A Land of Contrasts co nte mpo
rar y India
re plo Ex
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u So d an
5 Soul Searching with in
Reason’s to Visit India
For a country of India’s magnitude and diversity, to name five reasons to be tourists here, is challenging.
An Easy-Does-It Guide to Finding Your Life’s Purpose
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Sangam’ of technology
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The first International Tourism Mart was held in Guwahati, North-east India, in January this year. Even as my flight reached Singapore, I was in Incredible India. Though the focus was the Northeast, there was no way one could escape the tourist potential of the country in its entirety; I was there in her green valleys, on her snow-capped mountains, enjoying the sand on the sun-kissed beaches and riding the dunes across the golden desert. Mentally I was streamlining the first issue of In Magazine. It was for us at SunMedia a matter of happy coincidence that the first issue of In Magazine was getting ready, then. We are happy, excited and expectant today; In Magazine will be hitting the stands very soon. The design, layout, content has been a team effort, burning the proverbial midnight oil. Not just hard work but umpteen moments of fun (Indian, Indonesian, Singaporean et al working together) and of course new learning at every step. In this issue we have covered Ladakh, in the highest reaches of the Himalayas in the North, Kerala down South, by the blue
waters of the Arabian Sea, Jaganath Puri on the Eastern coast of India, an ideal blend of leisure and spirituality and Mumbai the melting point of modern India. We also have special features on India as a MICE destination and the ‘Kumbh,’ this year as a unique blend of tradition and technology. The travel and tourism industry is on the verge of a change in form and format, meeting up to modern expectations, choices and preferences. The entire industry should rework and upgrade, to meet this challenge and we with In Magazine promise to bring you what is exotic, what is lesstravelled and what is waiting to be explored. In parting, if you are a freelance writer and/ or photographer, do send your pitch to editor@ sunmediaonline.com
While every effort has been made to ensure the information is correct, In Magazine cannot accept responsibility for any inadvertent inaccuracies or omissions. The views expressed are not necessarily those of In Magazine or the Sun Media Pte Ltd. Terms and conditions apply. Offers are subject to availability which may be strictly limited. We reserve the right to withdraw offers at anytime.
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lOSer tO the gOdS
nastery, work like magic on urbanised nds and souls. Nestled in the upper malayas where nature is still untouched unexplored, Ladakh is a place where you y rediscover yourself in the quietude or n lose yourself in richness of its culture.
Getting to akh needs pre-planning as the winters harsh and the best time to visit and travel und is from June to November. This is also time when the road approaches through 473 km Manali- Leh Road and the 434Srinagar-Leh highway, are expected to be n and cleared of snow and landslides. The e transport services of Jammu & Kashmir Himachal Pradesh operate deluxe and
CONTENTS Destinations 06 Ladakh
A little closer to the Gods
08 Yatra of Puri
The grandeur and colours of the Rath Yatra, the majestic Jagannath Temple, and the sunny beaches make Puri an ideal spiritual an leisure destination.
12 Magical Mumbai
This cultural melting pot blends history that’s ancient and dreams that are tomorrow’s
14 Kerala: God’s Own Country
Give your eyes and ears a vacation. Kerala redefines the colour green, washes it and presses it until it shines
ordinary buses, but the journey takes more than a day. The flight route to Leh presents the visitors with a spectacular panoramic 17 A Hot MICE Destination view of snow-capped ranges spread out For Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions below, and the thrill of identifying particular landmarks. Jet Airways operates regular scheduled flights to Leh from Delhi, while Indian Airlines also flies in from Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. Weekly departures 18 India of flights from Mumbai and Ahmedabad have added to the easy accessibility of the A Land of Contrasts destination that was hitherto considered an 24 5 Reasons to visit India exotic travel.
26 Soul searching There are several hotels and guesthouses in Ladakh and you can book in advance to avoid last minute hitches. 34 Travel Events
36 Sangam’ of Technology and Tradition at Kumbh It was a rare ‘sangam’ of technology and tradition on day one of Maha Kumbh 2013 Monday with Google map integration, GPS and ‘flying cameras’ making their advent in the 55-day festival.
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iving conventional tourist destinations like Kashmir, SikkimGangtok, and Shimla a run for their money, Ladakh seems to be emerging as one of the top summer domestic destinations in India this year. Whatâ€™s more, a trip to Ladakh is also getting more affordable by the day. Tour operators are going all out this summer by providing packages to Ladakh in the range of Rs 14,999- Rs 30,000 per person for 5 nights and 6 days, taking care of food, sight-seeing, staying and airfare, depending upon the package you take. A trip to Ladakh is a spiritual experience in many ways. The austere landscape, the crisp cool air and chanting sounds of the
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monastery, work like magic on urbanised minds and souls. Nestled in the upper Himalayas where nature is still untouched and unexplored, Ladakh is a place where you may rediscover yourself in the quietude or even lose yourself in richness of its culture.
Getting to Ladakh needs pre-planning as the winters are harsh and the best time to visit and travel around is from June to November. This is also the time when the road approaches through the 473 km Manali- Leh Road and the 434km Srinagar-Leh highway, are expected to be open and cleared of snow and landslides. The state transport services of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh operate deluxe and
ordinary buses, but the journey takes more than a day. The flight route to Leh presents the visitors with a spectacular panoramic view of snow-capped ranges spread out below, and the thrill of identifying particular landmarks. Jet Airways operates regular scheduled flights to Leh from Delhi, while Indian Airlines also flies in from Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. Weekly departures of flights from Mumbai and Ahmedabad have added to the easy accessibility of the destination that was hitherto considered an exotic travel.
There are several hotels and guesthouses in Ladakh and you can book in advance to avoid last minute hitches.
repositories of the regionâ€™s centuries old artistic and cultural heritage. The popular ones are Lamayuru, Phiyang, Hemis and Chemrey but the jewel among Ladakhâ€™s monastic foundations is Alchi. It comprises of five temples, the richest in paintings and images being the Du-khang (assembly hall) and the three-storey Sum-tsek. Its murals, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, predate the Tibetan style of painting seen in all the other gompas of the region.
Once you are settled in and your body gets acclimatised to the thinner air, explore the splendours of this heavenly abode.
Sight-Seeing: The monasteries of Ladakh are the fountainhead of Buddhist religion and culture. They are also the
adVenture: Adventure sports in Ladakh are quite unlike anywhere else in the world. You can go for mountaineering, trekking and river rafting to challenge your adventure and survival skills. River rafting in the Zanskar River with camping on the riverside at night is quite popular among white-water enthusiasts. For mountain climbers, there are several formidable peaks to conquer. The area most frequented by foreign climbers is the NunKun massif in the Great Himalayan Range. Its easy accessibility from the Kargil-Padum road and the shortest possible approach march to the base camps makes this massif the most attractive climbing destination in the Great Himalayan, necessitating advance booking years ahead. Then there are trekking circuits where group and guided treks are organised with enhanced safety measures. The new circuits include the Drok-pa Area Circuit, the Nubra Valley Circuit, Pangong Lake Circuit and the Tso-Moriri Lake Circuit.
emergenceS LAdAkH 2011 Emergences Ladakh 2011 is an Art, Cultural & Musical extravaganza to be organized in Ladakh during July 2011. The two day event will serve as a platform to encourage Ladakhi folk musicians and dance performers by providing them a venue to showcase their skills and local artisans to sell handicrafts like Thangka paintings, Pashmina and yak wool shawls, wood-crafts, landscape paintings and photographs. During the two days, activities such as art exhibition, painting competition, wood crafting competition, and photography exhibition would be organised. Stalls to sample the local Ladakhi cuisine will also be put up for visitors and tourists. While the proceeds of the sales of the art-ware on display will go directly to the artists, other proceeds of the event will go towards the rehabilitation of the cloudburst victims.
culinary JoUrneY Momos and Thukpa are the very basic of Ladakhi cuisine. While Momos are dumplings that are fairly popular in India, we bring to you the secret recipe of homemade Thukpa, which is a noodle soup that will warm you to your core.
ingredientS for the broth 3 medium tomatoes, chopped 4 medium radishes, chopped 1/2 cup spinach, blanched 3 small onions, chopped 5 big garlic cloves, chopped 4 sprigs of spring onion, chopped 1/2 cup cilantro 1 tablespoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder 1/2 teaspoons garam masala 1 teaspoon turmeric 4 tablespoon mustard oil Salt to taste for the noodles 1 eggs for noodles 3 cups atta (stone ground wheat) About 1 cup water making the broth - In a heavy skillet, heat mustard oil until hot and add onions and garlic and fry until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes then add all the masala powders and pepper. Add spinach and radish and cook well for 10 about minutes. When radish is soft and spices are fragrant, add about 4 to 5 cups of water and bring to boil. Lower heat and let it cook while you make the noodles. Add chopped spring onions and cilantro right before serving. making thukpa noodles - In a big bowl, mix flour with egg and knead mixture into a dough, using little water. When thoroughly mixed, roll out dough like a chapatti and then slice the flattened dough into long strips. Slowly add dough strips into boiling broth and cook covered at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve with the broth.
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Yatra oF purI
uri, the temple town in the state of Orissa, is one of the four main Hindu pilgrim centres in India and is famous for its Jagannath Temple. This 65-metre high temple built in the 12th century AD dominates the landscape. Over one million people flock to this holy place every year to participate in the Rath Yatra or Car Festival. According to legends, Puri was once a thickly wooded hill inhabited by the Sabaras (Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian tribes of the Austric linguistic family). This annual ritual, spread over the entire summer and monsoon seasons, makes this the most fruitful time to visit Puri. Puri is also well-known for its golden beach with miles of yellow sand, blue waves, white surf and bright sunshine. With equable climate, Puri is a popular tourist resort frequented by visitors throughout the year. Some of the other important temples are Gundicha, Lokanath, Sunaragauranga, 8
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Daria Mahabir and Tota Gopinatt. There are also a number of holy tanks like Narendra, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Indradyumna. Puri has many monasteries, locally known as Mathas, which are also of touristic interest. A tOURISt AttRActION This year, the famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath of Puri is from June 21, 2012. Puri attracts millions of people from all countries to witness this glorious event every year. The famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath of Puri can be described as the greatest communication event in the world. It is a living demonstration of the theories of mass communication and mass mobilisation. Nowhere in the world are there so many people assembling to witness a gigantic and colourful event like that of the Rath Yatra at Puri. They also participate in pulling the chariots
of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. This is an unforgettable sight which shows how mass enthusiasm results in the generation of energy - physical, social and spiritual. Rath Yatra communicates messages directed at a real mass audience, which is large in number and heterogeneous in character. It is composed of men, women and children, belonging to all age groups, religions, sects, castes, creed and colours. The central focus of the message radiated by Rath Yatra, therefore, is secularism, reinforced by the philosophy of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” (The world is my family) flowing from the name Jagannath, which means ‘Lord of the Universe’. Rath Yatra starts on the third day of Vaishakh in the lunar calendar, popularly known as Akshaya Tritiya. On this day, it is believed that Rig Veda was revealed. The entire construction work of three chariots would be completed by June 21, 2012, the day of Rath Yatra.
The grandeur and colours of the Rath Yatra, the majestic Jagannath Temple, and the sunny beaches make Puri an ideal spiritual and leisure destination.
The famous Rath Yatra
Puri’s famous golden beach
The Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa
JAGANNAth cUlt Folklore, folk literature and ancient scriptures say that Lord Jagannath is Lord Vishnu, and is worshipped in Puri as Lord Krishna with elder brother Lord Balabhadra and his sister Devi Subhadra. The devotional songs in Oriya known as “Bhajana” and “Jananas” reflect the devotees’ faith in the powers of Lord Jagannath. The Odissi dance owes its origin to the temple rituals observed in the “Bada Deula” (the big temple).The “Baisi Pahacha” (22 steps to the temple) is described in the devotional songs as the place where one re-examines and affirms his faith in Lord Jagannath. thE RAth YAtRA Yatra is an essential part of the ritual of the Hindu system of worship. Yatra literally means travel or journey. Normally, it is the representative deities of temples, more popularly known as Utsava Murti in south and Chalanti Pratima or Bije Pratima in Orissa, partake in these journeys. It is rarely that the presiding deities come out of the sanctum for such ritual journeys. The Yatra for the Ritual Journey takes two forms – one involving the short circumambulation around the temple and other involving a longer journey from the temple to some other destination. The Yatra is considered as an important part of
festivities and ceremonies of each temple and is considered as a special and sacred occasion. Rath Yatra, being unique among all Yatras, is the grandest festival of the supreme divinity. The chariot is built by 92 carpenters, 81 helpers, 22 blacksmiths and 22 painters, who start their work months before the festival. The chariot is 12 meters in height and has 16 wheels of two-metre diameter each. The presiding deities of the main temple, Sri Mandira, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are taken out from the temple precincts in an elaborate ritual procession to their respective chariots. The huge, colourfully decorated chariots are drawn by hundreds and thousands of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha temple, some two miles away to the North. After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode in Srimandira. Ratha Yatra is perhaps the grandest festival on earth. Everything is on a scale befitting the great Lord. Full of spectacle, drama and colour, the festival is a typical Indian fair of huge proportions. The Rath Yatra communicates the message that India has a vibrant and dynamic culture, which cannot be debased or distorted. It also communicates that the people of India have been sustained over the centuries by such a powerful cultural force. In all these communications, the central message is that all people are one. And the focus of the message is that Lord Jagannath is a unique symbol of secularism and is a deity for all. A PIB Feature
rath Yatra iN SiNgaporE
he Sri Krishna Mandir, Singapore, is organising a Rath Yatra festival at the Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore on July 1, 2012, from 5 pm to 10 pm. The event will be on the lines of the Rath Yatra in Puri, Orissa, as the chariots of Lord Baladeva, Lady Subhadra and Lord Jagannatha will be taken around the stadium.
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magiCal mumBai m
umbai is not just India’s most populous city, it is also the most popular. Thirteen million, and counting, its residents are highly focussed, industrious, tough, hardworking, resilient and fun-loving. Numerous books, songs and movies have eulogised and romanticised this sea-side financial hub, easily the New York of India. And like its transcontinental counterpart, the city hosts some of the mightiest industrial giants of India, indeed the entire world. From the Tatas, Godrej, Reliance, Cadbury, Essar, Jet Airways, Larsen & Toubro to Zee Telefilms, Mumbai is headquarters to the virtual who’s who of Indian industry and commerce. It is also where the influential Bombay Stock Exchange is located, as also the nation’s financial regulator the Reserve Bank of India. Renamed from Bombay, the city pulsates with a rare and potent vibrancy. Some say this life
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force comes from Mumbai being ideally located according to the ancient Indian science of town planning and architecture, Vastu Shastra—on the western coastline, with the Arabian Sea curling around it. Others insist its energy comes from its people. For anybody who has a dream to fulfill and is willing to work for it, Mumbai aids every step of the way. No wonder then, it is the melting pot of diverse cultures from across India and home to many foreigners. Its character affects all, and soon, everyone who lives in Mumbai, becomes a Mumbaikar. The land of the mighty Marathas, Mumbai is hospitable and welcoming to a fault. For the history buff, exploring the magic and mystery of the ancient caves in and around Mumbai is mandatory. Let your imagination soar recreating history around the Elephanta Caves. Discovered by 17th century Portuguese explorers, the caves are actually temples of Lord Shiva.
They are best visited during the Elephanta festival. It takes 30 minutes by boat from the Gateway of India in south Mumbai, to reach this UNESCO World Heritage site. Ferries leave at regular intervals. But before you board a boat, pause at the historic Gateway of India, and admire the majestic and world famous Taj Hotel. You can spend a few meditative hours among hundreds of circling pigeons and the Arabian Sea smashing against the large landing platform, right behind you. An 85-foot high basalt arch, the Gateway was built by the British in 1911, to welcome King George V and Queen Mary of England. It used to be the mariner’s first sight upon landing in what was then called Bombay. The last of the British ships leaving an independent India also sailed out of this place. Less than five kilometres away, near the commercial city-centre of Fort, you must visit the Chhattrapati Shivaji Train Terminus, earlier
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This cultural melting pot blends history that’s ancient and dreams that are tomorrow’s.
The city comes alive during festivals and the Ganesh Festival is the city’s own, in a sense. It bridges the gap between religions and is celebrated as one big carnival by all. For the art lover, the Jehangir Art Gallery and Prithvi Theatre are a must. Situated right behind the Prince of Wales museum in the Fort area, it is so prestigious, that painters and sculptors have to wait years to exhibit their works here. There are easy and affordable bus and train rides to each of these places. Mumbai boasts of contemporary architectural marvels like the Bandra Worli Sealink, Nehru Science Centre and the IMAX Dome Theatre. The 5.6 km long Sealink is India’s longest bridge and the first in the country to be built over the open sea. Kiran Kurundkar, managing director of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, says: “At Maharashtra Tourism, we want to tell the world the stories of Mumbai that ring out from her every street. The story of a colonial dominion breaking free, and in 60 years becoming a global economic power.” The spirit of Mumbai is indomitable. It rises above each challenge, bouncing back to life and even stronger. Come what may, the city bedecks itself for the night. The vibrancy of Mumbai is an enduring symbol of the resilience and pride of the Mumbaikar and his beloved city. Source: India Brand Equity Foundation
highlightS << moDeRN moNumeNt The 5.6 km long Bandra Worli Sea Link connects downtown to Bandra and the western suburbs.
iCoNiC gateWay >> Astride the waterfront facing the world famous Taj Mahal Hotel, the Gateway of India symbolises the city’s friendliness. known as the Victoria Terminus. The magnificent building blends Indian elements with British architecture to form a style unique to Mumbai. Its stunning stone dome, turrets and pointed arches are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Lit up and dazzling at night, the terminus is a monument worth visiting. The imposing 29-storey Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers, not far from the train terminus, houses the Bombay Stock Exchange, symbolising the city’s, indeed the nation’s, thriving economy. Not far away, the stunning Marine Drive, also called the queen’s necklace for its evenly spaced street lights, glitters like diamonds. In Mumbai, do sample Pav Bhaji, a spicy, high-octane vegetableand bread speciality of Mumbai. It’s a wholesome meal, spiked with pickled onions and chutney for a man on the move. The Chowpatty beach, at the far end of Marine Drive, is known for its creamy handmade ice cream in scores of flavours. The beach also has the best of the other local favourite, Bhelpuri, a mouth-wateringly tangy snack made from puffed rice. The Parsi Brun Maska (bun and butter) and the Marathi Vada Pav are no less delectable and can be found at street-corner shops and kiosks.
<< aWe-iNSPiRiNg aRt Set in a 2.5 km long island, the basalt caves of Elephanta house fine stone sculptures and ancient rock art.
SuNSet BeaCh >> The wind-swept Juhu beach in suburban Mumbai attracts locals and tourists alike. << aNimal iNStiCt At Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park watch spotted leopards. Go birdwatching in one of the world’s most visited parks.
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gOd’s Own cOuntry Give your eyes and ears a vacation. Kerala redefines the colour green, washes it and presses it until it shines.
here is an exaggeration in the quaintness that is Kerala. The mossy carpet of coconut groves, its ribbon-like streams and the neat little wooden bungalows nestling in the shade -- it is too picture perfect. The clock, too, keeps a different time here. The women with fresh jasmine in their hair, the men in their white mundus and shirts, and the neatlydressed schoolchildren walking without a hurry, teach you to slow down as well, and breathe in. Kerala redefines the colour green, washes it and presses it till it shines. Come here and give your eyes and ears a vacation. The state is as lush, as it is silent -- soulfully so. In the plains there is the hegemony of coconut. Drink it, eat it, sleep on it or wear it -- the tree and its fruit are an integral part of life in Kerala. A small state with a large heart -- where do you start discovering Kerala? Kochi. Strictly speaking, it is a small town, but
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strategically close to every destination, and some out-of-the-way ones, as well. I was headed to Munnar, 4,000 feet above the sea and a little more than two hours of driving time from Kochi. Ever since my sister and her husband had shifted there to work in the tea estates, she had waxed eloquent about Munnar. “Walk as much as you like, as far as you like. It’s safe. It rains most of the time. It’s pretty. Come and see for yourself.” Finally, I gave in, a little sceptical -- after all, I hailed from the east of India. I had seen the Himalayas unfold through the morning mist. Would the Annamalai Range impress? My journey began in the plains of Kerala, on a road that cut through parrot green paddy fields. After a while, our car climbed up, and the sensory overdrive began. First, the green -- fresh, darker and deep, covering every part of the earth. Then, the smells -- heady and strong.
As my city nose struggled, my sister took pity and stopped at a smallish plantation. Cardamom, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla and black pepper -- an army of aromas. In Kerala, most plantations grow two or more of these aromatic substances. Sometimes, all of them are planted in a large magical garden where smells mingle with the wet earth to create a whiff so thick you can cut through it. Higher up, the road spiralled through mountainous jungles. There was a lack of city noises, a hush that was just a little uncomfortable, to begin with. However, as the ears got accustomed, there were small jungle voices that spoke -- the occasional bird, the loud cricket and the swish of the cool breeze through the leaves -carrying a hint of rain. And it rains, or drizzles, or pours, most of the time. The showers come unannounced. The hills of Munnar are not the jagged-ragged
travel trails travel trails
kind, but smaller, rounder and with softer edges. We left the aromatic plantations behind, to travel through rolling tea gardens with their acridsmelling leaves. And, the mist was everywhere, or were they clouds? I couldn’t be too sure. The small town of Munnar is as idyllic as it is rain-drenched and quiet. It smells of tea, and life revolves around the herb here. It has several estates and gardens devoted to it, some hotels and guesthouses and a tiny main market. The town hosts tourists from all over India, and a smattering of foreign faces -- but, at the end of the day, it belongs to its residents, who take a quiet pride in their home. Every place has its rules. Goa asks its tourists to “chill”, the Himalayas to “discover”. In Munnar, it is to relax. Breathe. Walk. Contemplate. Indians designate pretty and lonely spots to honeymooners or trekkers. Surely Munnar is for the two, but it is also for the lonely traveller.
It is for anyone who wishes to wake up to freshly brewed coffee. It is for you, if you wish to take a morning walk breathing in the smell of wet leaves and greet busy pluckers (friendly, pretty women in ridiculously oversized gumboots, ready with a smile and a wave). It is for the tourist who doesn’t mind getting drenched before breakfast. And more so, afterwards. It is perfect for treasure hunts -- play spot the stream, or find the falls, as you hear gurgling water. When you get hungry doing so, roadside kiosks offer deliciously different vegetarian and non-vegetarian food that doesn’t dent the pocket. Munnar is home to Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities, and all three have left their marks on the cuisine. A quick online search reveals that Munnar, or “moon” (three) “aar” (rivers), is situated on
the confluence of three mountain streams and is surrounded by the Annamalai Range. Websites let you know that the place is pretty, and pretty wet. However, only when you walk through it, do you see just how pretty, and how wet. Divine. I was happy in my bungalow, overlooking tea gardens, exploring the surrounding estates with my sister’s two dogs, my faithful companioncum-guides. And reading. I even picked up the paint brush after years. A day’s drive can take travellers to a number of spots. For more information, a visit to the tourism office in the old part of the town is worthwhile. Impromptu treks also throw up a few picnic-worthy locations. Decide at leisure, while sipping a hot brew (tea, or coffee, we leave it up to you). My visit to Munnar was in a year when I was at my harried and hurried worst. Before I knew it, half of the year had flown by in a scurry of assignments and papers. It was but a moment at Munnar, but, by the time I was back in the city, the clock had slowed and the senses had sharpened. I had breathed. And, I felt free. Finally, I had to leave a little note to my traveller self -- never be too quick to judge. magazine 15
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A Hot MICE Destination
For Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions
ICE- the new form of business tourism is the fastest growing section of the International tourism market. It caters to various forms of business meetings, International conferences and conventions, events and exhibitions and is slowly but steadily capturing every big hotelierâ€™s attention. Being a hot favourite tourist destination, India is also very much into the business. After the hot-spots like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai, India is fast gaining its pace in the competition to become an ideal MICE destination. With the advanced technology and facilities, warm hospitality, personalized services coupled with immense natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, the goal seems to be not very far. MICE tourism is the new buzzword in the international tourist market and
relates to various business groups and individual travelers.The importance of the MICE industry lies in the fact that it converts the annual business meetings and conferences into a glamorous and enjoyable event for the delegates and attendants. Be it a meeting to bring people together either from within one company or from a broader spectrum or an international conference of 100 delegates or product launch party or exhibition, MICE tourism finds itself being inevitable in all the occasions. To grow the business tourism in India, the country boasts of some world-class convention centres. The Ashok, New Delhi; Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad; Le Meridien, Cochin are forerunner in the Indian MICE tourism facilitating both domestic and International level of business meetings and conferences.
Major MICE Destinations in India Hyderabad Delhi Cochin Noidaa Chennai Agra
India A Land of Contrasts
ndia presents natureâ€™s variety all in one basket. Here in India one can see snow-capped mountains, barren deserts, tranquil hills, rugged plateaus, pristine valleys, rippling lakes, torrential rivers, thunderous waterfalls, not to mention the National Parks and Reserve Forests, cave temples, backwaters and a potpourri of festivals, colours, rituals, celebrations, modern and ancient, technology and tradition. There is also something you will find in very few places in the world â€“ the Rann or salt deserts that transform from marshy land in the monsoon to hard deserts in winter. On the topic of contrasts, we will do an injustice if we do not mention the tropical variety of fruits and vegetables and naturally the range of cuisine from one end of the land to the other. Any travel is incomplete without the flavour of the local cuisine. It is not possible to travel every beautiful landscape of the country, but when in India make an itinerary that will touch upon the following spots. The majestic Himalayan Range sprawling from Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the North-west, across the rugged beauty of Sikkim, to the dense forests of Arunachal Pradesh in the North-east, is awe-inspiring grandeur. The backwaters of Kerala with lazy swaying trees, beautiful houses with their own water garage (and a boat tucked in it), rich birdlife, intriguing community life and mesmerizing smell of food wafting from out when the boats
Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Andaman Coast full of beautiful sandy beaches, warm calm turquoise waters, heat-stroke inducing sun, tropical landscapes and most magnificently, the incredible limestone geology that results in high and sporadic rugged yellowed cliffs leaping out of the ground!
Pier on Indian Ocean
Forest in Shimla
Paddy Fields - Tamilnadu
pass close to the houses. Homestays are very popular in this part. The River Ganges starting from the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas, flowing across the entire Northern part of India, a distance over 2500 km, is the lifeline of the country. The worldâ€™s biggest religious festival (of Hindus) Kumbh Mela is held in Allahabad by the Ganges. The Konkan Coast, starting from Mumbai to Mangalore is dotted with sleepy fishing villages, paddy fields, plantations and coastal dwellings sheltered by the Western Ghats in the background. On the East is the beauty of the mangroves, the wonder of riverine plains and the magnificence of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the forests of Sunderbans along coastal West Bengal. The Deccan Plateau, along the West coast, is unique with its flora and fauna, its seasonal crescendo of waterfalls and the beautiful quaint hill stations of Ooty, Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar. The barren beauty of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, lying to the North-west of India is far removed from the green grandeur of the coasts and plains. With scenic Jaisalmer as its closest airport, and fortress city Bikaner and remote desert town, Barmer nearby, Thar Desertâ€™s arid sandy landscape is easily accessible.
Gadi Sagar Temple
The cave temples of Badami, Ajanta, Ellora, the Kaziranga National Park and the Corbett National Park, to name a few, and the numerous waterfalls and lakes of India all make it the land of contrasts. n
Reasons to visit India
1. Spa – Energy Therapy
For a country of India’s magnitude and diversity, to name five reasons to be tourists here, is challenging. However, if we simple go by selecting five things that is unique to India, then here they are:
2. Ayurveda – The Natural Cure
Ayurveda is a traditional healing system practiced in India and the most comprehensive holistic healing system in the world. Ayurvedic treatment is very effective for ailments as diverse as back pain, asthma, diabetes, infertility, paralysis, obesity, pimples, migraine, hair loss, hair fall, skin diseases, etc.
3. Ganges – The Lifeline
The River Ganges originating at Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas is the lifeline of India. Millions of Hindus believe that a bath in the Ganges cleanses the mind and body. To experience an evening
aarti (worship with fire) along the Ganges at either Rishikesh, Haridwar, or Varanasi, is a divine experience.
4. Siddha – Finding the Self
Siddha Yoga is a path of inner transformation and discipline. Spiritual practice on the Siddha Yoga path begins with initiation, ‘shaktipat diksha.’ Through active and focused engagement with the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices, students are able to experience and be aware of the ‘self.’
5. Medical Tourism – Excellent and Reasonably Priced
India has tens of thousands of skilled physicians and nurse practitioners. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to be a US$2 billion industry by 2015. India offers a comprehensive solution for all medical needs, and does this with the highest levels of service, facilities and professional skills.
FIND YOUR LOCAL AGENT www.sunmediaonline.com/inmagazine
ExPLOrE WhAt if
recent UWCSEA graduate Sophie experiences a high-powered IB education
… ACAdEmICS LEfT STUdENTS ENErGIzEd? Would their passion for intellectual pursuits be charged for life? That’s the aim of the UWCSEA learning programme. Just ask Sophie, Class of 2012. At UWCSEA, Sophie was encouraged to learn, share and challenge ideas by enthusiastic teachers in a culturally diverse environment. Now on her gap year, Sophie is working with a UWCSEA Global Concern project in India. Of course, her energy
doesn’t stop there. Next year, she will begin studying international relations at London School of Economics. Imagine the potential after that. What if your child joins UWCSEA? Visit www.uwcsea.edu.sg to find out more.
UWCSEA dover is registered by the CPE CPE registration No. 197000825H registration Period 18 July 2011–17 July 2017 UWCSEA East is registered by the CPE CPE registration No. 200801795N registration Period 10 march 2010–9 march 2017
SOUL Searching with Taj Mahal – Poem in Marble
The Taj Mahal, is a spectacle in white marble, embedded with precious and semi-precious stones. Unparalleled in grandeur and opulence, this fabled monument of love stands testimony to the magnificent era when love could be eulogized thus. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj as a tribute of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The poetry and the romance that shrouds the Taj cannot be better described than by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who compares it to ‘a teardrop on the cheek of time.’
Kerala Backwaters â€“ Picture Perfect
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast in the southern state of Kerala. The boat journey along the coconut-grove lined waterways makes for an idyllic getaway.
Kochi Fishing â€“ I me myself
The waters around Kochi (Cochin) are ideal for fishing trips. With innumerable species and choices between being at the bank or deepsea, the one-day trips are made even more exciting as you can also cook your fish!
Yoga – De-stress Mind and Body
From Dharamshala in the Himalayas, to Palolem Beach in Goa, from Kerala in the South to Kolkata in the East, daily classes in ashtanga, vinyasa, hatha, dynamic, kundalini, restorative and intriguing ‘superhero acro-flow’ yoga are offered by renowned yoga institutes.
Holi Festival – Colour me
Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated across India and usually falls in the month of March. The festival is celebrated with splashing colours (gulal) and water. Connected to Lord Krishna, this is fun-filled festival to join in.
Camel Ride â€“ Bumpy Adventure
A camel ride through the arid desert and quaint villages of Rajasthan is the best way to explore the vastness and splendor of the Thar Desert. Right from getting up on the Camel to getting your body adjusted to the motion, it is unique.
Andaman Beaches â€“ One with Nature
Andaman Islands are home to some of the most gorgeous and pristinely clean beaches such as Carbyns Beach, Radhanagar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach and the Butler Bay Beach. Go for snorkeling and watch the corals or just laze around and bask in the warmth.
Hampi â€“ Temple City
Hampi, the capital of the erstwhile Hindu Kingdom of Vijaynagar is a World heritage Site. The Dravidian temple architecture is breathtaking. Conquered in the Battle of Talikota in 1565 and plundered, this is one of the most striking ruins in the world.
Agra Fort â€“ Less Travelled
Over shadowed by the Taj, the Agra Fort built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, is no less striking. A World Heritage Site, the fort is majorly of red sandstone with later marble additions by Shah Jahan.
Rejuvenation â€“ the Indian Way Rejuvenation of the mind and body is a major attraction in India. Yoga and meditation calms and lightens the mind while ayurvedic spas and other treatments rejuvenate the body. These natural healing and rebuilding systems are substitutes for the recognised medical ways.
TRAVEL EVENTS Gujarat
Gujarat Travel Mart
31 March - 02 April 2013 Mahatma Mandir Exhibition Centre Gandhinagar, India The show is held over a period of three days and is attended by a large contingent of leading professionals from the tourism, hospitality, travel and leisure sectors. More than 200 professional exhibitors participate in the event on a regular basis and an extensive array of holiday packages. www.gujarattravelmart.com
Great Indian Travel Bazaar
14 - 16 April 2013 B.M.Birla Auditorium Jaipur,India Great Indian Travel Bazaar is one of the top travel and tourism sector trade events in India. The show is attended by more than 4500 eminent corporate professionals from this sector and topical discussions on the latest industry happenings are regularly held here. www.ficci-gitb.com
Hospitality Business Fair
14 - 16 June 2013 Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, India. Exhibiting at the regionâ€™s premier hospitality event, will allow you to showcase your products and services to the regionâ€™s best and influential decision-makers. This would be an ideal platform to launch new products and find sales agents or distributors to existing and newer markets. www.hbf.co.in
Travel & Tourism Fair Hyderabad
Travel & Tourism Fair - Pune
06 - 08 September 2013 The Orchid Convention Centre Pune, India Travel and Tourism Fair Pune is one of the premier travel and tourism oriented exhibitions in India. The event will be taking place in the city of Pune in the course of three days and will be featuring prominent exhibitors from various areas of the industry.
12 - 14 July 2013 HITEX Exhibition Centre Hyderabad, India Travel & Tourism Fair - Hyderabad is the leading travel and tourism show scheduled to be held in HITEX Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad, India for a period of three days. This show highlights the scope of growth for the Indian tourism industry.
Shopping mall, Pune
Incentives, Business, Travel & Meetings Expo India 12 - 14 September 2013 Grand Hyatt Mumbai Mumbai,India Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings Expo India will take place in Mumbai, India for three consecutive days. This expo is designed to provide relevant information to the Business Travel Managers and travel agents. www.ibtmevents.com/IBTM-India
Getourists India - New Delhi 12 - 15 September 2013 New Delhi,India Getourists India New Delhi is going to be an important event which is going to take place in New Delhi, India for a period of four consecutive days. This event is going to be a big platform for those who are associated with travel and tourism companies as they are the main exhibitors in this event.
It was a rare ‘sangam’ of technology and tradition on day one of Maha Kumbh 2013 Monday with Google map integration, GPS and ‘flying cameras’ making their advent in the 55-day festival.
Sangam’ of technology
and tradition at Kumbh
he biggest religious congregation anywhere in the world that is estimated to draw tens of millions from India and around the world. The Uttar Pradesh government has also spent about Rs.1.17 crore on 13 gigantic LED screens, which dot the mela premises at vantage points in this north India town that is playing host to the mega event. These screens, some fixed and some on moving trucks, relayed events like the bathing and ‘aartis’ to faithfuls, who could not make it to the Sangam - the sacred confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers - in this Uttar Pradesh town. The other attraction, also a first, are the ‘flying cameras’ that have been positioned by the mela administration to click high definition aerial shots of the tents, sadhu camps and the multitude. Millions of people are expected to congregate each day and cameras will record the devotees flocking to the 18 pontoon bridges constructed to ease the flow of people as they converge on the Sangam area, Arail and Jhoosi. Rakesh Sharma, the chief executive officer of Prabhatam, the company
that has set up the media centre for national and international media, said 10 OB vans have been stationed at the Sangam nose and would be telecasting live pictures. The feed would later be distributed free of cost to the televisions channels and whoever seeks to keep them. In addition, 30 computers, all connected to broadband and printers and scanners have also been provided to the media. Also, in a first, the mela administration has gone in for Google map integration of the whole township. Every inch of space, officials say, has been accounted for. Through the global positioning system (GPS), the employees are surveying the land and all information collated has been put up on the website for easy access to journalists and other visitors. The seers are equipped too. At many ‘akhadaas’, as each community of different sadhu sects are called, the holy men and their disciples are not only carrying latest gadgets like Android mobile phones, tablet note books and broadband connecting dongles, some vehicles of these sects, including a fleet of Mercedes, have GPS technology installed
“just in case they get lost”. An interactive map has been made online wherein one can see how the 4,000 camps have been allotted in the 193.5 hectare sprawling campus. In these maps, details of the sector markets, sector offices, ration shops and important religious places has been given. The state government has also taken the opportunity to highlight its own achievements at the once in 12-year event billed the largest gathering of people in the world. Small advertisements of the state government, highlighting the achievements of the 10-month-old Akhilesh Yadav government were also displayed. Shiva, incharge of the Mumbai based company that put up these screens, was happy at the crowds gathered around the screen. Though there was no audio, largely due to the hustle-bustle around, the state information department introduced subtitles elaborating on various public welfare schemes of the Samajwadi Party (SP) government. “Other than highlighting the government’s policies and schemes like Kanya Vidya Dhan, the unemployment allowance, the healthcare activities, there are snippets showing the tourist attractions as well,” Prabhat Mittal, director of the state information and public relations department, told IANS. With all this technology in place, one visitor remarked, it would indeed be impossible for anyone to get lost in the Kumbh mela -- a staple of many a lost and found theme in Hindi films.