Malaysian beaches, truly a world apart!

 Beautiful beaches and islands are synonymous with Malaysia. In fact, you are so spoilt for choice here that at times it’s difficult to choose one from the other. Tourists can now make better choices on which one to go by visiting, which lists 15 of the best beaches in Malaysia, according to famous beach critic and conservationist Brad Farmer. Farmer rates the beaches on a variety of criteria, such as budget, scenic views, activities, ease of travel, conservation efforts, and the pristine condition of the beaches.


This is the first time Malaysia’s beaches are being assessed and examined firsthand by a qualified and internationally renowned beach expert. The site features Pangkor Island, Perak; Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang; Coral Bay and Pasir Panjang Beach, Terengganu; Juara Beach, Pahang; Desaru Beach, Johor; Mabul Island and Mantanani Islands, Sabah; and Damai Beach, Sarawak.

The website is expected to attract more local and foreign travellers to visit beaches and islands in Malaysia, which is timely, as the country is celebrating the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

One of the many marine parks in Malaysia

Mr Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia said, “Malaysia is blessed with a natural abundance of pristine beaches and marine parks.  Farmer is considered an authority on beaches and this recognition will help our guests make an informed decision about their beaches of choice and return home with memories that linger.”

Farmer has been writing bestselling books on beaches for over 30 years and he was a former Senate Adviser on coastal issues in Australia. He has travelled to over 35 beach nations to explore and write about beaches, coastal environments and seaside communities.

Bollywood to Descend on Malaysia after 13 years for IIFA awards!

Malaysia has been chosen as the destination for the 16th edition of the mega-weekend celebrations of the international Indian Film Academy (IIFA) all set to take place from 5th – 7th June, 2015. IIFA spokespersons along with Bollywood stars, Anil Kapoor and Bipasha Basu, were in Malaysia to officially announce Kuala Lumpur as the host city for the IIFA celebrations in 2015.

IIFA 2015 returns to the culturally diverse country of Malaysia after 13 years where fans and cinema enthusiasts from around the world can expect to see their favorite stars descend on Kuala Lumpur during the weekend and witness Indian cinema’s most celebrated international event unfold in their city.

Bipasha Basu And Anil Kapoor with Zulkefli Hj Sharif CEO MyCEB & Tony Nagamaiah - General Manager, Malaysia major Events at the IIFA Awards Malaysia 2015 Press conference (2)

Speaking about IIFA Awards to be held in Malaysia, Mr Manoharan Periasamy, Director,Tourism Malaysia, India, said, “We are glad to host IIFA awards in Malaysia once again. This year being a ‘Year of Festivals’ will bring double excitement for the tourists visiting Malaysia during the IIFA week with an exceptional experience, especially with the various pocket shows exhibited.”

Speaking about IIFA, longtime friend & supporter of IIFA, international actor, Anil Kapoor said, “As a member of the Indian Film fraternity and a friend of IIFA, I have been a personal witness to the growth of IIFA into an iconic platform for Indian cinema and culture globally. I am delighted to see IIFA return to the wonderful country of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is in for a spectacular weekend in June.”

Sabbas Joseph(IIFA Director), Andre Timmins(IIFA Director), Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor, Zulkefli Hj Sharif CEO MyCEB & Tony Nagamaiah - GM, MME and Mr. Mahmoud Skaf, GM Ritz Carlton KL1

Commenting on the occasion, Andre Timmins, Director – Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Said, “IIFA was here in Malaysia 13years ago and was overwhelmed by the beauty charm and the people of this country. The excitement and enthused fans saw the spectacular of IIFA then come alive in Genting Highlands. Now in 2015 we return with more celebrations, magic and the best of Indian cinema to Kuala Lumpur – the vibrant heart of Malaysia. This IIFA weekend is going to be action packed with music, fashion, and cinema and is all set to be attended by the Indian Film Industry.”

Evening well spent at ENSEMBLE, classic designer store!

My daughter Tanya insisted that I join her for launch of Summer Wardrobe in association with Vogue at Great Eastern Building, Lions Gate, Mumbai. Not motivated enough as I always believed that designer wear is not for me because of its heavy duty styling and prohibitive pricing, I didn’t mind joining her as it was close to my office. We received a warm welcome there as Tanya is known in the circles as fashion & lifestyle blogger. The store was very welcoming with cocktails on service.

A bevy of lovely ladies and fashionistas like Zeba Kohli and Madhu Shah checking on the designs, other lovely ladies were swooning over what was on display there. I must say collection was just awesome – Summer Wardrobe just stood out. Linen tops, pure cotton hand woven skirts, silk – cotton kurtas, short Kutras, gowns…all were intricately crafted and in good sizes, not like the ones flattering only size zeros of this world. The ‘Quirk Box’ would need special mention here which had beautiful prints of historical monuments like Charminar or Red Fort on white skirts/ jackets etc. One Kurta, in particular, I liked very much was of pista green colour made of cotton – silk blended fabric costing Rs. 8,200. Should have I gone for it? You decide? I am still stuck on that kurta.

From bringing the sari back into the fashion, to reviving fabrics and embroidery techniques; Ensemble is committed to marrying India’s rich heritage of incredible workmanship with an elegant contemporary aesthetic, Ensemble truly lives upto to its name!
So when you are in Mumbai next, don’t forget to check-in Ensemble for its beautiful collections!
Include it in your itinerary, lest you miss!

Coming back to the event, this was Vogue India and multi-designer store Ensemble’s spotlight on 2014’s Vogue India Fashion Fund finalists with an exclusive showcase of their latest collections at this flagship store in Mumbai.

Speaking on the occasion, “It always gives me the biggest creative high to see the work of these fantastic new kids on the block,” says Tina Tahiliani Parikh of Ensemble. “Ensemble was set up 27 years ago to give Indian design a platform and to partner with Vogue on this event and bring to the market such fresh and original work is truly satisfying.”

The young designers, looking pretty in their designer outfits were introduced to the gathering that had made it to the top five finalists. “It was a real daunting task to select these designers from 100 entries, but it was very exciting too to see whole new world of design unfolding before us,” said Tina while speaking on the occasion.
The winners were: Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva, Ikai by Ragini Ahuja, Quirk Box by Rixi Bhatia and Jayesh Sachdev, Hemant & Nandita by Hemant Lalwani and Nandita Raipurani: Karishma Shahani Khan.

Last but not the least, the word about Ensemble; Ensemble encapsulates precisely what it means…a collection of beautiful garments brought together. Ensemble has been a destination store for those in the know for over 25 years. Their DNA is not only made up of great fashion moments but also of many special occasions. To them clothes are not only for an occasion, they are an integral part of our lives. What makes them unique is their passion for championing and nurturing traditional Indian craftsmanship.

Innovation, creative vision and quality determine which designers they choose to work with. The team tracks a designer over a couple of seasons to evaluate his or her work’s quality and consistency, ensuring that quality and production meets our standards. They try to remain true to a designer’s vision while matching our sensibility. At times, this leads to stellar collaborations with capsule collection or limited editions exclusively for Ensemble.

Since its launch in December 1987 in Mumbai, Ensemble has been regarded as a pioneer. It became the first luxury multi brand store providing talented Indian designers a platform to showcase their work. From Pakistan to Sri Lanka, they pride themselves on spotting talent and having launched the majority of Indian designers who are today at the helm of the industry.

So you know where it all began! Ensemble is where it all began!

Dekha ek Khwab to yeh Silsile hue!


The mesmerizing & soulful rendition by Lata didi & Kishore da on the melodious music of Shiv Hari picturized on magical on screen pair – Amitabh & Rekha is still well-etched in my memory for one more thing. Oh! You guessed it right! For its heavenly tulip gardens which were very aesthetically shot in Holland. So when I recently read about Tulip Festival in Kashmir, I just wanted to be there. Though I watched the film as a teenager, now I am mother of a teenager, never mind, some dreams just take too long to materialize. Now I can see that happening soon!

So readers, why I want to go there? Tulips fascinate every romantic, beauty and nature lover.

But what is so special about this festival? Read on to know answers to these and many such questions, who knows you too make up your mind to be there sometime soon…

Tulip festival in Kashmir is Asia’s largest tulip festival that has been named after Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The festival takes place in the months of March & April which is the prettiest one that takes place in Kashmir at the Siraj Bagh Cheshmasahi in the capital city of Srinagar spread into the area of over 5 hectares at the footlhills of Zabarmwan near the Dal Lake.

The garden has nearly 60 different varieties of multi-coloured tulips. These present a view like that of a silken carpet that has hundreds of colours and provide a heavenly view to the tourists who visit from all over the globe. Around 2 million tulip bulbs bloom here and proudly display their beauty to the tourists. The view is simply magnificent and has countless delicate beauties lined in rows to dance with the wind in front of the tourists. Tulip, a member of Liliaceae is native to Persia. Holland is the largest producer of tulips. Now no need to go Holland for having a view of enchanting beauty; the sight is now available in the crown of our country.

Cultural programs, Kashmiri folk songs, sale of local handicrafts, and preparation of traditional Kashmiri cuisine forms an eminent part of the entertainment of visitors during the festival.

The festival was started in 2007 to promote tourism and has been quite successful in attracting tourists from all over the world. Spring brings in the time of blossoming tulips in the valley, as the landscape soften and flourish after the cold winter. Hence with the onset of Spring, people throng to the place to get a view of this magnificent place.

Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty and with the tulips the beauty is enhanced manifolds. Today, tourists are demanding to keep the garden open ahead of the fixed timed and enjoy the view for a longer time. Both local and foreign tourists visit in at the time of Tulip festival and thus contribute a lot in promoting Kashmir as a tourist attraction. The festival continues for 7 days. Tulips remain in bloom just for 15-20 days depending upon the temperature. “Red, yellow, variegated, pink, white, orange, light blue, and magenta are the main colors of tulips. The scene is simply charismatic with floral charm. The view remains in the memory of a visitor forever.

The city with beautiful gardens, placid lakes and the breathtaking Himalayas, Srinagar is a land of exquisite beauty. Srinagar offers the opportunity for enjoying the nature or engaging in adventures. Srinagar has an airport of its own. The domestic airport is serviced regularly by several private and public airlines, which connect the city to important cities in India, like: Delhi, Mumbai and so on.

An extensive network of road covers Srinagar and connects it to important cities in Jammu and Kashmir and North India, namely: Chandigarh (630 km), Delhi (876 km), Jammu (290 km), Leh (434 km), Gulmarg (48 km), Sonmarg (88 km) and Pahalgam (96 km).

The nearest Railhead is in Jammu. Major Indian cities like: Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai are linked to Jammu by railways

MY MONEY BOOK – Making You Master of your own MONEY

When I excitedly (as I always do) opened the courier received from Blog adda, I was in for a shock this time. My Money Book was like a NANO after all those Mercedes and Volkswagens. It was tiny, yet unique in all respects!


But when I opened it, I was in for another shock. It was a slickly packaged, inviting enough for us to write our own financial story. If filled in properly by any investor, it will read like his/ her financial Janampatri which all of us shudder to make, reasons best known to us. The book, as I said earlier, if filled in to the last detail will be a complete dossier of one’s investments and a great reference point not only for us but also for our inheritors.


However I feel that filling this dossier will be a huge task from our end because we don’t want to face the stark realities of our financial lives like buying unnecessary insurance, continue making investments in loss making instruments and remain invested. It is like putting our good monies after bad monies. But we keep doing it unfortunately because nobody is holding a mirror in front of us. But this filled in dossier will be the mirror image of our investments. It will show us aspects like: Are we over insured, under invested, left some important investments or invested in some unnecessary investments etc.


I admire the fact that My Money Book lives upto its name as it has not left out single investment which I could think of. Even the relatively new entrant National Pension System is also included. The Book’s design and look is every attractive which will certainly draw lazy investors like me to fill it, refer it and store it. It is an excellent customers connect initiative by Exide Life Insurance who is looking forward to Indian’s becoming more disciplined, rather organized financially!

Considering the size of the book and columns, it will be most appropriate if we fill in our current financial year’s investments keeping in mind the 80 C, 80 D Investments in mind. So that entire year we can treat this as our reference manual, not only this, it will enable us to keep a tab on our non performing investments as well.

However I feel, the book could have been:
1. More Comprehensive, had more sheets for investments
2. A write up for all categories of Insurance / Investments covering which tax section it is covered under
3. A basic chapter on Taxation
4. A write up from well-known financial planner, why it is important to be financially organized
5. Basis FAQs on Investments & help guide in filling the book as in most cases Financial Planners do this for us.

My Money Book is an attempt to prepare us for financially happy and disciplined life. Its design is certainly very user-friendly where you can create consolidated, comprehensive record of all your financial investments. It is important that all of us as Investors whether big or small remain organized with our investments, by having a ready reckoner for our investments in this easy and simple record book.

This review is a part of the biggest  Book Review Program Indian Bloggers.

Participate now to get free books!

Malaysia Wins laurels as The Best International Destination – Food & Drinks 2014

Malaysia bagged The Best International Destination –Food and Drinks 2014 award at the Travel + Leisure India’s Best Awards held in New Delhi. It was also double honours for Malaysia with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) winning the Best International Duty Free Shopping award. Hosted by the world’s leading travel and lifestyle magazine, the winners were decided through a nation-wide poll amongst its readers.


On receiving the awards, MrManoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia said, “We are honoured to have been conferred this recognition. Shopping and Food -both are an integral part of travel and to be recognized for this motivates us to intensify our efforts to position Malaysia as a leading shopping and gastronomical destination to our guests.”

“Food is much more than just nourishment. It connects people. Since Malaysia is resplendent with diverse cultures, our food also reflects the ethnic mix of the local population spanning traditional Malay cooking to migrant Indian and the colonial Portuguese cuisine making Malaysian cuisine delectable for every taste bud”, added Mr Periasamy.

The Travel + Leisure awards is a significant achievement for Malaysia, a country that prides in its gastronomical delights. Malaysians are serious foodies. With their diverse cultures, celebrations and activities, there is always an excuse to Meet and Eat – whether it is at a restaurant, a fast-food outlet, or just a stall beneath the tree.

Besides the favourite ‘Satay’, some of the popular Malaysian dishes include NasiLemak, NasiKandar,Char kueyteow (flat rice noodles with shrimp, bean sprouts, egg and sweet Chinese sausage), Hokkienmee (egg noodles in a pork broth with prawns, egg, bean sprouts and water spinach) and Asamlaksa (thick noodles in a spicy fish broth with tangy asam, a sour tamarind paste).While in Kuala Lumpur a walk down the famous Bukit Bintang area is a good way to experience Malaysia’s street food. Gurney Drive, in Penang (the food capital of Malaysia) is another must visit place to see the deluge of hawker delights and exciting restaurants that come alive at night time.

It’s said food creates memories and Malaysian food will leave you with some lip smacking ones. The readers of Travel + Leisure will vouch for this.

MALAYSIA TOURISM PROMOTION BOARD OR TOURISM MALAYSIA is an agency under the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia focuses on the specific task of promoting Malaysia at all levels. Since its inception, Tourism Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds and it has emerged as a major player in the international tourism scene. In 2013, Malaysia registered 25.7 million tourist arrivals and RM 65.4 billion in receipts, making tourism its second largest foreign exchange earner and the sixth highest contributor to its Gross National Income (GNI).

The promotion of the country continues with the MALAYSIA YEAR OF FESTIVALS (MyFEST) campaign in 2015 with the theme “Endless Celebrations” emphasising the various festivals celebrated by its multicultural society. Both campaigns are key drivers towards achieving the country’s target of 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Tourism NKEA (National Key Economic Area).     


Single window clearance for Tourism in J & K

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed announced a “single window” for project clearance in a time-bound manner to fast-track approvals for laying high-end tourism infrastructure in the state.


“There is a need to promote ‘Business with Ease’ and the Single Window will facilitate creation of high-end facilities with global benchmarks,” Sayeed said, chairing a high level meeting in Srinagar.
He said his government would remove hurdles to facilitate brand tie-ups so that high-end intake capacity of the state, which is presently low is substantially increased to draw overseas and top-class domestic visitors to the state.

A high-powered Committee will be framed that will facilitate creation of brand infrastructure to attract international tourist footfall to the state,” he said.

Asking for a concerted effort to promote J&K as a top-class golf destination with week-end and week-long packages, the Chief Minister called for an organized publicity campaign to promote golf tourism in the state.

“We already have golf circuits at Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sidhra. We are exploring possibilities of laying new courses at Sonamarg, Sanasar and Yusmarg for which feasibility reports are being prepared,” Sayeed said, adding Kashmir Golf Club, one of the oldest courses in the country, will also be refurbished to attract golf lovers.

He urged the top stakeholders in tourism industry to employ local youth in their hospitality and human resource divisions, saying expansion of tourism infrastructure would create countless employment opportunities in the services sector.
“Our youth are greatly talented in HR and Hospitality segments and I am sure they will do a fairly good job at the cutting-edge level,” he asserted.

Source:  IBN Live

Off to Dehradun, Can I miss Sahastradhara?

I am planning a trip to Dehradun, Mussourrie, Hardwar & Rishikesh, end April. Besides extensive sight – seeing in these places, I have zeroed in to breathtakingly beautiful Sahastradhara which is on the way to Mussourie. I had visited this place as a child, and now I am a mother myself…obviously visiting these places with my family. I am really looking forward to this trip.

While researching on Dehradun, first spot which crossed my mind was Sahastradhara. What could be better than visiting Dehradun and revisiting my childhood? So you want to know why I am so keen on visiting the place. I would love to share with you…but if you have some places to share with me in and around Dehradun, then please feel free to share with me. You can post your experience of Visiting Dehradun & Hardwar.

To begin with, Sahastradhara, literally means “Thousand fold spring”. Sahastradhara is a beautiful waterfall located 11 kilometers from Dehradun. Sahastradhara is famous for its sulphur water springs which contain medicinal properties and can cure skin ailments. Flanked by the Baldi River and caves on each side, Sahastradhara is renowned for its natural beauty and is a popular picnic spot. A year round destination, Sahastradhara is best visited in the monsoon when the water comes gushing off the cliff, but that I cannot help. The water in Sahastradhara contains lime due to which is noticeable by the deposits it leaves behind. Popular with tourists, Sahastradhara is a relaxing getaway from the bustling city of Dehradun. The Baldi river and the caves provide a breathtaking view.

Sahastradhara lies on 30.387231 latitude and 78.131606 longitudes. The place has an ecstatic beauty of nature where water drips from limestone stalactites, making the water sulphur abundant and thus the place is also called as sulphur springs. It is sulphur water spring of relatively lower temperature than its surroundings. It is a warehouse of excellent beauty of caves, waterfalls and steppe farming by local people. Its extreme magnificent essence of nature thrive people from faraway places. It surely rejuvenates the soul and mind. All the transport facility like buses, taxi, autos or cabs are available to get to the Sahastradhara.

A ropeway is provided to reach the hill top in Sahastradhara to find a park and a temple. The view is pleasant from the hill top. A very old Shiva temple along with guru Dronacharya cave is present in this location, providing a good mythological scenario and an essence of historical importance to the place. People visit and worship here. This place is also housing a manmade water amusement park and to attract the tourist from various places. Swings and water slides in the Joyland Water Park adds the fun and making this a very popular picnic spot.

This place has numerous hotels for stay and restaurants for the food. Having food besides the nature adds up the pleasantries and keeps you fresh and healthy.

The nearby villages increase the beauty as they thrive on steppe farming. The hills cut in the form of steps are marvellous to watch and is simply a visual delight. The main season is summer and October to March in winter, during which the water has its natural flow.

I am coming Sahastradhara…