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Posted on: Tuesday , Mar 31, 2009 At 08:14 AM

A Year Of India-Explored


The first ever post on 'India Explored' was made on March 31st last year. We are now a year old, and it is time to cut the cake.

In the last one year, 'India Explored' has 150 posts on board, and has clocked nearly 50,000 views. It has been a good going so far, and the days ahead are hopefully going to be better.

I would love to hear your opinions and feedback about this page. Help me improve 'India Explored' and make it more interesting. Thank you.

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Posted on: Friday , Mar 27, 2009 At 20:36 PM

A Casion In Sikkim


Till recently, Goa was the only place in India where you could gamble in a Casino. Boats that anchored on the shore at Panaji, or the ones that would cruise to deap sea offered casinos in their facility. Nowhere else in India were casinos allowed to exist.


Now, Sikkim has allowed first ever casino to come up in Gangtok. Sikkim is already turning into one of the most popular destination for Indian as well as foreign tourists, and the casino should add to the attraction. The casino opened this week at Hotel Royal Plaza in Gangtok, and is called 'Casino Sikkim'. See more at http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/77564


So if you are itching to throw a dice this summer, you know where to go!

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Posted on: Friday , Mar 27, 2009 At 20:23 PM

Golf Course At Leh?


A news clip from 'News Agency of Kashmir' had me ticked. The minister of tourism and culture in Jammu and Kashmir - Nawang Rigizn Jora - seems to think that Leh is ideal place for creating a Golf Course. An assessment is likely to happen for creation of a Golf course sooner or later(see story - http://naknews.co.in/newsdet.aspx?q=19910). I was slightly disturbed at the idea, since creating a green landscape is not an easy job, and require massive amounts of water that is a scarcity in Leh.


But trying to probe further and researching on the possibility, I found out that a Golf course is already functional at Leh. But the course is not a green carpet as we normally visualize it, but a dry patch of flat land(see picture - http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo177553.htm). 


I guess another such golf course in Leh would not do much harm. But I wonder how charming would it be to play at Leh, where the sun burns strong and shade is hard to find.

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Posted on: Friday , Mar 27, 2009 At 14:03 PM

Ndtv Seven Wonders Finale On March 30th


We have been tracking NDTV seven wonders campaign on this blog for a while now. The campaign is on its final phase with just three more days to go before the results will be announced. You can still vote for your favourite monument at http://7wondersofindia.ndtv.com/vote'final.aspx


The campaign ends of 30th March, when the winning monuments will be announced in Delhi in a grand celebration. The final list contains 20 monuments, listed at http://7wondersofindia.ndtv.com/vote'final.aspx.


It all looks good so far, except that I have a small complaint. In all places where one of the finalists - Alchi's monastery is mentioned, they have shown the image of the village of Lamayuru. I only wish the organizers had some idea of at least how the monuments looked like!


More about NDTV seven wonders on 'India Explored'

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Posted on: Monday , Mar 23, 2009 At 17:16 PM

Visit India Year Discounts


As a part of Visit India Year, ministry of tourism has compiled a list of participating hotels, airlines and travel agents who are offering discounts and special packages on their website.


The Visit India 2009 website has a long list of hotels that are offering discounts, special packages and theme based tours to choose from, where special rates are being offered.


See Visit India Year 2009 website for full listing.

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Posted on: Monday , Mar 23, 2009 At 15:35 PM

Exit Of Ipl And The Impact On Travel


After some uncertainties about IPL being held at all, the organizers are now contemplating on shifting the venue out of India. The fact that it was impossible to find other dates to conduct the tournament is forcing BCCI to take such a decision.


The recession hit travel industry would have been benefited immensely, had the IPL happened in Indian Cities. From the time of collapse of American economy and the subsequent impact on global trade, hotels have been finding it harder to fill rooms, and airlines are seeing lower occupancy levels. The 45 day tournament would have had a considerable number of people moving between cities, and the hotel occupation levels would have gone up where the matches are held.


The travel industry will have to manage without IPL revenues this year, but not everything is likely to be very bad for them. Elections, the other mega event that is the cause of IPL's departure will also see people of all levels moving from place to place for lobbying and campaigning.

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Posted on: Monday , Mar 16, 2009 At 12:40 PM

Theyyam Images


I have written earlier on this blog about Theyyam season in North Kerala. I made a quick visit to Kasaragod in North Kerala, and attended a Theyyam performance. Here are some images.

Theyyam


Getting the performer ready.


Theyyam


Theyyam


Theyyam


Ready for the performance.

Theyyam

The artist and his assistants.

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Posted on: Sunday , Mar 15, 2009 At 17:43 PM

Resurrecting Dal Lake


Dal Lake is the most important attraction of Kashmir, and is a must stop destination for everyone who travels to these parts. It is also a long known fact that Dal has been shrinking for many years owing to encroachment, pollution and sewage from the town and the houseboats.


Now, the highcourt of Kashmir has stepped into save Dal, and has ordered a crackdown of illegal construction and to shut down polluting house boats. The authorities have started working on it, and a few illegally built buildings near the lake have been brought down. The house boats will have to stop operating until they device clean ways and stop polluting the lake with refuse.


So if you are looking up to staying at the lake - one of the prime experiences of Kashmir, check beforehand and verify that the houseboats are operating.


Related News:

  1. Dal Cleanup: Houseboats first to go - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Dal-cleanup-Houseboats-first-to-go/articleshow/4206650.cms
  2. Crackdown on Dal Lake houseboats - http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090084991&ch=2/27/2009%206:44:00%20PM
  3. Demolition of illegal houses - http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200902261883.htm

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Posted on: Saturday , Mar 14, 2009 At 20:28 PM

More Aiports May Levy User Development Fees


We had earlier reported about Delhi Aiport levying aiport development fees, and Mumbai soon to follow. It now appears to be becoming a standard practice, as many more cities intend to make users pay for development and expansion of airports.


Five more cities - Chennai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Goa and Ahmedabad - are likely to follow the Delhi model. Airports Authority of India, which is working on expansion of these airports, has approached the ministry of Civil Aviation for permissions to impose development fees for meeting the expenses of upgrading. If approved, people flying out of these airports may have to pay an additional fee over the regular ticket fare. See full story here

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Posted on: Saturday , Mar 14, 2009 At 19:54 PM

Himalayan Summer - Less Snow, Water Shortage, Etc


This winter has seen very little snowfall in the mountains of Garhwal and Himachal Pradesh. While the mountains near Joshimath in garhwal had no snow for most winter, snowfall around Manali and Dharamshala is said to be much below normal.


The implication of dry spells could mean much trouble in these mountain regions. Dharamshala is already suffering from water shortage, which may get worse with progress in summer. The BRO has started clearing Leh-Manali highway earlier than normal and expects to open the road as much as a month sooner. Things can get bad in other places in Himachal too, like Shimla, where water shortage is a regular problem every summer. Besides water shortage, the apple trees, which rely on good snowfall and cold weather may not yield a good harvest.


All this means that it may not be very wise to venture into many sections of Himalayas in this summer. Going to places with water shortage will only result in a crisis to locals who will have to share their limited supplies with visitors. It is advisable to use your discretion when you decided to hear to the mountains.

Related stories:
  1. Snow clearing begins on Manali-Leh highway - http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/snow-clearing-work-begins-on-manali-leh-highway'100161913.html
  2. Drought set to topple himachal apple cart - http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/drought-set-to-topple-himachal-apple-cart/351440/

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Posted on: Saturday , Mar 14, 2009 At 19:42 PM

Forest Fire In The Nilgiris


Last week, we had mentioned about Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary being closed due to recurring forest fires. Forest fires seem to be spreading in the region, leading to much trouble for residents and tourists. On March 9th, a group of tourists had to be rescued from fire at Dolphin Nose, a tourist spot near Ooty. Much earlier, a month ago, forest fire had troubled officials in adjoining Nagarahole National Park. Nagarahole still suffers from occasional fire incidences.


I was in Ooty two weeks ago and could see that the weather was notably hot. There was smoke emanating from many places in the hills, the origin of which I am not sure. But the hot climate could easily propagate fire and result in trouble for locals as well as tourists. 


The coming summer months may make things go worse. If you are heading to Nilgiris and surrounding regions to cool off in the summer, be alert to news reports related to forest fire.


Related News:

  1. 200 tourists rescued in Coonor - http://www.eturbonews.com/8179/200-tourists-rescued-forest-fire
  2. Forest fire in Muthanga - http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/02/stories/2009030253870400.htm
  3. Fire in Nagarahole National Park - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mysore/Fire-at-Nagarahole-destroys-vegetation/articleshow/4251020.cms

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Posted on: Saturday , Mar 07, 2009 At 19:49 PM

Ndtv Seven Wonders Finals


We had written about NDTV's seven wonders of India campaign earlier when they were shortlisting entries from the states. 


The campaign is now in the final stages, and the voting is on the for the big seven. Twenty monuments have been shortlisted for the finals, which has some unlikely entries like the monastery in Alchi and Dholavira Site.


You can vote for your favourite monument on NDTV seven wonders website here.

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Posted on: Saturday , Mar 07, 2009 At 19:42 PM

Festivals And Events - March 2009


As usual, here is the month's list of festivals and events.

  • Elephant Festival. Held in Jaipur on 10th March 2009, includes procession of elephants. See http://www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/Attractions/Fairs-Festivals/Elephant-Festival.aspx for more.
  • Mewar Festival. Held in Udaipur from 29th to 31st March. A showcase of cultural programs. See http://www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/Attractions/Fairs-Festivals/MewarFestival.aspx
  • Holi. 11th March, celebrated all over North India. Best way to be a part of the celebration is to be in the streets of large cities of North India.
  • Ugadi/Gudi Pawda. This is the new year's day celebrated in Karnataka and Maharashtra. The celebrations are mostly confined to homes, and does not involve much fanfare.

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Posted on: Tuesday , Mar 03, 2009 At 10:36 AM

News Alert: Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Is Closed


There has been a forest fire raging in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and neighbouring Nagarahole National Park for a few weeks now. The Hindu reports that more than 400 hectares of forest has been destroyed in the fire in Wayanad.


The forest department has decided to close Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary for visitors to prevent further outbreak of fire. The news report says that neighbouring forest area of Pakshi Patalam and Thirunelli will also be out of bounds for tourists. It is also advisable to call and check with the forest department if treks to Chembra peak will be permitted.


See full story on The Hundu


If you are looking for a wildlife trip and searching for other options, near by Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole National Park and Madumali can be good alternatives.

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