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Why a rising number of Indians are ready to explore the world

The latest data from Airbnb has revealed that nights booked for International travel by Indian guests more than doubled in Q1 2023 when compared to Q1 2022. The UK, US, and various European countries have emerged as the top destinations among Indian travellers looking to travel abroad. While international travel has gained momentum, Indians are also seeking domestic travel adventures, indulging in beach getaways, city escapades, and serene vacations in the hills. Goa takes the top spot among the most booked domestic destinations, followed by Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi, and Kullu. Overall nights booked in India have grown by 70 per cent when comparing full-year 2022 with pre-pandemic 2019, while domestic nights in India grew by almost 110 per cent. Airbnb has also observed a continued enthusiasm among international guests to visit India and immerse themselves in the country's rich culture and heritage. The US stands out as the leading origin for Airbnb guests visiting India, along with the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Canada. Also Read: Social media star from Dharavi gets signed for two Hollywood movies Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, Airbnb's General Manager for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, "The strong enthusiasm we are witnessing for travel presents a remarkable opportunity to foster meaningful connections. It reflects the growing confidence and eagerness among Indian travellers to explore new destinations and create lasting memories. "Alongside our vibrant Host community, we want to help ensure India has a diverse range of accommodation options needed to harness the travel rebound, while also helping to promote responsible travel practices that allow people to genuinely connect with local communities and immerse themselves in the country's rich cultural heritage. We're committed to working closely with the government and industry stakeholders to support and accelerate the ongoing travel recovery." Airbnb's Travel Outlook for 2023In 2023, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations has garnered significant interest, providing travellers with the opportunity to discover new places without preconceived notions. Solo travel is on the rise, with individuals seeking nature-based experiences to find balance and reconnect with themselves. The flexibility and freedom offered by solo travel, along with the desire for peace and solitude in rustic locales, have contributed to its surge. Airbnb's data indicates that solo travel in India has nearly doubled compared to the same period last year. Travelling with family on Airbnb remains popular amongst Indians and has witnessed a remarkable surge of over 110 per cent year-on-year. Airbnb accommodations cater to families, with nearly 90 percent of stays equipped with kitchens, a quarter offering three bedrooms or more, and over a million accommodations providing cribs for small children. India has also witnessed a significant rise in responsible tourism, as travellers increasingly prioritize travel that promotes responsible practices, such as community-based tourism, eco-tourism, and cultural tourism. Responsible travel allows individuals to deeply connect with local cultures and lifestyles, providing authentic and unique experiences. Moreover, there is a growing demand for unique accommodations that go beyond traditional offerings, with travelers seeking distinctive spaces such as treehouses, houseboats, and farm stays. Summer Travel TrendsAs the summer season unfolds, Indian travelers are eagerly embracing both domestic and international destinations. Puri, Chennai, Goa, Dehradun, Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Munnar, and Nainital have emerged as the top trending domestic summer destinations, capturing the essence of India's diverse landscape. Internationally, Bali, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, Lisbon, Split, Rome, Prague, Singapore, and Bangkok have been attracting Indian travelers with their captivating charm. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

26 May,2023 09:21 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Top Mother's Day getaways handpicked for your supermom

This Mother's Day, are you considering surprising your mother with something special? Give her something she can enjoy with you so you may make some special moments together. With a well-thought-out getaway that you can both enjoy and tick off her bucket list, surprise your super-mom. Whether your mother loves an adrenaline thrill or some downtime at the spa, a walk in the mountains or an authentic culinary experience, has put together a list of events that are sure to make her feel particularly special. For the foodie mom If your mother is seeking for a culinary experience, Hyderabad is a fantastic destination thanks to the world-famous Charminar and mouthwatering cuisine. She might celebrate Mother's Day by enjoying a gourmet tour of the city, which is home to many street food booths, recognisable bakeries, and well-known restaurants serving Nizam's rich gravies and luscious sweets. Hyderabadi biryani is a delicacy that must be indulged in while visiting the city. Booking the Biryani tour, which examines the interesting history of biryani in Hyderabad, or the Evening Street Food Walk, which also allows you the chance to eat this Hyderabadi staple and indulge your inner foodie, are two ways to experience this. For the mom who is spiritual If your mother has a spiritual bent, she would adore Varanasi's Ganga Aarti's sights and sounds. A sight to behold is the evening aarti conducted at the banks of the Ganga, which features lights, cymbals, incense, and people chanting and singing hymns. While in Varanasi, you can either book the Guided Holy City Tour with a Boat Ride to experience the culture of Varanasi, indulge in some local cuisine, and participate in a variety of local activities, or you can visit the ancient temples of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Monkey Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, and Birla Temple and soak up the spiritual vibe of the city. The ideal Mother's Day idea to honour her faith and compassion. For the mom who loves to shop Shopping is a great idea for a Mother's Day celebration. And no better place to take her than Jaipur. Plan a day of shopping so you and your mom can spend some memorable time together exploring the vibrant local markets and fascinating local brands. Sign up for the Jaipur Markets Shopping Tour where you can explore some traditional bazaars and shop for jewellery, clothes, footwear, local handicrafts, pottery and souvenirs to take back home. You can also visit the Sanganer factory to see how the handmade paper goods are manufactured or Tripolia Bazaar for some local spices. Wrap your Mother's Day special shopping trip by heading over to a local restaurant and indulging in some local Rajasthani cuisine as you soak in the experience of the Pink City. For the mother who loves nature/adventure Munnar, where the hills are bordered by tea plantations and where adventurers throng, is the ideal place for your mother to visit if she likes the outdoors. Paragliding is available in the city, as are walks that start at the meeting of three mountain streams and ascents to Anaimudi, the tallest hill in South India. On Mother's Day, you and your mother can escape your normal routine and experience an adrenaline rush by going on a trek and engaging in activities like the Letchmi Hills Hike, all the while learning about the meadows, tea plantations and mountain slopes. You might also simply unwind in Munnar's serene surroundings at the end of the day. For the mother who loves to rejuvenate Everyone occasionally needs to focus on taking care of themselves by partaking in rejuvenating activities while taking a much-needed vacation from their everyday routine. Exercise, meditation, reading, writing, viewing your vision board, speaking affirmations, and writing them down are just a few of the straightforward but effective rituals that can make one feel good throughout the day. Why not give your mother the much-needed break she deserves this Mother's Day by taking her on a yoga and meditation experience? Yoga and meditation not only refresh the body and mind while reducing stress, but they also help boost the mood. Give your mum a day off from work; she deserves it. Also Read: ‘Calm Down’ singer Rema: Mumbai feels homely because we are big on culture too

13 May,2023 11:10 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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MakeMyTrip introduces Microsoft AI to make travel more inclusive, accessible

Leading online travel company MakeMyTrip on Monday said it has collaborated with Microsoft to make travel planning more inclusive and accessible by introducing voice assisted booking in Indian languages.The new, in-platform tech stack powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Azure Cognitive Services, will converse with the user to offer personalised travel recommendations based on their preferences and curate holiday packages."We have pioneered offerings at the intersection of e-commerce, travel, and technology, and are proud to introduce a feature that breaks down the barriers of language, literacy, inability to navigate complex app environments, physical impairments, etc," said Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip."This Generative AI integration through our collaboration with Microsoft involves simple visual cues and voice commands in native Indian languages that will alter the landscape of travel bookings hereon forth," he added.Currently, the beta version of this integration has been introduced in English and Hindi for flights and holidays customers.The next stage of voice assisted booking flow will cover other transport offerings. The feature has been embedded into the landing page of the platform and can be activated with a single click, said the company.MakeMyTrip's latest offering uses the power of AI and Machine Learning to make travel-related solutions all pervasive, no matter the use case or scenario.Microsoft's large language models and Indic language speech models, coupled with MakeMyTrip's natural language understanding capability and travel domain content creates the base for users to interact with the platform in any Indian language."The new update will elevate the user experience and make our platform more inclusive, accessible, and easy to navigate. The beta phase will offer us learnings to further fine-tune all use cases before rolling it out to users at scale. As such, we'll do a very controlled roll-out of this feature with a subset of our customers," said Sanjay Mohan, Group Chief Technology Officer, MakeMyTrip.The intuitive interface powered by Azure OpenAI Service's GPT technology, will analyse specific user requirements and sift through thousands of options, to recommend, customize and book holiday packages, transforming what has been a time-consuming process into a quick and hassle-free experience.It will also summarize hotel reviews, extracting unique traveller impressions, that is cohort specific - whether a solo traveller, business traveller, couple, family, etc."Bringing together MakeMyTrip's expertise with Microsoft's AI capabilities, including Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, our collaboration will help make travel more inclusive and accessible for travelers across India, with trust and security at the core," said Sangeeta Bavi, Executive Director, Digital Natives, Microsoft India. Also Read: These lesser travelled places of South Africa are an ideal trip destination

09 May,2023 09:36 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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The most popular Earth homes wishlisted by travellers for Earth Day

Airbnb unveils the most wish-listed Earth homes located in India! These unique and sustainable accommodations showcase the beauty of eco-friendly living, providing travellers with the opportunity to connect with nature in extraordinary ways. By choosing to stay in these Most Wish Listed Earth homes, you can actively contribute to sustainable tourism and minimise your environmental footprint while enjoying a truly unique and immersive experience. Cob 1 by The Mudhouse Marayoor (Munnar, Kerala) Nestled atop a serene hill, The Mudhouse offers breath-taking vistas of the spectacular Sahyadri landscapes, providing an awe-inspiring panorama of the picturesque Marayoor valley. This tranquil haven is crafted from sustainable materials such as mud and coconut leaves, a passion project born out of the desire to embrace and promote sustainable living practices. The mudhouse is not just a place to stay, but a destination that embodies the ethos of sustainability, inviting you to experience the beauty and harmony of living in harmony with our planet. The Chalet, an eco home (Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh) As you arrive at the chalet, you'll be surrounded by the lush greenery of towering trees, vibrant wildflowers, and a sprawling garden. The property has a charming treehouse and a sustainable greenhouse, where organic vegetables are grown exclusively for guests. The property utilises solar energy and recycles wastewater to minimise its impact on the environment. The Chalet is a prime example of promoting sustainable living practices and reducing ecological footprint. Lotus Studio in Skandavan's garden, Edayanchavadi (Auroville, Tamil Nadu) Nestled amidst lush greenery, The Lotus Studio is a shining example of sustainable architecture. With its dome-shaped roof and natural ventilation on all four sides, this spacious and self-standing studio-bedroom stays cool and comfortable without relying on artificial cooling. Designed to blend harmoniously with nature, The Lotus Studio is set in a beautiful garden adorned with a serene fishpond, offering a tranquil and rejuvenating getaway. Earth Shelter/Cave Home with Pool & Rooftop Garden (Murbad, Maharashtra) Step inside this stunning Earthen home, where two elegant bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms await on either side. The centrepiece of the estate is a mesmerising swimming pool surrounded by an inviting outdoor area, perfect for milestone celebrations and special occasions. Indulge in the tranquillity of nature while enjoying the comforts of this sustainable villa, where every detail has been thoughtfully curated to provide a truly memorable stay. Whether it's a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a special celebration, this Earthen home promises an unforgettable experience that embodies the essence of natural luxury and country leisure. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

23 April,2023 07:45 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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7 international road trips you can go on from India

Travelling is an experience - it's about the journey as much as it is about the destination. Packing your bags may be prompted by the destination, but the journey itself may excite you. What if we told you that you could travel locally and reach China and London by road from India?Here is a list of possible international road excursions:MalaysiaSkyscrapers and riverside homes coexist in Malaysia, which effectively expresses the region's cultural spirit. In addition to that, they serve some of the greatest meals in the area, which is a wonderful treat after travelling such a long distance. However, you could have to pass through Tibet, which will cause issues with autonomous vehicle movement. To arrive in Kuala Lumpur, you will have to travel across two other countries - Myanmar and Thailand, for which valid travel documents are required.ThailandEven while it may be less expensive to fly, the recently opened motorway linking the two countries is nonetheless quite thrilling. Since Thailand has magnificent beaches, an unusual culture, and options for all types of travellers, it is well known as one of the easiest destinations to have a good time. The road to Bangkok, goes across the northeastern states of India and crosses Myanmar to arrive in Thailand. Many who have undertaken this roadtrip, suggest the following journey: head from Delhi to Imphal, cross Moreh, Kale, Bagan, Inle Lake, Yangon, Maesot, and arrive in Bangkok from Tak.NepalAt the end of your trek into Nepal, you'll find forests, some fairly nice alcohol, and some of the highest peaks in the world. Along the journey, you'll see some great sights, but if border patrols annoy you too much, just take the bus! A drive from New Delhi to Kathmandu will take you across two states in India through New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, and you enter Nepal through Sunauli Border and which will take approximately 2 days.BhutanBhutan's rich legacy, culture, and peculiarly lively atmosphere will persuade you to go there even if being the happiest nation in Asia isn't enough of a cause. This little nation in the Himalayas is remote (in all senses of the term), but doable. The route to Thimpu from New Delhi will take you across the states of Uttar Pradesh and Assam, from Guwahati, you will be able to move to the Bhutanese village Phuntsholing and then head to Thimpu and reach Bhutan in 3 days.Sri LankaTake a drive to verdant Sri Lanka and take in the beaches, woods, and culture that have helped to shape the country into what it is today. Since locations are close to one another, you may squeeze in a lot of varied things in a short amount of time! A journey from New Delhi to Colombo will take you across the length of India, crossing 6 states - Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, you can take the Nagappattinam ferry to Colombo.ChinaAlthough it would take a very long time and effort, it is technically conceivable to drive to China. The independent travel pass is difficult to obtain and takes a long time to be authorised. But if you do, please let us know! For arriving in China from New Delhi, one may take a route through Nepal via the Kodari-Zhangmu border and reach your destination in approximately 40 hours of journey.BangladeshFrom some regions of India, you can practically see the border with Bangladesh. It has a rich history, magnificent waterways, and amiable citizens. To reach Dhaka, you will have to travel from New Delhi, across Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, and cross the border at Sonamasjid Sulka checkpoint or Petrapole-Benapole border to arrive in Bangladesh. Once you enter Bangladesh, it will take an approximately 8-hour drive to arrive in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Also Read: 5 kid-friendly international destinations to visit this summer

14 April,2023 03:03 PM IST | New Delhi
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5 kid-friendly international destinations to visit this summer

Planning a kid-friendly itinerary, especially for international travel might seem scary and daunting at first, but it's a lot of fun once you take the first step towards it. While you can travel to any country with your kids, there are some countries that are especially kid-friendly due to the amenities they offer. Amenities such as kids' clubs, kid-friendly attractions, a wide variety of food for fussy eaters, and stroller-friendly walkways are some of the things which make a country seem more attractive for kids than others. This summer vacation, surprise your kids with an international trip to these five countries: Singapore: With loads of fun activities and vibrant places to visit, Singapore is an ideal travel destination for kids. It is extremely safe, public transport such as cabs and buses are affordable, and it offers many child-friendly attractions such as the Singapore Zoo, Sentosa Island, and Changi Jurassic Mile. Lapland: Located in Finland, it is also known as the land of Magical Natural Phenomena, or Santa Claus's hometown (yes, you heard us right!). It looks literally like a land out of a fairy tale! Kids can meet the 'real' Santa Claus, play in snow-laden forests, and even feed baby reindeer (baby Rudolph maybe?). It also offers plenty of options for parents to enjoy - watch the Northern Lights, Midnight Sun, and stay in an igloo among others. Bali: One of the most popular tourist destinations, Bali is famous for its beaches, temples, and the wide variety of sports it offers. To have a relaxing vacation, choose a hotel with kids' clubs and a wide range of food options. Take your kids to the Bali Zoo, Waterbom Waterpark, and Ubud Monkey Forest, and soak in the flora and fauna. Australia: Australia's diverse cities and natural landscapes have something for everyone - from young adventurers and teen beach-seekers to culture-craving grown-ups and foodies of all ages. Visit the Grampians if you want a taste of adventure, roam around Sydney and go to National Dinosaur Museum, explore the Gold Coast, go snorkeling at The Great Barrier Reef, and see kangaroos and koala bears. Europe: Choosing the proper destination is key to having a fun time in Europe. You can go to Barcelona, Lisbon, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik and see the Lisbon Oceanarium, The Blue Planet, and Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park among others. Keep this checklist handy while planning your international trip: Research, research, and research: It is important to plan everything to avoid last-minute hiccups, including the weather of the country you want to visit, the political climate, attractions, adventure activities, entry fees to the transport cost, the accommodation the eateries, the laws to the safety regulations, and the culture to the locals. Keep your travel-related documents in one place: These include a passport, visa, international driving license, travel maps, flight tickets, travel insurance, and medical prescriptions, if any. Check in with the Indian Embassy and register yourself: To be safe in a foreign land while far from home should be one of the most important things on your checklist. As soon as you land, get yourself registered at the Indian Embassy to ensure your safety, especially in case of an emergency. Pack all your essentials: These are the items that you require on a day-to-day basis such as mobile chargers, USB cables, electronic gadgets, power banks, and first-aid kit among others. Get an affordable mobile plan: The three telecom operators in India - Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea offer International Roaming plans which will allow you to stay connected with everyone seamlessly while avoiding a hefty mobile bill. Also Read: Follow these five travel tips to become a responsible tourist This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

10 April,2023 09:39 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Cities such as Cape Town and Durban have become synonymous to the Rainbow Nation. They are an essential stop on every inbound traveller's itinerary. Picture Courtesy: iStock

These lesser travelled places of South Africa are an ideal trip destination

Among the many popular trip destinations in the world, South Africa has emerged as one of the most popular round-the-year destinations for Indian travellers. Cities such as Cape Town and Durban have become synonymous to the Rainbow Nation. They are an essential stop on every inbound traveller's itinerary and rightly so! But you must know that the country is blessed with some picturesque hidden gems that are located miles away from the hustle and bustle of the usual tourist spots. As the destination is experiencing a marked shift towards 'exploring the unexplored', these regions are fast making their way on many vacationers' holiday wish lists. While experiencing the tranquility of an incredibly scenic beauty, there is a gamut of activities surrounding these towns allowing the travellers to luxuriate in the best of both worlds. Make sure to tick mark these lesser travelled roads for your next trip to South Africa: Take the best dive of your life at Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu-NatalSodwana Bay, located in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa is a marine reserve and one of the most popular diving spots in the world. Travellers can walk through the long stretches of sandy beaches accompanied by beautiful waves or indulge in a plethora of fun water sports activities available here. Sodwana's spectacular coral reefs in a national marine protected area are among the southernmost in the world and are a scuba diving and snorkelling mecca. It is a fantastic year-round diving spot (including night dives) where divers can seasonally spot whale sharks, ragged-tooth sharks, loggerhead turtles between December and February, and humpback whales between June and October. Soak in Serenity at Bourke's Luck Potholes in MpumalangaCreated as a result of thousands of years of water erosion at the confluence of the Blyde River and the Treur River in the South African region of Mpumulanga, these potholes without a doubt are one of the most incredible sites to watch. The excessive erosion has developed into the formation of cylindrical rock sculptures that appear as if they belong to the moon. Travelling a bit further also allows you to witness an amazing array of white, yellow and dark brown eddies of colour because of the soil present in the water unveiling the waterfalls' true power. Experience bliss at Augrabies Fall in Northern CapeLocated on the Orange River that flows through the Augrabies Fall National Park, this breathtaking waterfall is about 60 meters high, averaging about 240 meters in depth and runs for 18 km. The nearby area hosts a viewing platform allowing every visitor to gaze upon the natural gem of the Northern Cape. Surrounded by the National Park, it offers a view of the ancient landscape which will take you back in time. Be sure to visit the spot during monsoon when the river beneath flows in an abundance of water. Spend some peaceful moments at Golden Gate Highlands National Park in Free StateNestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the northeastern Free State, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is known for its breathtaking scenery. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of golden-yellow, cast due to the evening sun on the sandstone formations. Home to rich flora and fauna, one can spot wildlife such as Black Wildebeest, Blesbok, Eland, Mountain Reedbuck, Oribi and so on. It is a perfect escape for travellers who want to spend some relaxing time surrounded by the nature. The park also boasts various indigenous flora like Fire Lilies, Watsonias, Arum Lily and so on. Drive to the wonderful West Coast in Western CapeFor a truly off-the-grid experience, head to South Africa's West Coast. A 90-minute drive from Cape Town, the West Coast is a local's favourite for a restorative weekend getaway. Travellers can hike, explore bike trails through fynbos (small belts of natural shrubland), or visit the icy waters of Langebaan Lagoon for kayaking and sailing. West Coast National Park is also great for spring wildflowers (between August and September when the blooms are at their peak). Southern right whales can be viewed between August to November. Now that you are aware of these locations be sure to make a not-so-quick detour when you plan your next trip to South Africa. Also Read: Do you know of these 7 major train rules about travelling by Indian railways? This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

06 April,2023 08:40 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Do you know of these 7 major train rules about travelling by Indian railways?

The Indian Railways, which was founded 177 years ago, is considered to be one of the largest rail networks in the world. The length of rail routes across the country was last estimated to be around over 68,000 kilometers, providing passengers with convenient travel across India. "On a daily basis, it is reported that around 23 million passengers travel by train in India, making railways a major source of commuting. However, in order to ensure smooth travel to places, it is important for passengers to know about some of the important rules set by the Indian railways," Sripad Vaidya - co-founder and COO - ConfirmTkt said. Checkout Indian railway rules that have been placed to ensure the safety of the passengers and their overall convenience: Pulling the alarm chain in a running trainIf you've travelled on a train in India, there's a big chance that you might have seen emergency alarm chains placed near the doors of each coach. While almost everyone may have had the urge to pull the chain at some time or the other, pulling it might get you in a lot of trouble. Indian railway rules state that the alarm chain is only required to be pulled in case of an emergency, such as a medical emergency, a threat to passenger safety, an accident, or if a child, elderly or disabled person, or companion has missed the train. You can extend your journey while travellingThere are often times when a passenger may not get the reservation for their original destination due to the unavailability of tickets during peak seasons. However, Indian Railways have got their passengers covered with one rule. The passenger can book a ticket for a destination before the actual one if he or she gets the ticket. Then, while travelling, they can choose to go to the TTE and extend the journey by paying an extra fair. In return, the TTE can issue a ticket for the forward journey, however, it may be for a different seat. The middle-berth ruleThere's a very important rule regarding the middle berth of an Indian Railways train. The middle berths are the ones that are positioned between the upper and lower berths and need to be folded down from the ceiling. The rule suggests that passengers cannot fold down the middle berth during the day as the lower and upper berths are used as seats. Passengers can only sleep on the middle berth from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. In case a passenger exceeds the time limit, the lower berth passenger has the right to tell you not to. The two-stops rule in case you miss the trainOften, there may be unfortunate incidents wherein a passenger may miss boarding the train for the original boarding station. However, in order to give the passengers a fair chance, the Two-Stops rule suggests that the ticket collector cannot just transfer the seat to another passenger. At least not for another hour or until the train passes the next two stops of the overall journey. Passengers can't be disturbed after 10 pmA train journey can be a long one and in order for it to be enjoyable and not burdensome, it is a must that passengers aren't disturbed during the travel. In general, the passengers cannot be disturbed after 10 p.m., and this is why even the TTE needs to check the tickets before the stipulated time. Another rule is that all lights in the coach, except the night lights need to be switched off so that the passengers can rest properly. This is why even the food served on trains cannot be served after 10 p.m. Fixed price of packaged food items sold in trainIn case you travel in buses or airplanes, you must have noticed that the prices of products are often much more than their actual MRPS. Well, not in trains under Indian Railways. The governing body has fixed rules regarding the pricing of packaged food items such as snacks, meals, and beverages on trains. This is to ensure that the passengers are not overcharged and that the products meet certain quality standards. In case a vendor is found to do such unethical practices, he can be reported after which he may be charged a heft penalty or may see his license getting canceled. Avoid making loud sounds on the trainThe Indian railways have put up serious guidelines for passengers who are looking to travel in trains and the prohibition of loud sounds on a train is one. In order to avoid disturbing passengers, all travellers are expected to keep a check on noise levels. If you are watching a video or listening or music on your phone or any other device, it is advised that you keep the volume low or use a pair of headphones or earphones. It is also advised to keep your voice down on a phone call so as not to disturb other passengers who are either resting or sleeping. The rule was placed when the Indian railways received multiple complaints against people who created a nuisance for other passengers. On-board Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE), catering staff, and other railway personnel are usually tasked to guide people in following the rules.Also Read: Commute, but make it cute: Mumbaikars reveal how to travel by local trains and still look good This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

30 March,2023 04:09 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Many wellness retreats have found themselves nestled in nature, although in close proximity to major cities, to provide city-dwellers the perfect escape from the hustle of their everyday lives. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Mid-Day Premium How are wellness retreats still roping us in

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it is to not take our health for granted. While the pandemic might have shone the spotlight on wellbeing, the wellness industry (estimated to be $1.5 trillion globally by international consulting firm McKinsey) has been steadily growing for years. Be it fitness, food, or even travel—the desire to be healthier, and consume what nourishes us holistically has permeated all aspects of our being, attracting younger audiences for preventive healthcare. As per Agoda’s recent Travel Trend survey, Indian travellers show a desire to embark on trips that allow them to recharge both mentally and physically. As per the survey, wellness ended up in the number two spot in the ‘reasons to travel’ ranking, between reuniting with loved ones (#1) and food, arts and culture travel (#3). It is no wonder that wellness tourism is trending in 2023, and thousands of wellness retreats have cropped up in India. Many of these retreats have found themselves nestled in nature, although in close proximity to major cities, to provide city-dwellers the perfect escape from the hustle of their everyday lives. From doctor-prescribed diets to Indian Naturopathy, the modern wellness retreat offers a plethora of immersive wellness experiences that claim to offer you a chance to rewire your not-so-healthy routines. We spoke to Dr. Arun Pillai, wellness director of Dharana at Shillim, Sharmilee Kapur, and Nikhil Kapur, co-founders and directors of Atmantan Wellness Centre to trace the rise of wellness tourism, and understand how hospitality establishments are differentiating their offerings to keep their visitors engaged in an increasingly saturated market. Natural immersionBoth Dharana, and Atmantan are nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range. While the former is a two-hour drive from Mumbai, the latter overlooks Mulshi Lake near Pune. Both wellness retreats are spread across acres of peaceful space. Pillai shares, “Our pristine expanse of 320 acres in the UNESCO biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats and our easy accessibility to both Pune and Mumbai has further catalysed this trend (wellness travel) for us.” CustomisableAccording to Pillai, travel has increasingly become experiential. “There is a need to create experiential memories through immersive healing experiences. Guests appreciate customisable wellness programs that allow them to choose from a selection of ‘journeys’ based on their personal goals,” he explains. Kapur agrees, “To suit the specific needs of our guests, all the programmes offered by us are doctor-prescribed which differ in recommended days, varying diets, the natural supplements, the daily activities and the therapies prescribed.” Transformative and holisticPeople today are increasingly feeling the need to pursue a sustainable lifestyle that allows them to feel better, and live better.  Pillai explains, “Wellness segment has grown exponentially since the pandemic, we have seen a surge in guests looking for wellness experiences, and transformative lifestyle programs.” Elaborating on the holistic approach, he adds, “We focus on providing guests with a holistic transformation of the body, mind, and soul. The goal is to provide a sense of harmony through a synergy of wellness programs and the Dharana Food Philosophy.  The wellness cuisine showcased by Dharana at Shillim includes all the elements achieved by modern food research and lessons learned from nutritional philosophies from every corner of the globe. The Dharana Food Philosophy has its firm roots in age-old Ayurvedic traditions. The menus are inspired by fresh, seasonal produce and the slow cooking technique stresses on preserving the natural flavours of the food, working with ingredients known for their curative and nourishing benefits.” The range of experiences offeredWhile there is no dearth of innovative wellness experiences offered, effectiveness becomes the most trustworthy metric. “The essence of a wellness retreat lies in infusing and building sustainable healthy habits. We assist individuals to become their healthiest-selves through detoxification, therapies, bonding activities and preventive interventions, offering an ideal blend of experiential and sustainable experiences,” says Pillai. From programs that assist in sleeping, to weight management, Dharana offers a number of short and long stay programs. One of the most interesting experiences includes the traditional Chinese Cha Dao ceremony which promotes principles of balance, mindfulness, and simplicity. The ceremony proceeds as a form of meditation focused on cherishing and truly experiencing the intricacies of a herbal tea decoction. The experiences at Atmantan are all doctor-prescribed and personalised, ranging from traditional Ayurveda and Naturopathy to oriental healing sciences and researched western protocols. “The many solutions offered include physiotherapy, rehabilitation, diagnostics, acupuncture, sleep sanctuary retreats, auto-immune reversal programs along with mental wellbeing retreats. Gut detoxes and Ayurveda are some of the most popular choices for guests,” informs Kapur. How to differentiate wellness offeringsA hybrid approach aids Atmantan, Kapur shares, “The key differentiator is our holistic yet medical approach where we look towards setting right the disease pathway, and rectifying a deep rooted condition, rather than superficially working on just a symptom, e.g. Most guests looking for weight loss at Atmantan realise that weight is an external manifestation of an internal imbalance and they then work towards setting this right from the inside out.” Seasoned guestsNo business can run in a vacuum. The demand for wellness travel by city-dwellers is a growing trend which is fuelled by the awareness and curiosity of seasoned travellers. “Thanks to accelerated awareness of health, we have guests coming to us across ages with detox and disease reversal being the most sought after retreats and conditions. Most of our guests are also extremely well-read and aware of the wellness we offer and thus choose to come to us looking for treatment of their chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments,” shares Kapur.Also Read: Homestays are emerging as the biggest trend in India

29 March,2023 09:34 AM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
Barsana is another place which you can add to your list of destinations to witness the grand celebrations of Holi. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Witness Holi celebrations in these different parts of India

In India, different festivals are celebrated in a variety of ways due to diverse cultural traditions and they are incomplete without food and arts and culture.  As all Holi enthusiasts have started their preparations for celebrating the festival, this year it will be observed on March 8. The festival begins on the evening of Purnima (full moon day) in the month of Falgun. Holi is also celebrated as a 'spring festival' in different parts of India. With one of the most vibrant festivals in India fast approaching, an atmosphere of excitement can be perceived all around. In mythology, the festival is celebrated as 'Holika Dahan' or 'Choti Holi' on the first evening, followed by a grand celebration on the next day. It is a day worth spending with your friends and family. On Holi, during the day, people celebrate with colours and in the evening, they show love, respect, and gratitude towards their close ones. The ritual for Holi involves lighting up a bonfire one day before Holi as it signifies the victory of 'good over evil'. People also consider this a 'goodbye' to winter days and a welcome to summer. Story behind the Holi festivalIn Hindu mythology, Holi is best known as the killing of 'Holika'. Mythology states that when Prahalad refused to accept the orders of his father Hiranyakashyapu and kept praying for Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu took the help of her sister, Holika to kill him. Holika took Prahalad in her lap and sat in a bonfire as she had immunity to fire. Even after that, she burned alive while Prahlad was unaffected. Hence, 'Holika Dahan' is celebrated a day before Holi. Here are some of the popular places where you can visit before or during the Holi festival MathuraMathura is very famous for Holi. People from all over the world visit Mathura to witness a grand celebration as the city is known to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. People have a lot of fun playing with flowers and colours during the festival here, which lasts for 9 days. There, Holi is celebrated with a lot of dry colours, water balloons, and water guns. You would be glad to be a part of the grand celebrations around the 'Banke Bihari Temple' in Mathura. BarsanaBarsana is another place which you can add to your list of destinations to witness the grand celebrations of Holi. The town of Barsana celebrates 'Lath Mar Holi', where women have a tradition of beating men with sticks while men protect themselves with shields. This can be quite interesting to witness. UdaipurHoli celebrations in Udaipur make the city look royal. People, including members of the royal family, wear traditional Rajasthani clothes and take turns around the bonfire. This signifies the triumph of 'good over evil'. There are traditional folk dances and folk songs followed by a lavish dinner and wonderful fireworks. There is no doubt that Udaipur is one of the most popular places to celebrate Holi in India. PunjabHoli in Punjab is very different from Holi in the entire country, which is celebrated by Sikhs in their own style. There, they call it 'Hola Mohalla'. Locals shout their hearts out as a tradition. On this day, they also show their martial arts, especially 'kushti', and celebrate with colours. Delicious halwas, puris, gujias, and malpuas are prepared and served to others. It is definitely one of the finest places to visit during Holi. Other placesIn West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as 'Dol Jatra' with singing and dancing. In South India, people worship the God of love, Kamadeva, on Holi. In Uttarakhand, Kumaoni Holi is celebrated with the singing of classical ragas. Meanwhile, in Bihar, people traditionally clean their houses and then attend the festival. Holi is a time when Indian households make special sweets such as thandai, gujiya, malpua, and dahi vada. Hence, sweets are a vital part of this festival. Holi MelasTraditionally, Holi melas are held in villages with a strong sense of cultural and traditional values. People from different parts of the country come here to celebrate this colourful festival. Each stall has its own theme to represent its state. A variety of Holi sweets like gujiya and malpuas are available at the stalls that attract maximum attention, especially from kids. So, if you want to experience the festive fervour of Holi in India then you must visit these places where a grand celebration can be witnessed. Also Read: Holi 2023: Tips on how to make your party an effortless hit This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

08 March,2023 09:36 AM IST | New Delhi | ANI
Representative Image.Photo/iStock

Goa is the preferred vacation spot for families

For Indian families looking to travel domestically, Goa is the most common search destination, while Dubai is the most popular international destination. Based on search data from digital travel platform Agoda, the states / cities of Goa, New Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Pondicherry, and Jaipur popped up as the top five national favourites, while Dubai, Singapore, the Maldives, Bali (Indonesia) and Phuket (Thailand) lead the search charts in the international segment.In addition to Dubai, the search data reveals that Southeast Asian countries are preferred by Indian families for their international holidays. These places are appealing because they have a tropical climate, stunning beaches, and a variety of lodgings and activities that make travelling with kids simpler.Although city stays are common when travelling domestically, each of the top locations has something special to offer that families can take advantage of. Goa is known for its vibrant beaches, New Delhi NCR and Mumbai are popular destinations for sight-seeing, Pondicherry is well-known for its serene aesthetics, and Jaipur provides a rich history and culture.The places mentioned above are in line with the findings of Agoda's Family Travel Trend Survey, which surveyed over 14,000 family travellers from 12 markets around the world. The survey found that the top three family attractions were seeing landmarks, relaxing on the shore, and having a good time at theme or amusement parks."Families are taking advantage of the school breaks to spend quality time on trips together. And Agoda's data shows that when travelling, Indians are choosing beach destinations for family travel abroad," said Krishna Rathi, Country Director Agoda India. "Planning vacations with large groups across different age groups and budgets can be a challenge. Which is why at Agoda, we have done our best to make the booking journey as seamless as possible with accommodations, flight, and activities all at the click of a button."There is no one style of lodging that works for all families travelling together. While some families prefer a hotel with kids' clubs, babysitting, or adjoining rooms for families, others search for villas that offer kitchens or additional living area to accommodate family groups. Also Read: Follow these five travel tips to become a responsible tourist

01 March,2023 06:06 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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