obama to address the Muslim world

modern and the past, is nowhere more apparent than Zamalek island. The toniest enclave in the whole of Cairo, Zamalek island is where the rich and the elegant live. This is where the city’s trendiest restaurants are — ranging from the Korean and Japanese to the pizza places and the ubiquitous Egyptian. Other than also being home to the embassies and ambassadors, Zamalek is where the Arab world’s most famous singer Umm Kulthum lived and died. Though a memorial and a museum is there in the name of the singer on nearly Roda Island, Egypt cannot be complete without listening to the songs of the great Umm Kulthum, described by The Rough Guide to World Music as "indisputably the Arab world’s greatest singer." The lady passed away in 1975 at the age of 70, but even today her music is everywhere. Egyptians, young and old, never fail to recount the magic of Kulthum: apparently on Thursday nights, Cairo’s streets would be empty because people would hurry home to hear her on their radios. If you are lucky, you can catch Kulthum on the

The magnificent building of the Alexandria Library or the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Today, most of those buildings have lost their facades, but four such remain. These are the four royal bronze lions that guard the entrance to the Kasr-el Nil bridge. first Thursday of every month at 10 pm belting out her songs. While Kulthum continues to bring alive yesterday’s Cairo, today’s Cairo still clutches to its past. Downtown Cairo once was intended to be French. More than a century ago, Cairo’s districts were planned on the style of Haussmann’s Paris: there were grandiose buildings, central squares and radial boulevards. Today, most of those buildings have lost their facades, but four such remain. These are the four royal bronze lions that guard the entrance to the Kasr-el Nil bridge. Creations of the French sculptor, Alfred

WELCOME WELCOMETO TOEGYPT EGYPT ssyou youprepare preparetotodebark debarkatat Egypt, irrespective Egypt, irrespectiveofofwhichever whichevcity youyou are going to, the er city are going to, the disdisembarkation form,inside insidethe theflight, flight, embarkation form, will form of of a a willbe begiven giventotoyou youininthe the form small booklet, and my personal small booklet, and my personal sugsuggestion you — treat book gestion to to you is is - treat thatthat book as as your Bible for the trip! your Bible for the trip! This Thissmall smallwonder wonderbook bookcarries carries inforinformation on the following topics mation on the following topics - — ■ Telephone numbers of all countries’ ■ Telephone numbers of all countries’ embassies in Cairo. embassies in Cairo ■ Transportation through the city — ■ Transportation through the city details telephone numbersof vitalvital details andand telephone numbers of Airport Shuttle Bus, Limousine Airport Shuttle Bus, Limousine and Car companies, Rental companies, City Carand Rental City Cabs, Cabs, Regular Taxis, Metro, Busses Regular Taxis, Metro, Busses and and National Railway. National Railway. ■ Places to see along with ■ Places to see along with information information on entryhow fee,totimings, on entry fee, timings, reach, how to reach, etc. etc. ■ Details on city’s popular ■ Details on city’s popular restaurants andrestaurants nightlife and nightlife. ■ Nearby excursion trips. ■ Nearby excursion trips ■ Marine life and biblical history ■ Marine life and biblical history

A

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Mouth watering Egyptian style of presenting food and (extreme right) Sanbusak, which is a smaller version of the Indian Samosa.


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44 VISA FREE TRANSIT TOURS Next time you plan a trip, make sure it crosses Egypt and that you have a couple of hours spare at the airport so you can go and see the city of pyramids, without a visa! Thses visa-free transit tours are offered by Karnak, EgyptAir’s official tourism company. Some of these packages include Tours Time City Tours 3 hours Citadel & M. Aly Mosque 3-4 hours Islamic Monuments 3-4 hours Coptic Monuments 3-4 hours Cairo Tower 3-4 hours Pharaonic Village 3-4 hours Sound and Light at the Pyramids 3-4 hours Memphis and Saqqara 3-4 hours Memphis, Saqqara, Pyramids and Sphinx 4-5 hours Pyramids and Sphinx 3-5 hours Egyptian Museum 3-5 hours Nile Cruise with Lunch or Dinner 4-5 hours Pyramids, Sphinx and Egyptian Museum 5-6 hours Pyramids, Sphinx, Citadel and M Aly Mosque 4-5 hours Egyptian Museum, Citadel and M Aly Mosque 4-5 hours Egyptian Museum, Pyramids, Sphinx, Citadel and M Aly Mosque 6-7 hours * To book, go to the Karnak Office in the Transit Area, Cairo Airport

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Jacuemart, the lions were intended to stand around the statue of Muhammed Ali in Alexandria. The bridge is a link between Tahrir Square, one of the most important of squares in Cairo with the island of Zamalek. The view of the Nile from the bridge, either by day or night, is an experience. Along the ornate rails and old lamps stand lovers, fishermen and the occasional nut-seller who has strayed away from his usual stand under one of the lions. Downtown is best explored on foot. Walk around the older residential parts to meet the real Cairenes who will willingly regale you with tales of Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar while others will try to entice you with

the great pyramid of Giza

their carpets — “better than the ones in Iran” — and yet others recounting the

Eagle overlooks the entrance of the cairo tower

story of how the Egyptian football team defeated the Algerians. The best view of the city, however, is from the recently renovated Cairo Tower on Gezira Island. The tallest building in the city - at 187 meters it is the taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza - it has an elevator to go up to the revolving restaurant on the 16th floor that serves delectable Egyptian cuisine. Right on top, while Pharaonic costumed young men with easy smiles sell you computerised adaptations of your name in Pharaonic script, take in the 360 degree view of the city, the mighty Nile running through lush islands and its unique buildings standing proudly on its banks, their distinguishing designs indicating


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Samsara Luxury Resort and Camp 115km milestone post Dechu, Jodhpur Jaisalmer Highway, NH-114, Dist Jodhpur - 342314, Rajasthan Jodhpur Address: Desert Holiday Resorts Ltd, 14 White house Subhash Nagar, Jodhpur 342003, Tele fax: 0291 2785303 Email: kumpawat@smsaradechu.com, reservation@samsaradechu.com Website: www.samsaradechu.com

‘Experience of a desert timeluxuries of the world’


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Must See/Must Do The best view of the city, however, is from the recently renovated Cairo Tower on Gezira Island. The tallest building in the city - at 187 meters it is the taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza.

PHARAONIC VILLAGE An experience like no other, the Pharaonic Village starts as you begin sailing down the canals that are around the island. As the boat travels down the canal, everywhere you look is Egyptian history and legend. Within the village, there are unique living exhibits that cover Egypt’s 5000 years of history. Located on the West bank of the Nile, on Jacob’s Island at 3 Al-Bahr Al-A’zam Street, not far from the centre of Cairo, it is not far from most of the hotels. MALLING AROUND IN CAIRO Visiting malls during a trip to Egypt may not be a good idea but the City Stars mall in Heliopolis is well worth the time. Half hour from downtown Cairo, the mall is swanky and certainly the most up-market. The best stuff to buy from the malls are pure Egyptian cotton shirts which boast of Omar Sharif as their ambassador. A DAY WITH THE SPHINX Spend a whole day at Giza gazing at the Pyramids. Haggle with the hawkers selling papyrus paintings for an Obama dollar. And after you are done, take a ride on a camel. Have your photo taken with one of the pyramids in the background. In the evening, get set to enter the mysterious world of the Sphinx. The Pyramids Sound and Light Show is an incredible show, which lasts for an hour and is narrated by the Sphinx making the atmosphere dramatic and mysterious!

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WALL HANGINGS GALORE Take a trip to Souq al-Khiamiyya or the Street of the Tentmakers; just around ten minutes walk from Khan al-Khalili. Dating back to the 17th century, the market, originally used by tentmakers to see their stuff, now houses handmade colourful appliqué wall-hangings. 30 ACRES OF GREENERY Close to the Al Azhar mosque is the Al-Azhar Park, the largest expanse of green in Cairo. Built on top of a huge rubbish heap, it is a peaceful island amidst the chaos of Islamic Cairo.

NIGHT ON THE NILE The "Nile Maxim" is built in the style of a flat Pharaonic barge, conjuring up images of ancient Egypt. As you drift along the River Nile, the house band performs your all-time favourite Western and Oriental tunes with a twist! You can choose from the set menu or go for the a la carte selection offering seafood, Lebanese and Chinese cuisines. GETTING AROUND Language: Arabic (official), English and European languages spoken in tourist areas. Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP); 1 EGP = 8.3 INR Visas: Many visitors can obtain a tourist or entry visa at Egypt’s major ports of entry; visas can also be obtained from any Egyptian embassy or consulate. Fees are determined by your passport nationality. Citizens of certain Middle East and North African countries do not need a visa to enter Egypt. For detailed visa requirements, check with your nearest Egyptian diplomatic mission. Cairo International Airport: Cairo International Airport is located in Heliopolis, 22 km northeast of central Cairo and 40 km from the Giza Pyramids. Airport Tel: +2 (02) 2291-4255/66/77; Terminal l: +2 (02) 2265-5000; Terminal 2: +2 (02) 2265-2222.


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their illustrious history. But it is in Coptic Cairo that the city’s tolerant nature is revealed. The oldest part of the city, it was the original site of Roman built Babylon. Centre of the Coptic Christian community, this is where most of Egypt’s churches are. Among them are the Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra synagogue, Egypt’s oldest synagogue. What is fascinating to see are the Roman remains and old cobbled streets. If you are lucky, you could be accosted by an oldtimer who would willingly show you the place where Moses was found floating in a papyrus basket down the Nile (remember the story from the Old Testament!). As evening descends with its cool winds, just 30 minutes out of Cairo, the desert comes alive with the worldfamous Pyramids Sound and Light Show in Giza, one of the most unforgettable historic entertainment shows in the world. Immerse yourself in the historical, dramatic and mysterious atmosphere as you hear the story of Egypt as seen through the eyes of the Sphinx. The show, narrated by the Sphinx, lasts for an hour. Back in the city, while the night markets sell a variety of produce-from fake Armani jeans to handmade Egyptian

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47 shoes - it is time to hit the nightspots for a bout of belly dancing and what better place than the Nile Maxim. The cruise boat sails twice a day (7.30 and 10.45 pm) and on board is a belly dancing show along with the traditional Noura dancers. Add to it a dinner and the evening could not be better. Incidentally, no hard liquor is available in restaurants though they are at the five-star bars. The easier way is to get your beer — available at a selected few stores — and drink in the privacy of your own hotel room. You might be wondering why I haven’t yet mentioned the Pyramids or the Sphinx. That is because everyone pays the customary visit and wonders aloud how these structures were ever built. Today, however, what captivates visitors to these monuments are those hawking papyrus paintings (“10 for one Obama Dollar”) and Arab headgear, also for one OD. Any trip to Cairo cannot be complete without a trip to the Egyptian Museum with its collection of King Tutankhamun and monuments from all periods of Egyptian history. Must-see are the treasures of King Tutankhamun which include his magnificent death mask, his six gold gilded coffins, the Royal Mummies Room and much more.

And before I forget, a quick getaway to Alexandria’s famous library, just around four hours away by road from Cairo, is another must. A striking piece of modern architecture, it is comparable to the largest, ancient and magnificent Royal Library of Alexandria that is believed to have held anywhere between 40,000 to 700,000 books. That splendid library was set ablaze many times, the first and most famous blow being delivered in 48 B C, when Julius Caesar laid siege to Alexandria and set fire to the city. Today, the modern Alexandria Library or the Bibliotheca Alexandrina faces the sea on the north, and Alexandria University Complex on its southern side. Very close to the location of the Ancient Library, the Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old library. It pays tribute to the discoveries by Euclid, Herophilus, Aristarchus in geometry and astronomy and features a museum and a large planetarium. Cairo may be as chaotic, smelly and dusty as any Indian city but there is a method in its chaos. When you leave, the only word that can describe Cairo is “beautiful”. Why don’t you find out for yourself? (PHOTOS BY TIRTHANKAR GHOSH)

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COMPASS

….AND QUIET FLOWS

the Gomti

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Lucknow sirf Gumbad-o-Minaar nahin, Yeh sirf koocha-o-bazar nahin, Iski galiyon main muhabbat ke phool khilte hain, Iske koochon main farishton ke pate milte hain…

La Martinière College across Gomti River


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Chhota or Hussainabad Imambara

ANIL MEHROTRA

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A ride down the river showcases Lucknows’ Nawabi architectural splendour laced with Raj’s influence along its riverfront.

Fishlike creature — Wind Cock

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OOSELY translated it eulogises, that Lucknow is not only a city of doors and walls or of lanes and markets; its lanes are paved with love blossoms and angels live here. A cruise on the river Gomti, sailing through the history, was the brainchild of my friend Nawab Mir Jafar Abdullah who effortlessly traces his lineage to the legendary Nawab Wajid Ali Shah — the poet and the last King of Awadh (Oudh). The river bifurcates the city of Lucknow into cis and trans Gomti areas and in the past has been witness to a throbbing trade from Kolkata (then Calcutta) via Varanasi (then Benares) and nurses telltale signs of Lucknow’s refined tastes in art, culture and its Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. The offer was tantalising enough not to be missed. I jumped at it. Sheesh Mahal’s legendary chefs, palace intrigues, courtesans, patronisation and proliferation of the arts of chikankari and jardozi under the Begums, exotic sports like patangbaazi (kite flying) and kabootarbaazi (Kabootar-pigeon-keeping),

the Nawab deftly weaves history and his knowledge with consummate skill, transporting the listener into the era of the Nawabs. A ride down the river showcases Lucknows’ Nawabi architectural splendour laced with Raj’s influence along its riverfront. For those with a penchant for architecture, I would recommend browsing through Neeta Das’s Architecture of Lucknow. For others, ‘Lucknow Then And Now’ by Rosie Lewelyn Jones would be ideal to actually know what Lucknow was and what is it now. Thus, from the western palace of Musa Bagh, the imposing Clock Tower, Asafi, Hussainabad and Shahnajaf Imambaras, Tara Wali Kothi, Sheesh Mahal, Motimahal, the grand La’Martinere, Bibiapur Kothi up to the eastern palace of Dilkusha and every thing in-between, all subsisted along the course charted by Gomti. And closer home in time and on its southern bank is the Ambedkar Memorial dedicated


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Fore Court and Mosque Bara or Asafi Imambara

to the architect of the Indian Constitution — B R Ambedkar. Drifting from the outskirts of the city ringed with fields and mango orchards, our boat, caressing the placid Gomti waters, entered the conurbation. As the fields faded into a greenish-blue haze, the clove, gilded dome of Husainabad Imambara, sitting at the end of a water channel and flanked by a mosque and tomb of Nawab’s daughter, the latter being the jawab (a mirror image of the structure opposite and signature practice of Nawabi architecture) providing symmetry, floated into prominence. Two gilded, female statues with distinctly Roman looks and attire stand astride the massive entrance gate, holding iron chains. “The chains are actually lightening conductors,” Nawab informed, as he briefed us on the lavishly gilded Imambara, its arched doorways richly ornamented with calligraphy into a world of chandeliers, more glass and huge mirrors mounted in golden frames. The Royal Coat-of-Arms- the fish, is of course, omnipresent. The imposing Asafi Imambara and the other monuments present a fantastic tableau along the Gomti — each, a masterpiece of construction, artistic patronage and size. Size, for these buildings display huge proportions as if

Chattar Manzil (Presently housing CDRI)

making a statement. The 221 ft high clock tower, designed by Richard Roskell Bayne in a transitional Victorian-neo Gothic style, has the largest clock face in India (4m diameter) and stands as one of the finest examples of British architecture. The Nawab, of course, knew the details backwards and informed that it was built in 1887 at the site of the two Gend Khanas (racquet courts), to mark the arrival of Sir George Cooper, the first Lt Governor of the United Provinces of Avadh. And added with a twinkle that it incurred an expenditure of Rs 1,17,000 — a whopping amount at the time! The bell was manufactured by J W Benson of Ludgate Hill, London and when illuminated from within the tower enabled the clock to be read at night. At Saat Khanda — the seven storey high tower constructed by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah to facilitate sighting of the moon during Id, the influence of Indian, Roman and British architecture on each of its doorways is evident! The tower, however, could not be completed due to death of the Nawab. The lawns around the tower has an octagonal tank, the Hussainabad tank and a picture gallery housing life sized oil paintings of the Nawabs and other memorabilia of the era that was. Spotting the massive 60 ft high Roomi

The 221 ft high clock tower, designed by Richard Roskell Bayne in a transitional Victorian-neo Gothic style, has the largest clock face in India (4m diameter) and stands as one of the finest examples of British architecture.

Lucknow at a glance

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ucknow (500km from Delhi) is well connected to all important stations in India by air, train and bus service. It is also connected through direct flight to Dubai and Jeddah.

TO STAY A wide choice of accommodation to suit all budgets, from swanky starred hotels to modest hotels, state and private guest houses, even Dharamshalas¸ are available.

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BEST WEATHER All year round. However, Lucknow experiences hot summers (April to June), Moderate to heavy monsoon (July to September) and severe winter from November to January. FESTIVALS Lucknow celebrates all festivals, such as, Diwali, Holi, Muharram, Christmas, Id etc with characteristic gusto and warmth. Lucknow Mahotsav is held in midNovember and showcases the best of Lucknow, its culture and heritage. The can non at R esid enc y


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Six hours at Lucknow

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The water body and the mosque at Chhota Imambara

s you step out of Lucknow (Charbagh to the locals) Railway Station you are greeted by the welcome signboard “Muskuriye ki aap Lucknow main hain” (Smile, because you are in Lucknow). The reasons may be varied — relatives, conferences and meetings, to catch connecting flights, trains, bus or have missed a connecting flight, train or bus simply Muskuriye ki aap Lucknow main hain. Relax. Fortunately, unlike other metropolises Lucknow is compact enough to be visited in a couple of hours. Once you have admired the magnificent building of the railway station, catch a rickshaw, auto or taxi and head for the Imambara complex in Chowk or old Lucknow. Asafi and Hussainabad Imambaras, Saat Khanda, Roomi Gate, Clock tower, Picture Gallery etc are located in close proximity of each other and the visitor can purchase a single ticket to visit these locations. This visit also permits the visitor for the next activity for which Lucknow is famous — shopping for exquisite Chikan work in the by lanes inside Thandi Sarak via the Gol Darwaza. Taste the Namish (Malai Makhan) at Gol Darwaza (only during winter) or Lucknow’s famous Chaat across the road at Dixit’s or Shukla Ji. Don’t be surprised to see framed photographs of Bollywood stars adoring the walls. A hop away is the famous Thandai outlet of Raja (a concoction of milk, dry fruits and saffron) and a must when you are in this part of the world. For the adventurous lot, make the man on the counter blend the thandai with a shot of Bhang (Cananbis), guaranteed to take you to the top of the world. Enter Thandi Sarak and hear the “thump, thump” of silver being beaten into

silver foils. Savour the fragrance of Lucknow that was. Relish Rahim’s to die for Nihari Kulchas or Tunde Kababi’s Gelawati Kebabs with or without parathas. As you walk along the narrow lane choc-ablock with shops, people and more people, and across phool wali gali, notice small balconies with smaller doorways and windows covered with chiks (curtain made of fine bamboo slats) atop the shops. These were where Mujras were held, Kathak dance found an expression and developed, Ghazals were written and music found its soul. If it happens to be a Sunday, do not forget to go beyond Rahim’s to centuries old Dam Chi or Nakkhas Market for antiques, pets and old world memorabilia. Depending on the preferences and subject to availability of time either visit The Residency or Aminabad. Residency— for this was where, during its siege, the First Battle of Independence (aka The Mutiny) witnessed its bloodiest chapter and history was created. Or visit the many century old Aminabad market for some more chikan shopping and taste Prakash Ki Kulfi Falooda. Buy Lucknow’s Gazak and Rewaris for back home. If you have skipped Chaat or Kebabs at Chowk, devour at Tunde’s franchise shop or Boti Kebab or Mutton dishes with Sheermal, Kulcha or Naan at Alamgir’s restaurant in a narrow by-lane at the junction of Nazirabad and Aminabad. The watch is rushing past. Move to the railway station or airport or bus stand and enroute cross the upmarket 200 year old Hazratganj market, Vidhan Sabha and grab a take-away of Dahi Vadas at the GPO. And before you say Au Revoir, don’t forget to smile simply because “Muskuraiye kyonki aap Lucknow main hain”.

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Saat Khanda

Across the river, along its southern bank at Badshah Bagh, lies Canning College, one of the institutions forming Lucknow University.

Gate, replica of an ancient portal at Constantinople looming from above the tree tops, we alighted and at Nawab’s insistence climbed atop through narrow stairs with narrower doorways. Lucknow lay below, picture postcard like — a fabric of towers and domes and upcoming skyscrapers as the rush for vertical space mounts by the day. Cars, trucks and scooters zoom underneath as ekkas and tongas give way. Climbing down, we made our way towards a cart vendor, dispensing warm Mutton Biryani and Chutney from a huge pot. We dig, unmindful of the blaring

horns and curious glances. At touching distance lay the famous Asafi Imambara with its fabled longest unsupported roof. Its construction too has a history. Nawab informed that during the great Awadh famine, Nawab Asaf-Ud Dawla hit upon the idea of providing food for work. So the labourers worked during day and the royalty undid the construction during the night! Atop the roof is the Labyrinth or Bhool Bhulaiyan. Remember having heard in childhood that people lost their way, even vanished (!) in Bhool Bhulaiyan? Such was its aura.


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53 Hotel Clarks Awadh forming the backdrop is Tarawali Kothi, probably the first solar observatory of the state. Today, it caters to the guests of the State Bank of India. The Nawab indicated the historical Motimahal — the venue for pre and post independence meetings of the people of the stature of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and the likes. Partially concealed behind the embankment we could see the green dome of Shahnazaf Imambara — a copy of the tomb of Imam Ali at Nazaf (Iraq), hence the name. During those days, the Imambara could be approached through the road as well as waterway and the boat could be rowed almost into the gate. Inside the Imambara is all glass and chandeliers and houses the graves of Nawab Ghazi-udDin Haider and his three wives. The sun appeared in a hurry to cross the horizon as we crossed the sprawling Ambedkar Memorial located on the southern bank. Cranes and massive scaffoldings indicated the work was in its final stages. Opposite, on the northern bank was the Constantia or La Martiniere built by General Claude Martin as his country house and lies buried in its basement. Constantia was connected to Kothi Farhad Baksh via the river. As we looked up to the Nawab for a brief, he explained that Claude Martin was a French sepoy who, during the fight between the French and British East India Companies became a deserter and offered his services as a spy to e British Army. Rising quickly through its ranks, he soon became a Major General in the British Army but continued to draw the salary of a Captain as a trade off to continue staying at Lucknow — the then seat of power. Flipping through the

Nawabs and the British and /or a very ingenious man, both by Rosie Llewelyn Jones, one can reconstruct the history and Lucknow of yore. The General had willed that the building be used as a school and since 1845; the building houses the famous La Martiniere College for the boys. Across the embankment is a Lat — the pillar memorial — rising into the sky which, too, was constructed under the terms of Claude Martin’s will. The man was indeed ingenious as to reach the building we cross the bronze cannon and brass bell cast by Claude Martin in his foundry in 1786! Hidden from the view due to dense row of trees was Dilkusha — the pleasure garden of the Nawabs — where the guests arriving via the river alighted or otherwise were lavishly entertained and hunted. Old order changes giving place to new. Today, the Nawabi Lucknow is rapidly metamorphosing into a mélange of malls and multiplexes expanding in any which way the city can. The relatively flat skyline is now punched with high-rises, narrow lanes are giving way to wider roads and discotheques and model liquor shops have replaced notch houses. Kabootarbazi is now a sport of the past as internet and cybercafés rule the roost. Yet Lucknow maintains its dignified past in its nafasat and nazakat as no where else people still ask a rickshaw puller whether he is willing to carry them to their destination! No wonder the poet says so fondly: “Lucknow fida hum par, Aur hum fidaye Lucknow” Amidst all this Gomti flows quietly, for deep in her heart she knows nothing is permanent and life has to come full circle.

Ambedkar Park

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Rowing ahead, Teelewali Masjid, constructed during the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb atop an isolated mound (Teela-mound), loomed to our right. The Nawab showed us a massive banyan tree at the rear of the mosque, which was witness to the hanging of several freedom fighters in India’s First War of Independence from its branches! Passing underneath the Puccca Pul, the Nawab pointed at the minarets and domes of King George’s Medical College built upon the site where once stood Machhi Bhavan (Fish Palace) fort and palace. The retreating British Forces blew up Macchi Bhawan on the night of July 1-2, 1857 signalling Lucknow’s contribution towards the First War of Indian Independence. Suggestion for a medical college in the Province mooted by Raja Sir Tassadduk Rasul Khan of Jahangirabad found an expression as the site was purchased by Sir Henry Lawrence for Rs 50,000 and foundation was laid by King George V as Prince of Wales on December 26, 1905. Post Independence, in the war of names, it has been renamed as Chattrapati Sahu Ji Maharaj Medical University. Whew! Shaheed Smarak — the marble tower constructed post Independence as a nation’s gratitude to those who laid down their lives during the freedom struggle — the glittering canopy of Chattar Manzil, presently housing the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) a rippling reflection on the Gomti waters, swung by. Chattar Manzil was constructed around Kothi Farhad Baksh — the town house of General Claude Martin. Nawab Abdullah revealed that it was purchased by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan as his palace and was named as Luckypeera, extended and renamed as Chattar Manzil. In fact, most of the construction of Nawabi buildings in the city can be attributed to the vision of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan who moved away from the palace complex of his ancestors and developed ‘New Lucknow’. Across the river, along its southern bank at Badshah Bagh, lies Canning College, one of the institutions forming Lucknow University. Designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in Indo-Saracenic style, its foundation was laid by Sir John Hewitt, the Lieutenant-Governor, on March 31, 1909 and who also inaugurated it on February 17, 1911. The rusted iron pillars submerged in the waters were remnants of Lohe Ka Pul (Iron Bridge). It probably was the first casualty of an expanding Lucknow as it gave way to a wider Hanuman Setu. If rivers are there can the temples be far behind! Behind a row of temples and bathing ghats with the city’s first starred

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55 GAURAV SCHIMAR

I Deoriatal, in the Garhwal Himalayas, is a beautiful lake at an altitude of 2,438 m, which has captivating surroundings and forest all around. The sight of the snow bound peaks in the calm and placid lakewaters is magical and will transport you into a different world altogether.

Deoriatal is a riot of colours that looks like a rainbow in its serene waters. Legend has it that Deoriatal was formed by Nag Devta when Lord Shiva wanted to have a bath.

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Snow capped peaks, crystal clear water — Deoriatal is truly mesmerising

LOADED my Enfield and left Srinagar for a sojourn. I will never forget. We, my cousin Mani and myself, took the detour from Ukhimath on the Kedarnath highway to arrive at Sari, five hours later. As I parked the bike near a roaring brook, just short of the quaint village, I could see the excitement written all across Mani’s face on the prospect of finally camping in the wild. I explained to him that this was just a sneak preview of the things to come. We left the road behind in the morning and along with our young guide — Negi started the trek to Deoriatal. The well marked trek route took us through a lush and dense forest with birds flitting on tree tops, seemingly surprised by human company. Some odd cows did not pay much heed to us and went about munching on fresh leaves. The gradient was not really easy, given the fact that all three of us were carrying a fair amount of load. “Now I know what a trek really is!” declared Mani, resting his tired muscles on the odd bench, thoughtfully put up for the weary travellers by the locals. Finally, the thick trees gave way to an open meadow, in the midst of which, basked a beautiful peacock! and a Nag Mandir on the banks bears testimony to the fact. It is also believed that the Pandavas spent many days of their exile here. As we got rid of our backpacks, we were surprised to see an old man sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the tal and admiring the scene. No matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to capture the dazzling beauty of the tal’s environ through the lens. It is sheer bliss that can only be experienced here. I started chatting up with the old man and learnt that he had walked all the way from distant Phata, over three days after traversing steep mountains and precarious forests. “There used to be no roads fifty years ago and it is since then that I have been dreaming of coming here,” he said. I asked him the reason why he did not take the road till Sari now, to which he replied, “We locals revere the tal as we believe that the Gods and angels still descend from the heavens above to the tal and thus it’s a pilgrim for me.” I was in awe of the spirit of the old man who had made the journey to the tal, just the old fashioned way and here we were almost collapsing from the three hour trek from Sari. Mani, the designated chef, rolled out lunch which we invited the old man to share. We had bowls full of Maggie after which we set up our tents and went exploring the tal. We had dumped most of our luggage at Sari, which unfortunately also included our woollens. The evening breeze was therefore


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Checklist BY RAIL: The nearest railhead to Deoriatal is Rishikesh, situated 220km away. Rishikesh is well connected through the railway network with major cities of India. Buses and taxis to Ukhimath are easily available from Rishikesh. BY AIR: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport situated 230km away in Dehradun. BY ROAD: Take the Badrinath road from Rishikesh and take the Kedarnath road from Rudraprayag. Take the right turn from Ukhimtath to reach Sari Village. WHERE TO STAY: There are a handful of guest houses to stay in at Sari Village. But the best option is to camp overnight at Deoriatal. Rakesh Lodge (Tel: +91 1364 214093, +91 9411434715) has clean rooms at Sari and also arranges for camping and trekking trips to the tal. BEST TIME TO VISIT: The tal offers a cool climate in the summers and the winters offers some stunning views of the snow capped peaks that surround the tal. January-March is the best time to find the tal covered in snow. Monsoons may make the journey to the tal difficult with landslides in the area, but that’s a good time to soak in the lush greenery.

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WHAT TO EAT: There are a number of dhabas on the way to the tal. The restaurant at Rakesh Lodge at Sari rolls out some mouth watering aloo paranthas. There is a food shack midway to the tal and one at the tal itself, which has been set up by the enterprising locals. But it’s better to carry your own rations, borrow utensils from the shack and enjoy cooking at 10,000 ft! TIPS OF PIX: Indians have to pay a nominal fee of Rs 50 and foreigners Rs 200 to the forest ranger present at the tal. Use of still cameras is free but use of professional video camera is chargeable.

The real fun of visiting this place can best be experienced through Camping

relentlessly cold and I had little choice but to return to our camp in a hurry. I was relieved to see the rest of the campers sprawled around a huge crackling bon fire. Soup was being cooked directly on the logs and soon spirits ran high through the odd little camp. Our guide Negi, along with the old man, regaled us with many local tales as our chef whipped out mirch ka salan and rice at 10,000 ft that night. After eating to our hearts content, exhausted, we retired to our tents. Negi insisted that a small fire be lit through the night as it would only get colder. Lo behold! As night progressed, we heard the pitter patter of raindrops on the fabric of our tents. I stepped out to survey the scene but there was no rain! Dew, the size of rain drops was being spewed from the heavens above! The morning greeted me with the snow clad Chaukhamba and her companions were bathed in gold along with Kedarnath, Trishul, Neelkanth et al. Without wasting time I went on a shutter releasing frenzy to capture the dazzling scene. Deoriatal itself was bathed in blue with the reflections of the snow peaks on its surface creating magic. It was like witnessing the impossible union of two worlds. While I was caught in the enigmatic moment, a group of local women came up with huge big knives glistening in their hands. I mumbled to Mani that these were bandit women of the region who had come to rob

us! Mani got the joke this time when he saw Negi chatting up with the women. They had come to collect grass and dried vegetation from the village. Negi explained that these women did not harm the environment and took only what lay waste. They posed graciously for my lens and in return I offered them some candies. After gobbling down a scrumptious breakfast (courtesy Mani) we went about exploring as much as we could around the tal. I was saddened to see the beautiful place, littered with a fair amount of garbage, a lot of which we had mistaken for dense foliage the previous night. I summoned Negi and Mani to undertake one of the “most intensive cleaning drives” in the region, as Negi said. I could not understand how people could strew cans, bottles and wrappers when there were dust-bins put up everywhere! Well, by the time we finished, the dustbins were working overtime. As we rested with a cuppa, the place looked much better without the litter. The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds, to which, the tal was merrily playing witness to. It looked surreal. I caught magpies frolicking on a tree top and a dozen butterflies playing catch on the azure waters. Negi was taking a nap and Mani was preparing lunch and I was just too happy to be there in the company of Deoriatal. (PHOTOS BY GAURAV SCHIMAR)


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EYE TALK

Nagar V Sridhar, former Chairman and Managing Director, Pawan Hans, with his panache for photography and captured some wonderful scenic moments in his camera. Here's a look at some of them. When did you decide to take up photography as a serious hobby? I must have been six or seven years old when my dad got me a Kodak Box Camera and I discovered my passion for photography. What prompted you to take up this diversion in the first places? It was probably initiation at an early age that instilled this love for photography in me. Your favourite photography story? Having trekked it once, the beauty and charisma of Kailash and Mansarovar Trek, compelled me to do it twice more, especially the Lipulekh Pass, where you leave India behind and begin your journey into Tibet. You have to do it to believe it. It's an out of the world experience. Your favourite photographers? Raghu Rai

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Any favourite travel destination for taking pictures? Undoubtedly, Kailash and Mansarovor Trek. Your camera and preferred lenses? Nikon D-200 SLR with a)AF-S DX VR ZOOM-NIKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED, b)AF-S DX ZOOM-NIKKOR ED 12-24mm f/4G IF and c)Sigma APO 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG. Your favourite travel story? With a view to ascertain whether helicopter services could be started at Hemkunt Sahib, I, along with two of my colleauges (pilots) undertook a trek during

India as it looks from India-China (Tibet) Border, Lipulekh Pass (above 17,000 ft).


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, Botswana ional Park Chobe Nat at fe li d il W

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An unnatural phenomenon — a halo around the sun in the higher ranges of the Himalayas

off-season in November to Hemkunt Sahib. At the base camp, there was no one except for two security personnel guarding the guest house. During the entire night, the security personnel were firing crackers to scare away the Bears. In spite of lack of sleep, we undertook the final stretch of the trek,the next morning. It was rather a difficult trek on a snow-bound area. On reaching, while my colleagues were busy identifying a suitable location for a helipad, I started taking photographs. After just two shots, the camera refused to work since the battery got drained due to extreme cold weather as well as high altitude. Although only two shots could be taken, it was satisfying as luckily, both of them came out perfect.

Alone at Hemkunt Sahib (11,000 ft) Uttarakhand


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Southern face of Mount Kailash

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Table -T as vie op Mounta wed f rom t in, Cape To wn, he In dian Ocean

ttar rvat, U Om Pa t a ’ d ‘OM e wor divin e h t n of matio al for r u t a N

d akhan


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TWIN CITIES

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nd ily in thaila ith his fam w n ri go Marco

From the land of Buddha…

As more and more foreigners are fast making their way to India, charmed by its culture and bowled over by its grandeur, we too somewhere are forced to think — I guess, this is truly where the future is — as is believed by Marco Gorin, who left Thailand to take up a job in India. Welcome aboard Sir!

to Incredible India


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PRIYANKA SAXENA

I

s there a description that can match the profile of this CEO? Well, let’s see… What do you call a man with an Italian origin (though the accent is hardly there now), who has studied in London, worked in Thailand for last many years, has a Thai wife and now calls India his home — thy name is Marco Gorin, Chief Commercial Officer, ITQ. Having taken over the reins just two months back, he now eagerly awaits the arrival of his family, which, by the time this magazine will be out in the market, would have joined him. So how did he get here? “I was with the Travelport for last six years, and when this opening came at the ITQ, I thought, why not?” says an excited Gorin who looks completely smitten by the prospect of being in India. “India is a very stimulating place. If there is any place in Asia where major shift is happening — it is India. This is where the growth is. As for me, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world at this point in time,” he said. Is he finding the transition difficult? “Not at all.” He strongly believes that it was the time he had spent in Thailand (Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and his last work point — Bangkok) that helped him in his decision of taking up the job in India as Thai culture is quite similar to Indian ethos. “Since India is in a different stage of development, there are small

MARCO’S FAVOURITES Favourite restaurant in Bangkok Bella napoli — it’s a pizza restaurant and serves the best pizza I have ever tasted. Even better than what I get in Italy! Favourite restaurant in India Bukhara at the ITC Maurya. I tasted some of the best Kebabs there. India in your words It might sound clichéd but I have to say that this country is aptly termed as ‘Incredible India’. The more time I spend here the more I get fascinated by it. It’s truly incredible. Share one incredible experience For last two months, I was put up in a local guest house and I have to say that the experience has been an unforgettable one. The management went out of their way to make me feel at home - gone, more than once, that extra mile, to make things special for me. They were very caring and I am truly touched. challenges that one faces in day-to-day functioning, such as traffic. But I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and am eager to see the new look Delhi will don,” he says, adding with a smile that there is nothing major that can stop anyone from enjoying in India!

So is there nothing he misses in India, I ask with a smile, knowing well what his answer would be, and like expected, he too smiles sheepishly as he answers — “ah! family.” Well, though his family is soon to join him and he is busy getting things in order before that, Marco repeatedly stresses upon the fact on how his staff at the ITQ office and the people at the guest house at which he was staying went out of their way to make him feel at home. “They all ensured that for me, it was a smooth transition,” he smiles, and you know, he means it. The smile paves way for a more reflective mood as he is asked to compare the two cities — Bangkok and Delhi. So what is it that he would like to bring to India from his previous posting? “Well, honestly, nothing really,” he says, “Thai people are very soft, which as times used to work as a negative trait to me as tend to keep things inside them. But people in India are much more vocal! It’s nice and refreshing.” Not wanting to keep him away from his parents, who are waiting for him in the lobby area, I quickly wind up the interview on a last note, asking about his future plans. “At the moment I am very excited and waiting for my family to join me. This would be there first time in India and I am eager to see their reactions. Alexander (his 19 months old son) screams ‘Go India’ every time I call home,” he avers. Well, we truly hope that his family is as charmed by India as Marco is himself!

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EXOTIC EXCESS

GO

GREEN

WITH ROYAL GARDENIA

ANITA RAO KASHI

I

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n Bengaluru’s increasingly traffic and pollution-ridden streets, the city’s parks are the only retreat to recharge the body’s oxygen content. So imagine my incredulity when I was told that a new luxury hotel — ITC Royal Gardenia — in one of the city’s busiest areas was doing the job, and quite adequately at that. Behind high walls, there’s nothing much to proclaim the hotel’s existence, but once inside, it’s serenity and greenery envelopes you into a world unknown. The lobby is a sight to behold. A vast open space, it is lined with vertical hanging gardens that rise almost 30 feet, while sofas, couches and jharokha-style seating arrangements, all done in shades of green, lay scattered. The reception area is tucked away

Brand ITC has always been associated with the best. This time around too, its new property in the heart of Bengaluru is the first "green" luxury hotel in the region…

This upper crust of the hotel has integrated greenery and cultural influences into its architecture and décor.


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The multi-pillared Lotus Pavilion has sloping roofs covered with a unique lawn of fresh green grass

behind glass walls to one side of the lobby, providing privacy for guests, which I thought was a great idea. Beyond the lobby, the Lotus Pavilion beckoned and I couldn’t resist a cappuccino. The reception area houses the tree of life concept (the nature theme) elements of which are spread across the entire hotel starting with the elevators. Not just lip sympathy, but the hotel also believes in ‘green’ philosophy and has used it extensively, so much so that within months of throwing its doors open, it was conferred the LEED India Platinum Rating, the highest rating for green buildings in the world. With this, the Royal Gardenia is the world’s largest platinum rated hotel. Meanwhile, I discovered that the nature theme continues into the rooms, whether Towers, ITC One, Junior

Wind-cooled lobby features vertical hanging gardens with a mix of plants

Kaya Kalp, ITC’s signature spa, spread across 10,400 sq ft offers a wide range of treatments, jacuzzi, sauna and more. Kaya Kalp Spa, ITC’s signature spa spread across 10,400 sq ft with a wide range of treatments, jacuzzi, steam baths and sauna, for a foot massage. As the evening shadows grew darker, my wanderings took me to Highland Nectar, the lounge cum whiskey bar at ground level. The lights had come on and the place was just beginning to rock as I settled onto a plush couch. For dinner, I had a variety of options: West View, the grill room with a wide

The pillars and structures of Lotus Pavilion promise cultural influences.

variety of choices served in five courses; Cubbon Pavilion, the 24-hour coffee shop and multi-cuisine restaurant, with its ambience drawing inspiration from the rich cultural tradition of Srirangapatna or the Lotus Pavilion

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Suites or the Eva Rooms, which is a specific wing for female travellers. I checked out the junior suite and was quite impressed by the space. A beautiful and elaborate deep-red hibiscus woven into the headboard of the bed stood out, striking in its presence and complemented the elegant and understated luxury of the suite. The bed looked inviting and I was tempted to take a nap, but I wanted some respite for my feet so I went to


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The panoramic view of Lotus Pavilion can be seen from the lobby

WRooms interwoven with deep-red hibiscus complements the elegant and understated luxury of the hotel

Fast Facts Room Facts Total rooms - 279 Suites - 13 Claims to have the largest Presidential Suite in the country The rooms are priced between Rs 22,000- 29,500 The suites range from Rs 35,000 - 200,000

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Banqueting Facts Mysore Hall - 7,845 sq ft; 500 seating Botania - 7,875 sq ft outdoor banqueting area Four differential meeting/ board rooms with seating from 30 to 12 guests Facilities - Audio visual equipment and technicians, translators, wireless hispeed internet, projector Location Facts Distance from airport: 30km; approx one hour travel time Hotel is almost in the heart of the city USP First green luxury hotel in Bangalore; Motto — forward to green, back to nature

which had a wide array of choices. But I settled for Kebabs & Kurries, ITC’s signature brand drawing dishes from the other acclaimed brands such as Peshawri, Dum Pukht and Dakshin, and feasted on melt-in-your-mouth Kebabs (especially the Kakori Kebab) fluffy Rotis, Dal Makhani, Mutton Curry (Raan was outstanding), aromatic and flavourful Lamb Biryani and rounded it off with smooth and flaky Kulfi. At the end of my meal, I was pleasantly stuffed and decided to call it a day. Up by sunrise the next morning, I took along a book for a lazy morning near the beautiful swimming pool. I settled on the wall of a geometric pool, next to the main pool, which had a few inches of water above a bed of smooth coloured stones, and rested my feet in the water. It felt cool, restful and comforting. As the sun inched higher, I went back inside for a sumptuous breakfast at the Cubbon Pavilion, especially the healthy options like the multi grain Dosas and such like. Soon it was time to leave, but I felt reluctant. The hotel had proven to be an oasis on tranquility and I was loath to go back into the midst of a chaotic city. But I also knew I could bolt back into its fold whenever I felt overwhelmed, and that thought, gave me immense comfort. (PHOTOS BY ITC ROYAL GARDENIA)

West View — the grill room has a wide variety of dining options Form IV (See Rule 8)

TRAVEL X

1. Place of Publication 2. Periodicity of Publication 3. Printer’s Name Whether Citizen of India? (If foreigner, state the country of origin) Address

: : : : :

New Delhi Monthly K. Srinivasan Yes Not Applicable

:

4. Publisher’s Name Whether Citizen of India? (If foreigner, state the country of origin) Address

: : :

4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-110091 K. Srinivasan Yes Not Applicable

5. Editor’s Name Whether Citizen of India? (If foreigner, state the country of origin) Address

: : :

:

:

6. Name, Address : of individuals who own the newspaper and the partners or shareholders holding more than one per cent of the total capital

4C Pocket- IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-110091 K. Srinivasan Yes Not Applicable 4C Pocket- IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-110091 1. Renu Mittal 2. K. Srinivasan 4C Pocket- IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-110091

I, K. Srinivasan, hereby declare that the particulars given are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Date: 26 February, 2010 sd/K. Srinivasan Publisher


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WANDERING GOURMAND RUSHINA MUNSHAW GHILDIYAL

Delectable

Rajasthan Rajasthan might be a desert, but the cuisine is far from lacking. Last bastion of Indian royalty, Rajasthan is famous for both its royal as well as its vegetarian Marwari cuisine. forced to create much from little, the result, even then, was outstanding.

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I

think vivid when I think of Rajasthan — it is almost like the monochromes of the desert landscape are being compensated for in the brightly coloured clothes, the music, and the spicy cuisine. Rajasthan being largely a desert area makes the best of what it can get, even in its cuisine. The princely state of Rajasthan might be a desert, but the cuisine is far from lacking. Last bastion of Indian royalty, Rajasthan is famous for both its royal cuisine as well as its vegetarian Marwari


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suitable substitute for tomatoes, scarce in the desert, and asafetida, to enhance the taste in the absence of garlic and onions. Most Marwari food can be preserved for long periods, having evolved from the Marwaris who are essentially traders, having to travel long distances and needed to carry food. Even dishes eaten today are legacies of a wandering past. Being constantly on the move, the Rajasthani’s required foodstuff that could last several days and be easily carried. So, a large number of savoury snacks were developed - ‘dal-moth’, ‘mathri’, ‘bhujia’, ‘khattameetha sev’. The staple meal of Dal-baati (lentil curry with wheat dough balls roasted in hot coals) and Choorma (crumb pudding) were food items that facilitated easy eating during travels. They could be carried for days in the hot desert climate and buried in the hot desert sands and slowly baked till required. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses pure ghee (clarified butter) as the medium of cooking. Gram flour is a major ingredient and is used for preparing delicacies like Gatta Ki Sabzi, Pakodi and Khata. Bajra and corn, the staple grains, go to making Rotis, Rabdi and Kheechdi. Generally, Rajasthani curries are a brilliant red but not because of tomatoes, fresh green

chilles and dry red ones are integral to Rajasthani cuisine and added to snacks, curries, pickles and chutneys, giving them a fiery hue. One reason why they consume enormous quantities of chillies is because they grow them. But the food is not necessarily as spicy as it looks. Their pickles are fiery and simple. And various pickles prepared from locally available ingredients round off the regional flavour. One such distinctive pickle is the Kair Sangri Achar. Kair (capparis decidna) are the small green berries found in the dessert, usually cooked as vegetable or pickled with Sangri, slender green pods that appear on the Khejri (Prosopis cinararia) during the blazing months of June and July, (the root system of this plant go 70 feet deep, allowing it to withstand years of complete drought). But it is the sweet offerings that Rajasthani cuisine excels at. Apart from the spicy delicacies, each regions of Rajasthan is distinguished by its own signature sweet; Ladoos of Jaisalmer, Mawa Kachori of Jodhpur, Malpuas of Pushkar, Dil Jani of Udaipur, Mishri Mawa and Ghevar of Jaipur, Sohan Halwa of Ajmer, Mawa of Alwar, the Rasgullas of Bikaner, to name a few..

Rice is considered a delicacy in Rajasthan as it does not grow here.

(PHOTOS BY RUSHINA MUNSHAW GHILDIYAL)

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cuisine. The Rajasthani kitchen was forced to create much from little, and had to cater to different communities with individual ritual observances. The Rajput warrior, for example, was not averse to shikar, killing game to put in his pot at night. The royal kitchens of Rajasthan incorporated the finest ideas and recipes from all over the world but game based dishes have a special place in the warrior hearts of the community. Jungli Maas was created by Rajput warriors on the hunt. Wild games meat would be cooked using just ghee, salt and red chillies with the scarcity of any onions, garlic or vegetables while on the move. Khada Masala Meat was also the result of such meanderings, born as a result of lack of tools to grind and chop; onions, ginger, garlic, spices all went in whole with the meat resulting in one of the tastiest meat dishes. ‘Soola’ or barbecued meats, marinated to succulent tenderness and grilled on open coal fires are also popular favourites. Rajasthani cuisine owes much to the ingenuity of the people. In a land where ordinary vegetables like potatoes and cauliflowers cannot be grown, the people of Marwar have learnt to supplement their diet by using whatever the environment has to offer, be it from a tree, a bush, a plant or a creeper and these robust desert people have also perfected the skill of drying vegetables for use in times of want. So with a Marwari thali the “Raita” is sans vegetables and vegetables like “Gatte Ke Saag” have been created, made of chickpea flour and “Dal Ki Belvi Poori” with only lentil stuffings. Yoghurt is used in good measure, for its cooling properties and chillies are favoured to add zing to the food. Rice is considered a delicacy in Rajasthan as it does not grow here. Dried lentils and beans from indigenous plants like sangri, ker etc. are staples of the Rajasthani diet, as wheat and rice do not grow very well in the desert land. Gram flour is an integral cooking ingredient and is used to make delicacies and so are powdered lentils. Bajra and corn are used all over the state for making rotis and other varieties of bread. In Rajasthan, Bajre Ki Roti (millet bread) and Lahsun Ki Chutney (hot garlic paste) combined with spring onions are the staple diet of the locals as these are believed to be safeguards against the hot winds. In the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks still use very little water and instead use milk, buttermilk and clarified butter as alternatives. A distinct feature of the Maheshwari cooking is the use of mango powder, a


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FOODICTION

COOK IT UP AT PAPARAZZI

Think Paparazzi and images of flash, camera and sleazy pics often come in mind, but not this paparazzi — here one can only enjoy an appetizing cuisine in a scintillating ambience. A glitzy bar counter at Paparazzi

AKBER AYUB ou are unlikely to be hunted by the paparazzi at this topnotch restaurant perched on the tenth floor of Royal Orchid Central Hotel in the heart of Bengaluru. Nevertheless, the name carries a trendy, avant-garde feel. And that is what Royal Orchid Hotels have strived to create. A double-height ceiling covered in dapper concealed lights, parquet flooring, trendy furniture, gleaming cutlery and sweeping, floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the sprawling city — everything to create that post modern, in vogue look. The décor is minimalist, lending an understated elegance. It is when dusk retreats into night that the place truly comes into its own — aglow in pool of warm lights, candles vying for space on the welllaid-out tables with fresh orchids in slender vases and with the city twinkling at your feet like so many stars. Food is an eclectic mix, akin to fusion cuisine and global in range, comprising choice European and

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Y

Paparazzi opens you to the beautiful view of the city.

The food here not only tastes good, but also looks good


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A panoramic view of water court

Asian Pesto Grilled Prawns far-eastern cuisine and, of course, Indian. Little wonder, because Executive Chef Raana, who is ex Taj and Oberoi, has years of experience at Accor Lenotre, a French Restaurant in the Gulf, before he joined the Royal Orchid group. The restaurant holds food festivals quite often that finds flavour with the movers and shakers of the city. Halloween Night, Valentines Night and Cajun and Creole food festivals have all been quite popular. Take the indemand seafood festival called ‘20,000 leagues under the sea’. The menu generally would be fusion and the piece-de-resistance, a seafood trolley laden with assortments of marinades and spices to flavour the catch-ofthe-day on display like, Scottish salmon, sea bass and lobsters, to name a few. Take your pick and the chef would be happy to serve it up grilled, steamed, poached or deep-fried.

Ingredients 3/4 cup roasted peanuts 4 Serrano chillies 3 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon minced ginger Juice of 3 limes 2 tablespoons fish sauce 1/2 cup peanut oil 1/2 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 2 cups Thai basil leaves 1 cup cilantro leaves 1 cup mint leaves Canola oil 12 large shrimp, peeled, de veined, tail on Salt and black pepper to taste 1 head baby romaine chiffonade

Ala-carte offers an interesting array too. The lip-smacking appetizers range from Ajwaini Fish Tikka to Rosemary Prawns to Crab Cakes. If you dig soups, try the Cognac Infused Lobster Bisque that, according to the chef, takes nothing less than 18 hours to create, from lobster juices and thick cream. The main course is derived from international and Indian coasts. While the Mustard Marinated Rock Lobster, Seafood Lasgna and Chilean Sea Bass carry the overseas tag, the Indian segment has Patrani Machli, Goan Prawn Curry and Chettinad Crab Curry. Veggies have plenty to pick too. There is grilled Cottage Cheese Steaks, Polinesian Outrigger Stew and Roasted Vegetable Lasagne. The Indian segment here throws up entrees and main dishes like Veg Seeh Kebabas, Kofta Makhani

Directions In a food processor, puree peanuts, chillies, garlic, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, salt and sugar until smooth. Heat the mixture. Add the herbs and mix well. Check for seasoning. Oil shrimps on both sides and marinate with the puree mix. Grill on both sides for about five minutes. Place a layer of romaine on a plate. Lay three grilled shrimps on top and sprinkle pesto quite liberally. Paparazzi Royal Orchid Central 47/1, Dickinson Road Manipal Centre Bangalore - 560 042 Tel: 080-2558 4242.

and Kerala Styled Watermelon Curry. You could wash all that down from a selection of imported and domestic wines and spirits from the ‘Wine Tower’ at the attached bar. For the health conscious, there are diet cocktails and fusion drinks infused with herbs and spices. You could wind up your gastronomical trip with choice desserts like Gianduja Chocolate Mousse, Peach Flambé and Tuscany Tiramisu. Tongue twisters may be, but you’ll devour them in no time all right. Paparazzi serves a profusion of global fusion cuisine — Japanese, Chinese, French, Mexican, Italian and Middle East. A dinner for two would set you back by Rs 2,200. So the next time you are in Bengaluru, do not miss to savour some delectable dishes — paparazzi style!

For the health conscious, there are diet cocktails and fusion drinks infused with herbs and spices.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

Chef is quite happy to serve, be it grilled, steamed or deep-fried.


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BANTER

AMEEN SAYANI Veteran Radio Broadcaster

PRAHLAD KAKKAR AD Film Director India is not incredible yet. We will definitely get there with the right leadership. Currently, it is incredibly dirty, incredibly corrupt and incredibly inept. But I have hope that in the near future we will improve immensely and become really incredible.

Of course it is! Which other country has such a fascinating variety of cultures, religions and languages? Where else can you find such a multi-faceted convergence of traditional wisdom and modern trends? But all this is of no avail if we squabble and fight, lie and cheat, befuddle and bungle — wasting all our resources and dissipating all our strengths.

SONIA DUTT Managing Director, Air Transport and Tourism Advisors In my opinion, India is certainly incredible. For the huge diversity, it offers from natural beauty to cultural heritage to rich glorious historical past and above all the warmth and friendly attitude that resides in the heart of every Indian.

NARESH TREHAN Cardiologist

JULIO F RIBEIRO Ex Police Commissioner, Mumbai Yes, India is incredible. Foreigners should come here and have a look at our country. As it is my country, I love it and I want others also to come and see it.

JIGGS KALRA

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

A food columnist, author, a gastronome, food consultant and Chairman and Managing Director of Jiggs Kalra Food Services Yes, India is incredible, but unfortunately, we have not really promoted its incredible aspects. It is sad to acknowledge but the fact remains that we are not good marketers. We don’t have the right kind of people to promote India. We have the offerings but not the people who can market them.

From the travel point of view, i.e. not considering its poverty aspect, yes, India is truly incredible. Having seen many places, I can proudly say that the diversity which exists in India, is present nowhere. From colours of Rajasthan to the beauty of Kerala, India is unique in its variety.


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ON THE MOVE

YOUR FAVOURITE AIRPORT IS…?

Changi Airport, Singap

ore.

Peter Henly

WHY CHANGI…?

President and CEO, Amari Colours & Rhythms

The airport has everything that works efficiently, both people as well as machinery! It’s lively and airy. It is easy to get in and out of while one is in transit. There are no long immigration queues and its numerous coaches ensure that am home in minimum possible time!

YOUR RECENT TRIP WAS…? From Bangkok to Delhi.

DO YOU FLY BUSINESS OR ECONOMY CLASS?

YOUR TRAVELLING ESSENTIALS INCLUDE…?

Usually Business, unless it’s a flight which is less than three hours.

MARCH 2010 TRAVELX

My Blackberry, Ipod, Amari pen and all the trade journals that I don’t get time to read in office.

ONE AIRPORT EXPERIENCE THAT YOU WILL NEVER FORGET…?

BUSINESS TOUR OR A PLEASURE TRIP?

It was at the immigratio n counter of the Miami Airport where I had to stand in queue for one hour 45 minutes. I’ll never forget that!

Business. We came to t Delhi to announce tha be n Amari would soo setting up properties in India as well.

PHOTO BY H C TIWARI


VOL. I, ISSUE II, MARCH 2010  Rs 60

VOL I, ISSUE II, MARCH 2010

Putting the zing back to exploring the world

Rs. 60


TravelX_March_2010