Read Travel News

Chef Gary Mehigan explores India's rich culture in new series about festivals

India is a country known for its opulent traditions, vibrant culture, and striking festivals! It embraces a tapestry of over a thousand festivals, creating a symphony of boundless joy and everlasting festivities throughout the year. To witness some of the grandest festivals of India, National Geographic India along with celebrity chefs Gary Mehigan and Pablo Naranjo Agular are all set to take viewers on a mesmerising journey through a brand-new series titled ‘India’s Mega Festivals’. The hosts will immerse themselves in the country’s rich heritage, and traditions and revel in flavours and fervour of the Indian festivals in the six-part series. Each 44-minute episode will feature a host unraveling unique celebrations: from the spirited Pulikali dance to serving a mega meal in the iconic Thrikkakara Temple during Onam; learning to play rhythmic beats on dhol to visiting mega pandals during Ganpati celebrations; pandal hopping to relishing Sandesh during Durga Puja and learning the war dance with the Sumi tribe to cooking with the famous Tetseo Sisters during the Hornbill Festival. Gary will also be seen experiencing the playfulness of Ras Leela, Lath-maar, and Phoolon ki Holi, and discovering the essence of fasting, feasting, giving, and forgiving on Eid-al-Fitr. “I was truly left speechless by the stunning display of devotion and the way it reflects the rich culture of India. National Geographic is a brand that has always inspired me through its unique, powerful, and thought-provoking style of storytelling. I am so happy that with National Geographic, I got an opportunity to explore, learn, and experience some of the country’s biggest festivals. With this show, not only did I witness diverse cultures & traditions, but also immersed myself in regional cuisines and cooking techniques. I hope that viewers will also enjoy the show as much as I did,” said Gary Mehigan.    “At National Geographic, we harness the power of storytelling and exploration to tell stories that can change the way we see the world while establishing a profound connection with our audiences. With India’s Mega Festivals, we are committed to bringing our viewers closer to the mesmerizing diversity of India's rich heritage and offering a compelling and unforgettable journey through its vibrant festivities. Moreover, Gary Mehigan, with his unique charm and humor, adds an extra layer of delight to the narrative, ensuring a riveting viewing experience for our audience,” said Gaurav Banerjee, Head - content, Disney+ Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, Disney Star. 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 September,2023 12:12 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Top 5 underrated honeymoon spots in India

Marriage is a life-changing moment, and a chapter so significant and intimate must begin on the perfect note. On August 19, the Ministry of Tourism in India launched a campaign to showcase India as a premier wedding destination for couples around the world. Here’s our follow-up guide of five underrated honeymoon spots in India that guarantee you and your beau a fabulous time to celebrate one another. Gokarna, KarnatakaThere is no better town than Gokarna to give you the perfect, slow break after a string of hectic wedding weeks. Laze around at the Om beach during the day and go exploring the enticing night life of Gokarna post sunset. Soak in the salty air and relaxing sounds of the waves hitting the shore. Celebrate your love with a candlelight dinner at a beach shack or take a walk, barefoot at the Paradise beach, hand in hand with your partner. Srinagar, Jammu & KashmirWhere do we even begin? The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir offers breathtaking views of the lakes, lush green gardens, and captivating architecture. Take a long walk through the Shalimar Bagh, built by Jahangir as a token of his love for his beloved wife, Nur Jahan. Or visit Asia’s largest tulip garden, Siraj Bagh which boasts of vibrant colours and varieties. End the trip with a romantic ride on wooden houseboats at dusk on the Dal Lake. Udaipur, RajasthanStudded with palaces, and adorned by lakes, Udaipur is a city that will leave you speechless with its beauty. The city of lakes hosts a number of grand heritage stays, from old hotels to newly renovated resorts. Each landmark here carries the rich culture and grandeur of the royal legacy. Boating at Lake Pichola, exploring the City Palace and relishing a date night at the Ambrai Ghat with your loved one are experiences you should not miss out on here. Port-blair, Andaman & NicobarThe fourth destination in our guide has been bagged by this tranquil getaway in the Andaman Islands. Well-connected by air and sea, Port Blair provides you with the utmost privacy and serenity. Luxurious resorts, scenic sunsets and magnificent beaches welcome you to this island. Plan ahead and check out off-beat destinations like the Barren Islands and make the most of your honeymoon, discovering the island with each other. Ooty, Tamil NaduNestled in the lap of the Western Ghats, Ooty is a warm and cosy town, perfect for your honeymoon. Visit the many gorgeous waterfalls Ooty has, starting from the surreal Pykara Lake and ending at the Avalanche falls. Book a comfortable resort near tea plantations and make sure to walk through the abundance of the green shrubs. With its romantic falls, calm lakes, and old-school charm that only Ooty offers, you are sure to fall in love with this little hill station. With all these destinations awaiting you, don’t wait any longer. Book luxurious, comfortable stays and enjoy making memories of a lifetime.  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 September,2023 08:33 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Bookmark these 5 breathtaking resorts for a long weekend escape

The much-awaited festive season is fast approaching, and so are a host of long weekends over the upcoming months of September, October, and November. These long weekends also bring the treasured moments to indulge in some travel therapy to explore some exotic destinations. Here are the top five resorts that you may bookmark for that rejuvenating long weekend escape. While being easily accessible and close to home, they are luxurious, private, and peaceful; allowing you to explore the best nature has to offer. Nature immersive holidays at Nirjhara, Bali Sustainable boutique retreat Nirjhara, in Tabanan on Bali’s southwest coast is artfully designed around the spectacular cascading waterfall after which it is named. Surrounded by lush forests and boundless rice fields, Nirjhara blends seamlessly into nature. The property promises to offer guests a secluded and environmentally conscious haven, just a stone’s throw from the island’s volcanic sand beaches, must-see Tanah Lot Temple, and the popular towns of Canggu and Ubud. The resort is conveniently located in Tabanan, Bali’s agricultural heart, and serves as the ideal gateway to discover the island’s most stunning natural wonders, from the scenic Jatiluwih rice terraces to the province’s impressive waterfalls. Nirjhara offers an array of bespoke experiences for guests to immerse themselves in the local culture and natural surroundings, from bicycle tours through the rice fields to traditional cleansing rituals at a secluded holy spring. Guests can head to nearby Kedungu beach for early morning surf lessons or saddle up for sunset horse rides, peacefully exploring the picturesque paddies and black-sand beaches. Expert local guides will take guests on off-the-beaten-track explorations through the hills of Tabanan and Badung, starting at the sacred Sangeh Monkey Forest and ending at the majestic Nungnung Waterfall. A Wellness Experience at Chiva-Som The coming months are also just the ideal time for some rejuvenation and detox holidays before the year's end. For an enriching wellness getaway, look no further than Chiva-Som located at Hua-Hin in Thailand. For 28 years, the award-winning Chiva-Som has pioneered transformative wellness practices to global acclaim. Its commitment to an innovative, holistic approach that expertly balances mind, body, and spirit continues to this day. Optimal, bespoke wellness lies at the heart of each Chiva-Som experience. With its unique synergy of indigenous traditions and evidence-based wellness, Chiva-Som partners with guests on highly personalised wellness journeys focused on complete lifestyle transformation. Each of its retreats addresses all facets of the mind and body. Perfect for a long weekend vacation, Chiva-Som offers a 3-night retreat A Taste of Chiva-Som. This retreat is perfect for those experiencing Chiva-Som for the first time or who aren’t sure what to choose. Upon arrival, your Health and Wellness Advisor will guide you through the resort’s menu of treatments and activities to map out your journey based on your objectives. Whether it’s pure relaxation or a lifestyle transformation, the team ensures that your entire experience is truly fulfilling. In addition, on each day of your retreat, you can select a treatment of your choice from the daily menu. Discover your secret sanctuary at Pimalai Resort & Spa Pimalai’s 900-meter beachfront and 100 acres of paradise have always been the perfect place to retreat and reconnect with nature amidst lush tropical forests and the endless Andaman waters. This award-winning property cascades through tropical jungles easing its way towards one of Thailand’s best beaches: Kantiang Bay. It’s here that families while the days away amidst lush tropical forests and the endless Andaman waters lounging on what often feels like a private beach or spending action-packed afternoons out in the cerulean sea scuba diving, snorkelling or simply enjoying a sunset cruise together. Experience-seekers can enjoy offshore excursions, mangrove tours in a gondola boat, jungle treks, and relaxing walks through the heritage-rich old town. Culinary enthusiasts can participate in Pimalai’s Thai cooking class where you can learn a few famous Thai recipes under the guidance of one of the resort’s Thai chefs. Prior to the actual cooking, the chef will take you on a tour of the resort’s organic garden for an introduction and a better understanding of the herbs, spices, and vegetables that you will be using during the practical part of the cooking lesson. Familiarise yourself with ingredients such as lemongrass, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime, Thai sweet basil, etc. A delightful experience of cooking at Pimalai’s Seven Seas restaurant overlooking Kantiang Bay awaits you. A private hideaway at Samujana Located in the beautiful Koh Samui, one of the most enchanting islands in Asia with an outstanding display of wildlife, including turtles and dolphins, as well as all of the culture that Thailand has to offer, Samujana offers one of the most exclusive and luxurious getaways in this part of the world. Providing an unparalleled experience with its motto being, “Your Place. Your Time”, each villa at Samujana comes automatically with its private Villa Manager and villa maid, state-of-the art leisure facilities, and the latest in audio and media amenities. Your private villa is your HOME away from home and if you really fancy having your own private chefs, you need just to ask and the team will take care of the rest. Samujana boasts unprecedented magnificence in architecture, with spectacular sea views and a high level of personalised service. It is perched perfectly on a hillside overlooking a coral cove, with beach access and all villas offer the best views in Samui. With 23 charming villas from 1 to 8 bedrooms, all with oversized private infinity pools, modern Thai architecture, and breath-taking views, services, and details that make the world different, Samujana is the perfect place for friends and family to gather and have a great time with no interruption from the outside world. While at Samujana, your private villa is also the ideal location to focus on your well-being. Wellness retreats and experiences with the top therapists and experts in Koh Samui create unique opportunities for each guest. Tropical vibes at Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort If an exotic beach holiday with stunning views and lavish amenities is on your mind, head to Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort. Located on the southern tip of Phu Quoc Island, Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort is a hidden tropical retreat. Uniquely embraced on both sides by the sea, the resort boasts two pristine beaches and stunning ocean views from dawn until dusk. With 215 villas strategically positioned at different heights along the peninsula, each of the room categories is a haven of comfort, privacy, and relaxation. Varying in location and size, the villas are ensconced in nature with an equally stunning yet unique view. Each villa comes equipped with a private infinity pool, bedroom(s), large, luxurious living rooms, a dining room, and a kitchenette. Indulge in several experiences on offer at the resort including kayaking, snorkelling, mixology class and kickboxing class, mindfulness sunset, and barbeque dinner in-villa. Nourish your mind and body at the Plumeria Spa, the best hilltop spa in Phu Quoc. Let the caring spa professionals help you relax and rejuvenate, unwind and rebalance. With 10 impeccable treatment rooms and several services, including a couple’s room, VIP treatment room, reflexology, and hair care facilities, Plumeria Spa has everything needed to recalibrate the body, mind, and spirit. 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 September,2023 08:37 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Fans book hospital beds as hotel tariffs reach new heights ahead of India-Pakistan clash in Ahmedabad. Image Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium World Cup 2023: Cricket fans secure hospital beds amid surging hotel prices

A monumental "Clash of Titans" is on the horizon in India. The highly anticipated World Cup 2023 match between India and Pakistan is set to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 15. Ever since the match date was announced, the hospitality and related sectors have dived into a frenzy. As the demand for accommodations in the host cities surged, an exponential increase in hotel prices followed suit. The pan-India hotel chain – Lemon Tree which usually fares around Rs 10,000/day for a room is priced at a whopping Rs 86,831 in Ahmedabad around the match dates October 14-15. What is the rationale behind this, we inquire? Findings from a recent study by the online travel agency Agoda revealed a colossal 1702 per cent increase in searches for accommodations in Ahmedabad. World Cup 2023 mania: Hotels vs. Hospital beds The survey attributed this surge to the eagerly awaited India vs. Pakistan match and the final game, both scheduled to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. In response to the overwhelming demand for hotel bookings in Ahmedabad, hotel owners took the opportunity to substantially spike their prices. They spiked the hotel room tariffs by 10-12 per cent. But, fans have their own quirks.  In a bizarre series of events, local hospitals parallelly witnessed an enormous rise in inquiries for a day’s stay at their healthcare centers. To counter the savage move by hotels, some cricket fans went to the extent of booking hospital beds for a full-body check-up. “This is a far better deal than staying in hotels that either run out of rooms or are insanely inflated,” said Raunak Ritesh, a 26-year-old cricket fan from Hisar, Haryana who is all set to witness the showdown. Speaking to, Dr Shailesh Dalmia – a consulting ENT specialist from Ahmedabad informs that people are turning to hospitals for a unique solution to high hotel prices. They're booking hospital beds for an overnight stay and a complete health check-up. This way, they save money on accommodation and also get their health investigated. “These individuals are willing to take different types of rooms, based on what's available. However, our priority is patient’s health care and we are being careful about these bookings due to limited room availability,” added Dalmia. Additionally, unlike hotels, where room rates can vary based on factors like weekends or festivals, hospital rates remain consistent regardless of the time of the month or the occasion – making it a more lucrative option for this peculiar situation.  Houseful hotels despite skyrocketing prices The carnage doesn’t end here. Upon deeper investigation, it came to light that all the hotel rooms, priced between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh, stand booked at the moment. While some fans are willing to pay extremely high prices, a number of hotels are completely sold out for the India vs. Pakistan weekend. Renowned 5-star establishments like Hyatt, NOVOTEL, Taj Skyline, ITC Narmada and Courtyard by Marriott in Ahmedabad have already reached maximum occupancy for October 14 and 15.  While Indians are die-hard cricket fans, the surge in hotel prices can also be owed to NRI fans who have their eyes set on the marquee match. Countries such as the U.K., U.S.A., Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia are at the forefront of the search charts for travel to other host cities like Dharamshala, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Pune during the match dates.  Consequently, this sporting event has led to a substantial 237 per cent increase in searches for various host cities all across India. To delve deeper into the impact of the World Cup 2023 edition on the hospitality sector, we spoke to Mr Abhishek Sahai who is the General Manager at the Hilton hotel chain – Conrad Pune. The impact of sports tourism on Indian hospitality  Are you seeing high traction for bookings for the ICC World Cup 2023? What's the occupancy you expect during the cricket World Cup in your properties?  The schedule has just recently been announced for the ICC World Cup 2023 matches. We have started receiving inquiries and requests for group bookings from various sources. Considering the popularity of the World Cup and the anticipation surrounding the event, we do expect the city's overall occupancy to be high during the tournament. As the tournament draws nearer and teams are confirmed, we anticipate a surge in bookings and interest from cricket enthusiasts and fans. We are fully prepared to accommodate the influx of guests and provide them with a comfortable stay. For which match dates are you seeing the highest traction in terms of hotel bookings? And what are the room charges during the World Cup schedule?  These are early days but it is safe to assume that maximum traffic would be there for Team India matches. All the matches scheduled in Pune are exciting and true cricket fans would like to enjoy all the live action. We are closely monitoring the demand and will make efforts to maximise occupancy during the tournament. Currently, our rates remain in line with our normal Best Available Rate (BAR) available which ranges between Rs 13,000 – 15,000 for a day's stay.  How important will be the Cricket World Cup for hotels this year in terms of business and occupancy? What will it mean for the hotel industry revenues?  Anticipating the World Cup to significantly drive demand, we expect the event to serve as a crucial catalyst for the city's hotels. Particularly, matches like Bangladesh vs. India, South Africa vs. New Zealand, and West Indies vs. England are expected to generate substantial interest and contribute to the much-needed boost in demand for city hotels. How much do sports-related tournaments contribute to business and bookings for your properties? Any increase in business contribution from sporting tournaments you have seen now versus the pre-COVID period? Sporting tournaments provide tremendous boost and growth opportunities to hospitality and related sectors. These events have the power to ignite a surge in bookings and business, propelling the hotel industry to new heights of success. We are gearing up for the influx of tourists and fans around the World Cup dates as occupancy rates soar. The demand for top-notch amenities and services skyrockets, allowing the hotels to showcase their exceptional offerings. With group bookings pouring in, hotels need to up their game to offer a welcoming sanctuary for teams, officials, and supporters alike. As the world triumphs over the challenges of the pandemic, sporting tournaments return with renewed vigour. This presents a golden opportunity for the hospitality sector to revive its losses incurred during the 3-year hiatus imposed by the pandemic. The vibrant spirit of sports is set to fuel the growth of hotels, accelerating it towards a prosperous journey.  Apart from cricket, are events of other sports attracting strong demand for hotel bookings? Could you share which are these sporting events?  In addition to cricket, other sporting events such as the ISL (Indian Super League) and Pro-Kabaddi League also generate a noticeable level of interest in the city. While our hotel has been hosting sports teams for several years now, it is evident that cricket remains the dominant sport with the most significant impact.  Are you seeing bookings by international travellers who plan to come to India to witness the World Cup? Certainly. The interest from international travellers is massive. Our guests from other parts of the world are making booking arrangements to travel all over India to watch their favourite teams and players in action. We have room requests popping up from cities in the U.S.A., Malaysia and the Middle East. India, known for its warm hospitality is set to welcome cricket fans from abroad.  

30 August,2023 01:06 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Paw-sitively perfect pet-friendly accommodations

If you are dreaming about sandy beaches or the scenic mountains, it is time to pack your bags and seek some travel inspiration. Make unforgettable memories with your four-legged companion  that will make their tails wag and your heart soar with this list of pet-friendly accommodations that cater not only to the wanderlust in you but also to the needs and desires of our beloved pet. If you are looking for dog-friendly accommodations for your next holiday, simply select the ‘pets allowed’ filter on the website or app and pick the perfect stay from the filtered results. For a VIP treatment for you & your pet! - Coorg Escape from your daily routine and explore Kodagu, also known as "The Scotland of India," where you and your furry friend can enjoy the fresh mountain air and wide-open spaces. The luxurious Birchwood Retreat in Madikeri is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a variety of recreational activities for both you and your furry pet to enjoy. Situated on a coffee estate, the retreat provides an opportunity to witness an array of birdlife and small mammals, including a friendly pack of four indie dogs who would be more than happy to bond with your furry companion while sharing a room with you. Additionally, the retreat offers customised meals for your dogs, and the coffee estate is ideal for long walks, both on and off the leash. For beachy clicks and sands in paws! - Goa Tucked away in a beautiful setting, Whiteflower Cottages in Vagator provide a perfect mix of traditional appeal and contemporary conveniences, making it an ideal escape for those seeking a peaceful and genuine Goan getaway. This extraordinary, pet-friendly sanctuary not only welcomes dogs but also honours them. With exclusive amenities for canines, vast play zones, spacious outdoors, and a calming beach-like ambience, it is a paradise where both four-legged friends and their humans can have an unforgettable vacation together. For that cosy yet nature-friendly pawfect vacation! - Munnar Pleasant Hill Resort is renowned for its stunning setting amidst verdant tea plantations and misty hills. It is a peaceful retreat that warmly welcomes your furry four-legged friends. With breathtaking views, exceptional service, and a harmonious blend of comfortable accommodations, it is an ideal destination for a tranquil escape in the heart of Kerala's picturesque landscape. The resort offers a range of amenities designed for your dogs' enjoyment, including spacious play areas, grooming facilities, and customised menus. Your vacation in Munnar promises to be a delightful experience for both you and your furry companion. For that historic yet chasing-the-tail trip – Jaipur Devi Ratn-IHCL SeleQtions in Jaipur stands out for its remarkable fusion of contemporary luxury and traditional Rajasthan heritage. Situated amid the rugged Aravalli hills, the hotel offers a truly immersive experience with its avant-garde design, opulent accommodations, and rejuvenating wellness spa, making it a distinctive gem in Jaipur’s hospitality landscape. With a dedicated “Canine Butlers'' programme, the hotel provides exclusive amenities, services and experiences tailored for dogs ensuring an unforgettable getaway for pet owners. For a picturesque yet snowy-capped winter wonderland! - Manali If you are seeking a luxurious getaway that seamlessly combines natural beauty with comfort, Woods Villa in Manali is the perfect destination. The mountainside cottages offer a stunning panoramic view and are equipped with top-notch amenities. What’s Even better, the cottages are pet-friendly, allowing you to bring your furry friends along for a truly inclusive vacation experience. Enjoy the breathtaking surroundings and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones, both human and animal. 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

27 August,2023 10:54 AM IST | Washington | ANI
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.if you want to travel in dubai use Bus rental dubai 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

04 August,2023 10:33 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

International Temples Convention and Expo to be held in Varanasi from July 22-24

The International Temples Convention and Expo (ITCX) will be held at the Rudraksh Convention Centre in Varanasi, from July 22 to 24, 2023. Developed by Temple Connect (India), it is the world’s first event solely dedicated to the management of temples across the globe and will focus on nurturing and empowering the administration, management and operations of temple ecosystems. For Bus rental dubai Conceptualised by Giresh Kulkarni, founder of Temple Connect (a leading platform dedicated to the documentation, digitalisation and distribution of information related to temples of Indian origin), along with Prasad Lad (chairman, International Temples Convention & Expo 2023 and Member Of Maharashtra Legislative Council), and Show Director & Co-Curator Meghaa Ghosh - this three-day event carves a space for free-flowing exchange of ideas, learning and invaluable insight among like-minded dignitaries who are at the helm of temple management, in order to establish, enable and promote best practices for temple management teams worldwide. That the convention adds value to temple tourism and pilgrimage ecosystem - it is aptly supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, under the “Incredible India” initiative.  ITCX aims to birth and nurture an ecosystem for networking, knowledge sharing and peer learning that will pan out through expert seminars, workshops and master classes on various topics. These include temple safety, security and surveillance, fund management, disaster management, sanitisation, and hygiene as well as optimal use of new-age technology like artificial intelligence (AI) for protection against cyber-attacks and social media management to foster a strong and connected temple community. The event will also touch upon subjects like crowd and queue management, solid waste management, and infrastructure enhancement under the umbrella of pilgrim experience.  The event is by invitation only and designed for temples and temple trusts of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism in its first season. Representatives from Jain Dharamshalas, leading Devotional Charities, Associations in the Hindu Temples of the United Kingdom, ISKCON Temples, Anna Kshetra Managements, Purohit Mahasangha of various pilgrim locations, and Pilgrimage Promotion Boards will participate in this meet.  Additionally, the convention serves as a platform to learn about diverse cultures, traditions, and arts and crafts of temples from around the world while also celebrating India’s rich temple heritage.  Highlights of the 3-day sessions:Dr Mohan Bhagwat (Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) will inaugurate the convention. Prominent attendees at the event will include temple trustees, members of temple boards and trusts, along with visionaries, such as the Prince of Travancore (Padmanabhaswamy Temple), Rohan A Khaunte (Minister for Tourism, Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, and Printing & Stationery, Goa), Dharma Reddy (Executive Officer - Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams), amongst many others. To create a holistic impact, the sessions are tailored to include tried-and-tested as well as new-age practices to streamline sustainable temple management and development. Key conversations around green energy, archaeological architecture, langar (community kitchen) management, illuminations of lights for temples, etc will also be addressed. The line-up includes Tirupathi Balaji Temple experts who will share knowledge on their flawless queue management system and charity/social organisations that clean and maintain ghats in Varanasi. The founder of the convention, Giresh Kulkarni, will also lead a session on temple economics and its expanded role in tourism that can boost the local economy and promote a destination by providing pilgrims with a memorable experience. Other talks and sessions on relevant topics will be held by delegates of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Mahakaal Jyotirling, Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Patna Saheb Gurudwara, Chidambaram Temple and Virupaksha Temple Hampi.  The event is also supported by the Antodaya Pratishthan that largely works in the space of CSR in the space of sustainability, hygiene, health and community service in a large way in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. Service and Product BoothsITCX has curated a list of handpicked innovative products and services that offer solutions involving the improvement of systems and SOPs for better temple management and invited them to display their offerings for attendees to explore. These include fintech and transaction management/monetisation tools, screening virtual interactive maps, health ATMs at temple premises, social media and web technologies to help temples maintain their online engagement and chemical and cleaning products for temple housekeeping. Some names include VAMA, HDFC Bank, Meta Social, Diversey Chemicals, Yono Meta, Unity IE World, Vedic Bhawan Rigvedalaya, The Indian Puja Company, Krystal Integrated Services and Volksara Techno Solutions amongst others. Giresh Kulkarni, founder of Temple Connect and ITCX mentioned, “On the forefront of the duty of devotion, Temple Connect is committed to uplifting the experience of a devotee in a place of worship. For a holy ground that attracts people through faith, it is imperative that it functions smoothly. Benches at every interval for resting in a queue, access to drinking water and an organised flow that takes care of the devotees' experience from the moment they enter the premise is critical. At the International Temples Convention & Expo, we aim to gather on-ground temple soldiers on one stage to open knowledge portals to get inspired and organically elevate and set the standard operating system in a temple.” Prasad Lad, chairman of International Temples Convention & Expo 2023, Member of the Legislative Council, & The Chairman of the Legislative Council Rights Violation Committee, Government of Maharashtra, added, “The ITCX is a profound effort towards strengthening and empowering the temple ecosystem, which is one of the oldest ecosystems. The convention, in its very first edition, is indeed a first-of-its-kind to be held on such a scale and gravity. It will provide a much-needed space for information percolation, where various temple management can come together under one roof, learn from one another, network with experts and create synergies which will positively impact sustainable temple development.” Meghaa Ghosh, show director and co-curator, says, “We have found ourselves in a time where taking initiative matters. No one has attempted to create a forum for temple management, but there is always a first. The convention brings to the fore a sense of national pride in our rich Temple heritage. And it is time to safeguard and support it with new-age technology. We are beginning with four faiths with similar roots. We would love to see more faiths join the movement in the coming years.”   The convention will also be streamed online through the Temple Connect website and Facebook Live for registered viewers.

04 August,2023 10:29 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representative Image.Pic/iStock

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

04 August,2023 10:26 PM IST | New Delhi
Located in downtown Denver, a short walk from Ball Arena, The Crawford Hotel at Union Station is right above the iconic Denver Union Station. Photo Courtesy: istock

Parents Day 2023: Seven scenic railway stays you can enjoy with your parents

A very large part of our childhood involved travelling by train and passing the many beautiful sceneries along the way. The fact that our parents took us on these journeys always made the next time even more exciting for each and every one of us. The scenic routes, meals, munchies during the journey, and conversations with fellow passengers made the journey even better. It gave us the opportunity to spend time with one another as a family and embrace the value of slow travel. Ahead of Parents Day which is annually celebrated on July 24, presents six global railway stays to resurrect the magic and help inspire travellers looking for a nostalgic trip with their parents. Parents are sure to love railway-themed stays, considering staying in a converted train carriage or a former train station is a dream come true for train buffs like parents. Research by the travel platform reveals that 66 per cent of Indian travellers are planning to pick a destination to travel to based on whether or not they have unique accommodation options. From authentically-converted Pullman railway carriages that capture the nostalgic glamour of rail travel to a train that stays permanently stationed on a historic bridge high above a national park, there is something for train buffs. Chanakya BNR Hotel, Odisha, IndiaChanakya BNR Hotel is an idyllic getaway, located just 200 meters from Puri's pristine coastline. Staying at Odisha's only heritage hotel is like going back in time and witnessing India's magnificent railway legacy. This hotel is a small piece of heaven, with all 37 sea-facing rooms featuring customised artwork from the wonderful Indian Railways. The timeless grace of old-world charm with all the modern luxuries offered by Chanakya BNR is something to be cherished and appreciated. Without a doubt, this hotel offers a stay that is warm yet memorable. The Old Railway Station, Petworth, United KingdomFeaturing authentically-converted Pullman railway carriages, this unique bed and breakfast is a former Petworth Railway Station, built in 1892, in the South Downs National Park. Guests arrive at the restored wooden station building, which was built in the Victorian times, and will spend the night in a historic train carriage, which is now modernly designed from the inside. If the weather is good, guests can start their day with a delicious breakfast on the station platform, before visiting the beautiful market town of Petworth or enjoy a 20-minute drive through the British countryside to discover the nearby Amberley Castle, a 900-year-old West Sussex castle within medieval walls. Kruger Shalati - The Train on The Bridge, Skukuza, South AfricaPermanently stationed on the historic Selati Bridge, high above the Sabie River in South Africa's iconic Kruger National Park, this stunning train has been transformed to a unique lodge with glass-walled train rooms and marvelous Instagrammable pool overlooking the park's crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes and elephants. Offering the same experience travellers had about 100 years ago when their train would park overnight in the exact spot, this unforgettable stay is a must-do experience for everyone. The Crawford Hotel at Union Station, Colorado, United StatesLocated in downtown Denver, a short walk from Ball Arena, The Crawford Hotel at Union Station is right above the iconic Denver Union Station. The landmark station opened in 1881 and has been restored to be the heart and soul of downtown Denver. Guests can enter the hotel through the once again bustling railway station and spend the night at the vibrant transit hub. Each of the hotel rooms tells a different story, with some rooms recreating the romance of train travel, while others hosting beautiful "Colorado-curated" collections of art and artifacts. Hapuku Carriages Kaikoura, Kaikoura, New ZealandJust a short walk from the beach, Hapuku Carriages Kaikoura offers a unique overnight experience in a restored railway carriage. Built in 1921, the carriage was situated on a farm in Waiau for many years and carefully restored into this cozy place to stay, which now also has a Travel Sustainable badge for the measures taken to offer its guests a more sustainable stay. Guests can relax at the outdoor bathtub overlooking the mountains and the kiwi blue sky while listening to the sounds of nearby trains passing by and the ocean lapping at the nearby shore. Station Amstelveen, Amstelveen, NetherlandsSituated in the town of Amstelveen, just a short drive from the city center of Amsterdam, this charming bed and breakfast is a former historic train station from 1915. Featuring rustic, cozy, and comfortable rooms, this Travel Sustainable property managed to keep the original train station feeling. The property is facing the old rail tracks, and its beautiful gift shop used to be the station's ticket office. The iconic red brick, three-story station is close to little shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as to the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest), Amsterdam's largest park and recreational area. If the weather is nice, travellers can bike to the vibrant city of Amsterdam to visit its world-famous museums and enjoy a variety of activities like a canal cruise or cheese tasting. Alojamiento Vagon Rural, Murcia, SpainSet in Murcia, near the Roman Bridge and the Murcia Bullring, Alojamiento Vagon Rural offers a unique stay in a historic train carriage from the 1950s, which has now been transformed into a vintage-style apartment. This wagon apartment is located next to other wagons, forming a large terrace like a train station, in a very quiet residential green area. Guests can swim in the outdoor swimming pool, or relax in the garden and use the barbecue facilities.. The property is situated in an area where guests can engage in fun outdoor activities such as windsurfing, cycling, and fishing. Visitors to Murcia should also consider a private walking tour to see its famous landmarks and hear remarkable facts and stories about the city from a local guide.Also Read: Here's why you need to visit the Gurez Valley in Kashmir 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

22 July,2023 09:45 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Head to these 5 monsoon getaways closer to Mumbai

In Mumbai, the monsoon season increases our urge to go away from the busy metropolis and enjoy the natural beauty. Fortunately, there are a number of magical retreats in Mumbai that provide the ideal refuge during this rainy season. These locations, which range from charming hill villages to peaceful seaside communities, provide a relaxing getaway and the chance to see nature's splendour in full bloom. Grab your umbrellas and get ready to discover five monsoon getaways near Mumbai that will enthral you and leave you feeling refreshed. Matheran: A Hill Station Wonderland Escape the chaos of Mumbai and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Matheran this monsoon season. Just a short distance away from the city, Matheran offers a breathtaking experience with its lush greenery, misty valleys, and charming waterfalls. Take a leisurely stroll or go horseback riding along the mesmerizing viewpoints and let the monsoon rains create a magical ambiance. Don't forget to enjoy the toy train ride and indulge in delicious local snacks. Foothills of Matheran: Neral The place where Mumbaikars can truly experience the best of wildlife and nature, less than 2 hours from the city center, is known as the Foothills of Matheran. This green corridor is nestled between two major Eco-protected zones of Maharashtra - Matheran on one side &Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary on the other. The landscapes of this region are filled with perennial rivers and streams, densely forested plateaus, and evergreen hillslopes. Embark on a trek to the Garbett Plateau, which connects Neral to Matheran, and be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the surrounding valleys. Explore the mystical Sagargad Fort, tucked away in the dense forests, and immerse yourself in its historical significance. Neral is a perfect choice for those seeking offbeat experiences and a closer connection with nature. Lonavala and Khandala: Twin Delights No list of monsoon getaways near Mumbai is complete without mentioning the ever-popular Lonavala and Khandala. These hill stations are a paradise for nature lovers, especially during the rainy season. Witness the beauty of the famous Bhushi Dam, surrounded by lush greenery and overflowing streams. Explore the mesmerizing Rajmachi Point and Tiger's Leap, where you can soak in the panoramic views of the Sahyadri Mountains. Don't miss out on savoring hot masala chai and freshly roasted corn while enjoying the misty atmosphere. Bhandardara: Serenity Amidst Nature's Abundance If you seek tranquility and serenity during the monsoon, Bhandardara is the perfect getaway for you. Nestled amidst the Sahyadri Range, this picturesque destination offers stunning lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush green landscapes. Visit the enchanting Randha Falls, explore the Wilson Dam, and take a boat ride on the pristine Arthur Lake. Embark on a trek to the majestic Mount Kalsubai, the highest peak in Maharashtra, and witness the ethereal beauty of the region. Alibaug: Coastal Charms Experience the monsoon magic at Alibaug, a coastal town near Mumbai. This destination offers a unique blend of pristine beaches, historic forts, and lush greenery. Take a leisurely walk along the scenic Alibaug Beach, indulge in water sports, or simply relax and enjoy the sound of the crashing waves. Visit the historic Kolaba Fort, explore the ancient temples, and treat yourself to delicious seafood at the local shacks. Alibaug is a perfect monsoon retreat for beach lovers and history enthusiasts alike. These five monsoon retreats near Mumbai provide a welcome respite from the bustle of the metropolis. Each place has its own distinct attraction, from the foggy vistas of Matheran to the coastline allure of Alibaug and the hidden jewel of Neral. So prepare for the monsoon by packing your luggage, donning your rain gear, and going on a trip to discover the natural beauty around Mumbai. Prepare to make enduring memories amidst the beautiful beauty of these retreats that have been touched by the rain. 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

15 July,2023 09:18 AM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

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
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK