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Saturday, 13 April 2013 00:45

India's Perennial Appeal

Published in January
Sunday, 17 March 2013 09:54

Perennial Mumbai

Fascinating, exotic and lively, perennial Mumbai always enchants. Whether you’re a first time visitor or a well traveled habitue, India’s most cosmopolitan city boasts a panoply of colors, flavors and aromas. With luxury hotels, spas, restaurants, famous sights, and a rich cultural heritage, there’s something for everyone. Capital of the West Indian state of Maharashtra, Mumbai, aka Bollywood, is also the ‘Entertainment Capital of India’. Known as the ‘City That Never Sleeps’ Mumbai’s glamorous nightlife is legendary. To many, it will always be their favorite place 
to go.

Published in January
Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:25

Surprising Southern India

The vast subcontinent of India is more than 2,000 miles long, from the Himalayan highlands in the north of the country to its southernmost cape. Fully 20% of this vertical distance is accounted for by the state of Tamil Nadu -- which, together with the neighboring state of Kerala, make up the fascinating world of
Southern India.

Published in September
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 14:53

Mumbai’s Secret Weapon: Bollywood

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is the fastest moving, most affluent and industrialized city in India. As part of India's beautiful west coast, that runs down from Gujarat, through Mumbai to Goa, Karnataka and Kerala, Mumbai was blessed with a natural harbor that was developed by the British and remains one of the busiest ports of India, handling about 40% of India's maritime trade.
Mumbai (till recently known as 'Bombay'), derives its name from the local deity Mumba Devi, whose temple is still there. The Portuguese predecessors of the British preferred to think of the name as Bom Baim, the Good Bay. Mumbai is a group of seven islands, which today are known as Colaba, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, Worli, Girgaun and Dongri. Large expanses of open sea have been filled in, and tidal swamps have been reclaimed as the areas known as Churchgate and Nariman Point today.

Published in May
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 14:53

Mumbai’s Secret Weapon: Bollywood

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is the fastest moving, most affluent and industrialized city in India. As part of India's beautiful west coast, that runs down from Gujarat, through Mumbai to Goa, Karnataka and Kerala, Mumbai was blessed with a natural harbor that was developed by the British and remains one of the busiest ports of India, handling about 40% of India's maritime trade.
Mumbai (till recently known as 'Bombay'), derives its name from the local deity Mumba Devi, whose temple is still there. The Portuguese predecessors of the British preferred to think of the name as Bom Baim, the Good Bay. Mumbai is a group of seven islands, which today are known as Colaba, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, Worli, Girgaun and Dongri. Large expanses of open sea have been filled in, and tidal swamps have been reclaimed as the areas known as Churchgate and Nariman Point today.

Published in May
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 14:51

India From the Sacred to the Sublime

From the trend-seeking tourist to the sophisticated traveler, Maharashtra, India’s third largest state, has an array of unforgettable tourism offerings and attractions that include ancient and historic sites of tremendous religious importance, well known in India, but still relatively unknown abroad.
Maharashtra is located in the southwestern region of the country. The state boasts breathtaking landscapes of tropical forests, tiger reserves, impressive mountain ranges, relaxing beaches on the Arabian Sea and the cosmopolitan capital of Mumbai (Bombay). Home to hundreds of archaeological sites of significant historical importance and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the mystical Ajanta and Ellora Caves, the Elephanta caves, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai (Bombay) — Maharashtra boasts of tourism offerings found nowhere else in India.

Published in August
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 14:48

India’s Kochi: Calm, Complex and Compelling

To reach “Incredible India,” I flew, non-stop about 8,000 miles in 16 hours. I soon learned that time and distance pale when it comes to falling in love with India, this land of miracles and vast horizons. It is hard to believe that India stretches from the tropics right up to the temperate regions, from near the equator to the coldest heart of Asia. 
As I traveled in the chilly north in December I was captivated by the bazaars and forts in Delhi, the perpetually compelling Taj Mahal in Agra, the Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (Bombay), yet I kept hearing about another India; the one in the south, where tourists feel the breath of history as they traverse a beautiful scenic region known as “God’s own country.”

Published in December

Driving (or riding in) a car in India is a cultural experience. Despite the distances between states and cities, the best way for tourists to get around India is by private automobile. There are no super-fast bullet trains, and a private car provides convenience, flexibility, and allows you to keep your favorite driver for your entire trip. At first I was extremely nervous in the car, especially at night, with dark and not-always-very-well-paved roads. In fact, when my driver, Rana, picked me up upon my arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi,I complained, “Slow down. I’m not in a rush!” and “What’s with the incessant horn?” I just figured HE wanted to get home, since my Jet Airways flight had arrived after 10 p.m., and we hadn’t even gotten into his car until around 11:15 p.m. Nevertheless, after a week with him driving me all across North India, I was grateful that Indebo Travel (www.indebo.com), the company that arranged my trip, carefully screens its drivers. In fact, Rana, had been owner Nandini Ramaswami’s wife’s personal driver, before they agreed he was expert enough to drive their guests.

Published in December
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 14:43

India’s Branding Expands Tourism Territory

Recently Nareendra Kothiyal, Information Officer for the India Government Tourist Office (IGTO) in New York, spoke about India’s marketing activities. The New York office is IGTO’s regional office for the Americas, overseeing offices in Los Angeles, Canada, and South America. Their goal is to position India as a “global brand.” 
Unlike tour operators, which tend to be interested in promoting popular sites in well- known and well-developed regions of India (i.e. places with good infrastructure and accommodations suitable for their clients), the tourist office’s mission is to promote all of India—especially emerging destinations that are lesser known, less developed and off the beaten path. For that reason, IGTO is particularly interested in expanding rural tourism and in promoting their newly formed (about 2 ½ years ago) states. 
The trio of “New States” includes a destination in Northern India, one in Eastern and one in the Central part of the country. Uttarakhand, set in Northern India, is also known as the “Gateway to the Valley of the Gods,” and includes Haridwar, the area from which the Ganges River reaches the plains from the Himalayas. It is popular spot for spirituality, health and wellness. Jharkhand in Eastern India is rich in greenery, attractive waterfalls, and desirable minerals; and popular for its health and wellness retreats. Chhattisgarh, located in the heart of India, is renowned for its rich tribal populations and bio-diversity. 
Explains Kothiyal, “The idea of rural tourism is for travelers to really get out into the villages, mingle with the local people, and really feel the village life.”

Published in March
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