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Posted on: Wednesday , Apr 29, 2009 At 23:04 PM

Lifetime Achievement Award For Tigers!

Have you ever heard of tigers being awarded? Travel Operators for Tigers(TOFT) has done just that recently by honouring two tigers with lifetime achievement awards. Of course, the tigers themselves were not there to receive the awards, and it was all symbolic. But the tigers were acknowledged for their contribution to tourism revenues in Ranthambhore National Park.

The two award winning tigers - Machhali and Sundar - together are estimated to have helped tour operators earn aggregate revenue of several million dollars. 

It is not just monetary contribution. The two tigers have also helped considerably in keeping the population of the park stead. DNA News says - "Machhali and Sunder are symbols of hope for tigers, whose population has been dwindling steadily in the country, primarily due to poaching. While Machhali, a dominant resident of Rajasthan's Ranthambore tourism zone since 1997, has brought up 11 cubs, Sundar has sired more than 35 tigers in the Tala tourism range in Madhya Pradesh. Two of Machhali's cubs are now in the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan."

Read more about the award winning tigers:


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Posted on: Wednesday , Apr 29, 2009 At 22:48 PM

Travel Alert: Thrissur Pooram

One of the most well known festivals in Kerala - Thrissur Pooram falls on the 3rd of May this year.

Pooram is known for its parade of elaborately decorated elephants and generous use of firecrackers through the festivities. However, an accident in earlier festival has resulted in limiting the use of firecrackers in the recent years.

Kerala Tourism website says: "The festival highlights include, among other things, a spectacular pageant of 30 caparisoned elephants and Kudamattom, a competition in the swift rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols. Chendamelam and Panchavadyam performances by magicians of music provide a supremely apt accompaniment to the visual treats. Dazzling fireworks light up the sky to provide a grand finale to two days of classic entertainment."

Read more -

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Posted on: Wednesday , Apr 29, 2009 At 15:45 PM

Rohtang Pass May Open Soon

According to Border Road Organization, snow clearing work is in good progress in Rohtang Pass, and the road across the pass may open soon. Although BRO had initially expected to have the pass open for traffic by mid-April, late season snowfall delayed the progress of work.

Rohtang is the gateway to Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti regions and tourists can start travelling to these area by road once the pass is opened to traffic. Rohtang was officially opened to traffic only by mid-May last year. With the polls scheduled in Lahaul region only on the May 13th, it will also help officials carry out polling with ease.

See complete report:

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Posted on: Sunday , Apr 26, 2009 At 12:16 PM

Airfare Hikes And Other Aviation News

As the summer season is on its way when kids get break from schools and a lot of people travel around the country, it appears like a round of hike in airfares is on its way. Kingfisher Airlines has quietly increased fares earlier this month, and SpiceJet seems to be ready to follow. The hike is fueled by increase in ATF prices in recent days.

Kingfisher has increased fuel surcharge on air tickets by Rs.200 to Rs.300. Their ally Jet Airways has declared similar moves, while SpiceJet is planning a hike in the coming days.

Expect to pay more for your air ticket in the coming days.



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Posted on: Sunday , Apr 26, 2009 At 12:05 PM

Yhai Himalayan Expeditions

The Youth Hostels Association of India(YHAI) organizes annual trekking and adventure expeditions every summer in various regions of the Himalayas. This year's summer expeditions have just begun, and bookings are open for six programs. YHAI expeditions are offered at very low budgets compared to private trekking companies that organize treks on the same routes. It is an ideal way for students and people travelling in low budgets to traverse sections of Himalayas on foot.

One of their well known expeditions to Sar Pass in Himachal Pradesh begins from next week. Batches will be leaving almost every day starting from April 28th till end of May.

To know more on the treks offered by YHAI and to book online, visit their website -'bookings

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Posted on: Sunday , Apr 19, 2009 At 17:33 PM

Colours Of The Market

It is amazing how much we can discover and observe even in a place we are familiar with. I was at KR Market - Bangalore's busiest market area, and was pleased to spend some time watching flowers getting sold briskly. Here are some images.

Awaiting customers.

For sale..

Splash of colours

No way you can have them for so less!

And at the end, this is what was left.

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Posted on: Sunday , Apr 19, 2009 At 13:22 PM

Google Maps Adds Driving Directions

Finally, after many years since the Google Maps data was available in India, Google has added feature to get driving directions.

The feature works fairly well, and lets you find directions even to smaller and less known places. A search from Bangalore to the small village of Talkad worked perfectly well. But it doesn't appear to be a very reliable option when it comes to finding directions within a city. The direction finder doesn't seem to take into account parameters such as one-ways. It also failed to distinguish main roads from smaller roads in some occasion when I tested for places in Bangalore.

Surprisingly, the launch has been a silent one, and Google has not even mentioned it in their official Google India Blog.

To get your directions, go to and click on 'Get Directions' link.

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Posted on: Thursday , Apr 16, 2009 At 11:26 AM

No Alcohol In Goa!!

Summer is not exactly a pleasant season to be in Goa, but lot of people do go anyway. There is a bad news. For those who are planning a Goa trip primarily to stay drunk and do little else through the day, there is another deterrent - elections!

A tussle between election commission and booze retailers has led to retailers deciding to shut shop till the elections in Goa are over. EC wants a control on liquor flow, and has ordered all liquor shops to keep a registry of sales up-to-date by the hour. But retailers don't think it is feasible to do it, considering the large volumes of outflow they normally witness.

So until one of the parties buckles or the elections are over, spirits are going to be down in the beach-state.

See more details at

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Posted on: Thursday , Apr 16, 2009 At 08:39 AM

Violence In Sikkim

A not so unusual incidence in rest of India, it still bothers me to know that a bunch of tourists were attacked by a convoy of a political party in Sikkim ( ).

Five years back when I was Sikkim, I found it to be a friendly place where people smiled and laughed and took it easy with strangers. Tourism was just opening up and people were finding plenty of employment in being a tour-guide, operator or driver. Life was looking good, and at the same time Sikkim was getting exposed to rest of India.

One of those days, on our way to Yumthang Valley, my jeep driver commented that there was a murder somewhere in Sikkim. "It never used to happen in Sikkim," he told me with a voice of concern. He was probably not talking just about the incident, but about the general mood of change in the mountain state.

Constant exposure to rest of India, influx of people into the region in the form of new industrial setups, educational institutions, tourism and national political parties are probably changing this once quiet region high in the Himalayas slowly. Although I have not heard much of it, there is a good possibility that hoards of backpackers who come here aid proliferation of drugs. Vicinity to Bihar, and a considerable number of people immigrating from the plains would have increased the aggression level of people, resulting in incidences like above. The state's aggressive promotion of tourism and the hurry to be a part of mainstream India may accelerate its fall too.

While Sikkim is still a beautiful country where life is largely peaceful, I see some effort required to keep it this way. May be slow and calculated growth and keeping a tab on immigration would be the way to go.

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Posted on: Monday , Apr 13, 2009 At 00:28 AM

Snow And Rains In Himachal

Last few days have been seeing heavy snowfall and rain in parts of Himachal. This was a particularly bad winter in Himachal, and snowfall was low in northern regions beyond Manali, and in the west towards Dharamshala. I had earlier written about likely shortage of water in these places in summer if there is not sufficient rain.  

There seems to be some late snow now, with precipitation in Lahaul and Spiti and Keylong area. There was also some rainfall in the lower regions like Mandi, Shimla and Solan.

This could mean that there would be some relief to water scarcity in places like Dharmashala, and a scarcity is unlikely in Lahaul and Spiti region. Continuing snow would also mean that Rohtang pass may not open as early as it was expected to be. See details at'100177725.html

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Posted on: Sunday , Apr 12, 2009 At 23:47 PM

Jaisalmer Fort - A Troubled Monument

With the euphoria surrounding the elections, a minor earthquake in Jaisalmer did not make it to the prominent sections of newspapers. Though the earthquake measuring 5.3 on Richter scale did not cause any loss of life, it has caused damages to the fort which is already in a bad condition. Geological Survey of India reports of a depression that has formed in a part of the fort.

The fort nearly a thousand years old is still inhabited, and is located on a tall mound. With seepage of water into the mound from the drains, the foundation of the fort has been deteriorating over the years, posing a threat to the fort walls. One of the bastions of the fort had collapsed a few years ago due to the seepage. 

The eathquake is a cause of concern and could accelerate the threat to the fort walls. See a detailed report at

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Posted on: Tuesday , Apr 07, 2009 At 17:33 PM

Festivals And Events - April 2009

Like we have every month, here is the list of festivals and events for the month of April.

  • Shri Mahavirji Fair at Jaipur from 3rd April to 9th April. Currently on in Jaipur, this fair is held in memory of Mahavir, the 24th Jain Tirthankar. More details from Rajasthan Tourism -
  • Bihu is the three day festival, the most important festival in Assam to celebrate Assamese New Year. It starts from 14th April 2009.
  • Ramanavami Music Festival in Bangalore runs through April and during first half of May. See more details on an earlier post in this blog.
  • Tulip Festival is held from 7th to 14th April in Srinagar to celebrate blossoming of Tulips, and will be accompanied with daily cultural programs. More details on JK Tourism website.

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Posted on: Friday , Apr 03, 2009 At 19:31 PM

Music Programs - Rama Seva Mandali, Bangalore

April is the month to look forward for Bangaloreans who love classical music. Sree Rama Seva Mandali, based in Chamarajpet organizes a month long classical music program, where all the who-is-who of Indian classical music come to perform.

This year's program include performances from Kadri Gopalnath, Bombay Jayashree, Praveen Godkindi, U Shrinivas, just to name a few.

The music fest begins today, and will go on till 10th May 2009. The programme begins at 5.15pm every evening and ends at 9.30pm most of the days, but the schedules can vary slightly some days. See the complete timetable at'list.html

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Posted on: Friday , Apr 03, 2009 At 11:05 AM

Results - Ndtv Seven Wonders

So the long running campaign to choose the seven wonders of India finally ended on 20th March with declaration of the voted wonders. Some of the winners, like Taj Mahal, are predictable while there are some less known entries like Dholavira site. Here is the list.

  1. Taj Mahal
  2. Golden Temple, Amritsar
  3. Tawang Monastery
  4. Konark Sun Temple
  5. Khajuraho
  6. Jaisalmer Fort
  7. Red Fort
  8. Nalanda University
  9. Dholavira Site
  10. Meenakshi Temple
Why are there 10 entries in the list? See details about it at'result.aspx?ch=7

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