All posts by bienumv

Love to read, write, travel and talking to self & people!

Wedding Reception – laden with so many beautiful memories…

The year started with marriages of two very special people: My batch mate Mukesh Mathur’s daughter, Heetakshi’s marriage followed by Mr Harsh & Mrs Pramila Roongta’s Son Akshay’s marriage to Vasundhara.

My association with Mr Roongta dates back to the year 2008 when I joined ApnaPaisa without having any clue what the future would entail in the hardcore personal finance background. Mr Harsh Roongta is an expert & celebrity columnist and panellists on many TV channels. Voila! It turned out to be such a great experience that 6 years passed like a dream. As the time passed, we all became a family.  While attending the reception, so many memories rolled before my eyes on seeing Rajesh Vyas, Hemang Desai, Sushil Mishra,  Shuklaji and dear Mandakini… missed presence of Mr Balwant Jain ji.

The reception was held at MCA Club BKC and venue is a story in itself…creatively decorated and beautifully lit, I felt like a young girl there…wanted to click selfies all over…

The bride looked resplendent in her outfit – White Lehenga with pink & gold work & Pink Chunri. The impromptu gig performed by their college mates took all of us by surprise.  I and Mandakini had a great time together, relived so many old memories…had a fun time at Selfie booth, take away was our pictures clicked there. Overall, it was an evening to remember for…

Mr & Mrs Roongta showed the same old warmth like always and he was so delighted to see all of us together.

I and Mandakini decided to wear Saree on the occasion. She wore a beautiful yellow saree with Gold cut-work border teamed with a red brocade blouse.

I chose to wear Benarasi Coffee Coloured Saree from House of Triveni  – selected for the occasion from their Sanchari Collection which is sort of assortment of Royalty collection. Intricately layered with golden thread work & broad golden border with designer motifs & extravagant pallu with complimenting blouse.

Malaysia’s Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau Leads Delegation of 13 to India

Launching New Incentives and Support for the India Market

The Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) launched its second sales mission to Mumbai on January 10 at the ITC Grand Central as part of the second edition of its Penang Sales Mission to India.

Beginning the mission in Chennai on 7 Jan, the Penang delegation hit Ahmedabad on 9 Jan and will continue on to New Delhi on 14 Jan with the objective of promoting Penang as the preferred destination for corporate and association meetings, conferences, and incentives, and leisure travel.

Led by Ashwin Gunasekeran, Chief Executive Officer of PCEB, the mission is supported by a Penang delegation of 12 partners, including hotels, destination management companies, attractions and theme park, professional conference organisers, event experts, and PCEB’s strategic airline partner, Malaysia Airlines.

Capitalising on Penang’s rising popularity in India, the Penang Sales Mission to India will host, in each of the four cities it is visiting, a B2B engagement session with participating Business Events and leisure travel buyers from India as well as a media session with the local Indian and Business Events media.

Penang’s state executive councillor for Tourism Development, Heritage, Arts & Culture, the Honourable Mr Yeoh Soon Hin will be attending the New Delhi leg where he will be having official meetings with tourism authorities and key players in India.

“This mission is joined by some of Penang’s finest offerings in the hospitality, travel and events sectors, and will showcase the best of what Penang can offer to the Indian market,” he added.

Penang is world-class travel destination, one that is famed for its unique offerings of a modern international island city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lush rainforests, beautiful hill station, shopping galore and fabulous food. Additionally, this Northern Malaysian state is also a rising Business Events destination. Currently, Penang is the top-ranked second-tier destination in Malaysia in the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association).

“India is one of the top five markets for Business Events in Penang, and over the past year, we have received encouraging interest from event planners and conference organisers,” says Ashwin Gunasekeran, the Chief Executive Officer of PCEB.

In 2017, 13% of Business Events of Asia Pacific origin was from India, contributing RM190 mil or USD 46 million. In 2018, Penang’s largest Business Event – V Con 2018 – which saw a participation of 16,000 delegates from around the world reported that 80% of their delegates were from India.

The number of Indian travellers flying into Penang has also increased in recent years. The Penang Immigration Department reported that for the period between Jan to Nov 2018, 7,250 Indian travellers flew into the Penang International Airport, compared to 6,569 in the same period in 2017. The 10.37% increase came despite there not being direct flights between Penang and India.

To further attract the Indian outbound meetings and conference market, PCEB introduced a new support package specially tailored for India. The support packages start from as low as sponsorship of souvenirs and welcome luncheon for the organisers valued at RM2,000 (for confirmed meetings/conferences of 50 to 100 delegates) to hosted site inspections, welcome luncheon for organisers, cultural performances and souvenirs valued at RM15,000 (for incentive groups of 501 delegates and above.

Given the encouraging media coverage of the Penang Sales Mission to India last year, PCEB is also announced that it is running the #BusinessEventsPenang Media Award for India 2019. The award – four full expense paid trip inclusive of flights to Penang for 5D4N to attend PCEB’s BE @ Penang 2019 conference and the media familiarisation tour from 4th to 8th Dec 2019.

Journalists and writers interested in vying for this award must submit the published article or news coverage on the Penang Sales Mission to India 2019 to PCEB by 28th March 2019. Should the submission be in a language other than English, the English translation must be provided. A panel of judges will judge the best reporting for each city, and the announcement of the winner will be made by the end of April 2019.

In the past year, PCEB has heavily invested in marketing Penang to India, as the potential for growth from the Indian market is vast. Besides the Penang Sales Mission to India 2018 which saw PCEB leading 17 partners to Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, PCEB also joined the Global Panorama Showcase on its 8-city roadshow in 2018.

PCEB won the bid to host Global Panorama Showcase’s EDWIN Educational Programme, the first time the leading Indian travel product brought its programme to Malaysia. This saw PCEB hosting 120 Indian buyers at the inaugural Penang International Travel Exchange (PITE) 2018 from 4 – 8 September 2018.

 

Kumbh Mela: To witness the world’s biggest congregation of humanity

After the tumultuous year 2018, people are hoping big for peace, harmony & spirituality for the year 2019, as it is starting with the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019, going to be held at Allahabad (Prayag) from January 14th – March 4th, 2019. According to estimates, the Kumbh Mela 2019 would have more than 12 crore pilgrims drawing in for the bathing ritual held in Allahabad.

With PM Narendra Modi performing the Maha Aarti on Sangam Ghat and announcing the prarambh of Ardh Kumbh along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath, this year Kumbh is unquestionably the most anticipated event of the Year 2019. Massive preparations are underway to provide bhakts with never before experienced. In the words of Yogi Adityanath, “ With Kumbh (Ardha Kumbh) Mela due in Prayag in January 2019, the preparations are afoot to host an expected 12 crore visitors. Inviting one and all to be a part of the Mela. He informed about the world-class arrangements of the Kumbh Mela, and of cleanliness. He added, “I promise, you will not find any dirt in the venue, which we have expanded to 10,000 acres from 5,000 acres. Also, this time, the Kumbh Mela will have more cultural attractions than ever before.”

Going by the arrangements put in by the Yogi Government this Kumbh, it is going to be a big tourist attraction for Indian & Foreign Nationals besides being Spiritual, Cultural and Religious experience which comprises its core. The major attractions being Shahi Snan, Sangam Walk and Laser Show etc. Not only this, the Centre has plans to start airboat service from Varanasi to Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela as per the announcement made by Central Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari recently. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is arranging for a ferry service near Sangam Ghat as well.

Noted film producer Subhash Ghai upheld the Kumbh Mela as an inspiration for all artists. “As artists, we get inspired by history, our epics, our puranic sanskritis and give this punarjivan in our own ways. We consider the age-old Kumbh tradition that was mentioned as early as in the 7th century by Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, as a great pride of India. I hope by taking part in the Kumbh Mela, this unique gathering of humans focused on soul and world peace alone, we will give more power to this wonderful tradition.”

The Royal Bath or the Shahi Snan or the Rajyogi Snan is the first holy bath that is taken by Nagas, followed by saints and sages of different Akharas (religious groups) in the Sangam. Millions of pilgrims follow these saints and sages down onto the river; the Nagas take the lead.

The organisers have left no stone unturned to make Kumbh Mela as women-friendly as possible with sensitisation training and the establishment of separate ghat among other measures. The Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute (GBPSSI) at Prayagraj is training about 8500 police personnel and additional 9000 paramilitaries on gender, cultural and linguistic dialect sensitization. In another first at the Kumbh, women – only ghat is being constructed.

The city of Prayagraj will host its first Kumbh in January 2019 after its recent rechristening. Kumbh Mela 2019 promises to be a grand spiritual event in which millions will throng from around the world at the holy confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.

It is believed that the Kumbh Mela starts when astrological positions of Sun, Moon and Jupiter are fully occupied. This is considered a holy time in the Hindu religion. Prayagraj is connected by air to several domestic destinations. The airport is at Bamrauli and is 12 km away from the city centre. The city has four major railway stations namely Allahabad Junction, Prayag Station, City Station at Rambagh and Daraganj Station. Prayagraj is well connected by road as well.

Millions of people visit Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the city expects 15 crore visitors during Kumbh Mela 2019. Peshwai is one of the attractions of the Kumbh Mela. Peshwai marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela and is a marvellous procession. Holy men and their entourage arrive at the Kumbh on elephants, horses and in carriages.

Uttar Pradesh government is organising Sangam Walk for the tourists visiting the city for Kumbh Mela. A laser-light show will be one of the attractions this year. The show will be held at Allahabad Fort.

Indian, as well as foreign nationals from abroad, are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela. Heads of foreign missions in India were invited by the government to observe the preparations at the site Kumbh Mela.

This is the first time that about 1500 cameras would capture images and videos across the city. This would enable organisers to understand crowd behaviour and pedestrian’s movement which is very critical handle crowds of this scale.

Plan your visit in advance for that unique spiritual experience!

Inputs: News 18 and ET

 

A date with Costa Cruises’s neoRieviera

December 7, 2018, Mumbai: Europe’s No 1 cruising company, Costa Cruises, is commenced its India season for the 3rd time with the arrival of its ship, Costa neoRiviera at the Mumbai International cruise terminal. The day turned out to be truly special when Costa Cruise hosted a DATE with media and bloggers on the Cruise itself, which provided us with some very interesting insights. For me, this was the first time I had seen the ship with such close quarters as we were taken for the entire tour of the ship. Costa newRievera is nothing short of a sailing five – star hotel in the seas from Mumbai via Kochi to Maldives. Icing on the cake was some breathtakingly beautiful on-board performances!

So why should you choose a Costa Cruise?

  • The Only Italian finest cruise to home port in Asia
  • Exclusive entertainment for children
  • No Visa for Indian nationals
  • Children under 18 cruise free if sharing a cabin with two adults
  • A holiday for everyone, fun-filled activities
  • Maximum value with minimum cost

The Mumbai home port starting on December 7, was celebrated in the presence of Shri Tawde, Hon’ble Minister School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare, Hon’ble Minister of State, Water Resources, Ms Stefania Costanza, Consul General of Italy, Shri. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust, Mr Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Transport and Ports, other senior Government officials, Marco Salvatico, Director, MICE & India Business Development, Costa Cruises and Smt. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, Representative of Costa Cruises in India.

The event kicked off with an announcement of the sailing of Costa neoRiviera from Mumbai to the Maldives via Cochin for the 3rd season. The sailings are from 08th December 2018 to 16th March 2019. This is the 3rd season that Costa Cruises will be homeporting in Indian waters and is the only international cruise liner in India to offer regular cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives, confirming its strong interest in proactively developing the Indian cruise market.

This year Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoRiviera which will begin its first sailing from Mumbai with an Indian Wedding. The built-in infrastructure on the ship makes it particularly easy for groups to hold large events in one location. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. With around 670 crew attending to approx. 1,700 passengers, the ship maintains its exclusivity and provides dedicated services to guests. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment from Magic shows operas and dancers that will captivate even the most well-travelled folks with spectacular performances.

The ship prides itself in serving up a culinary feast, catering to different dietary needs. Italian food is a speciality, with provision made to ensure customisation towards the Indian market by providing Indian & Jain meals. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq. m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, 4 Jacuzzis and 2 swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a duty-free shopping centre and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for book lovers.

Sanjay Bhatia Chairman Mumbai Port added “Cruise Tourism is a niche travel segment and its demand is expanding amongst Indians. Observing this trend, we have planned to encourage Cruise Tourism by inviting cruise liners to explore Indian waters. I am thankful to our Minister who acknowledged and supported our efforts to boost Cruise Tourism”. Elaborating the plans, Mr Bhatia said, “This year we are going to have 60 callings overall in Mumbai, and in April two bigger cruises are coming, which will have 100 callings in Mumbai. There is a new SOP in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Shipping. We are developing this part of the Mumbai a key tourist destination, we are developing an international cruise terminal of the size of the International airport. We are very keen that cruise tourism develops as it would also open many employment avenues. ”

Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, GSA Costa cruise India, says “This is exciting times to be in the cruising industry in India. I am quite confident, every Indian who experiences cruising with neoRiviera will take away nostalgic memories with them” She added, “I would like to thank Costa Cruise headquarters for showing that kind of confidence on Indian markets and Govt of India who is getting Cruising policy into place. I believe that the cruising industry is here to stay and 2020 belongs to cruising industry of the country.”

Memories of Mehrangarh Fort alive, once again!

PeeCee Wedding Wows in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, ultimate wedding destination!

Circa 2018, Date December 1, when all eyes are on Jodhpur which has moved from being a historical town in Rajasthan to preferred GLOBAL wedding destination of none other than Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.

With this comes alive vivid memories of the marriage of my cousin Aarti’s wedding to Mohit in Jodhpur nearly five years ago, which, our entire clan called “Gwalior Gharana” attended. What to say of hospitality extended by dear Suman Bua and Phoophaji. It was beautiful weather in February when we were privy to the beautiful Rajasthani wedding which was a beautiful amalgamation of show and soul…

Now that International superstar Priyanka Chopra has zeroed in on Jodhpur for her marriage to American pop singer Nick Jonas, once again Jodhpur is in the limelight. Though Deepika and Ranveer chose a villa in far-flung Italy, PeeCee scores more points for choosing regal and historical Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhavan palace.

When Aarti’s marriage ceremony got over, my phoophaji advised us to visit Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhavan Palace which had already caught my fancy while coming to my dear Suman bua’s home for Aarti’s marriage. He arranged a vehicle for us and very next morning we were out to visit Mehrangarh Fort. Though tired because of marriage ceremonies, I was quite excited to visit the fort which looked so imposing to me while driving around the beautiful Rajasthan city of Jodhpur. Moreover, I have a fetish for forts and I may be credited for visiting several forts of India across States. The palaces in Rajasthan are truly royal and magnificent and it is very difficult to rate them on these parameters. Every fort has its own charm and a story to tell, the only common thread being Rajasthani Culture and architecture. Every fort awe-inspiring, leaving you to spellbound. The story is the same here, when accompanied by my husband Mukund, who was like – Oh another fort, another steep climb, guide telling Raja Rani Kahaniyan…tiring day!

The pre-wedding functions for PeeCee and Nick will unfold over three days, beginning on November 30 and culminating with a wedding (both Christian and Hindu) on December 1 and 2. I have come to know that Priyanka’s sangeet ceremony will be held at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, while the Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel, also in Jodhpur, has been chosen as the nuptial venue.

The Mehrangarh Fort has been known to host high profile events – the enormous 14th-century fort was rented out for Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar’s wedding reception in 2007, and Naomi Campbell’s lavish birthday bash for ex-boyfriend Vladimir Doronin’s 50th birthday. The red sandstone fort, known as the Citadel of the Sun, is built at a height of 125 metres above the city and is surrounded by imposing and intricately carved thick walls. The fort is known for its expansive courtyards and features seven entry gates. The most famous of these gates is the Jaya Pol, constructed by Maharaja Man Singh to celebrate his success over the armies of Jaipur and Bikaner. Fatteh Pol, which also means victory gate, was raised by Maharaja Ajit Singh to celebrate the defeat of the Mughals. The fort also houses several other structures such as the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesha Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana, Daulat Khana, and one of Rajasthan’s most well-stocked museums, the Mehrangarh Museum.

I spent quite a lot of time in Mehrangarh Fort and believe me every moment was worth it.

Wish Priyanka Chopra well for her regal marriage ceremony in Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.

 

Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity: The Tallest, The Grandest!


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Sardar Patel Statue TODAY   (31st October 2018) – The Statue of Unity, the one to have laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013 as Gujarat CM. Besides PM Modi, Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states are expected to attend the gala event. Gujarat has the rare honour of possessing the competitor to Global Icon (The Statue of Liberty) – The Statue of Unity! This will attract reverse tourism as Gujaratis based in the U.S. will visit as tourists whereas till now Gujaratis loved to visit the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. – their favourite. Owing to its unique features, it is certain to attract tourist from all over the world.

Sardar Patel is renowned as the architect of independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one great Republic of India. Shri Narendra Modi decided to pay the honourable tribute which will be cherished for centuries by the whole world and it will become a matter of pride for every Indian for this great man. Built in less than five years, it is the world’s tallest, grandest and giant statue. It is a tribute to the man who united India, Sardar Patel.

The Statue of Unity is a monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Vallabhbhai Patel located in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft).  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Government of Gujarat for its construction and the outreach programme was carried out across India starting December 2013.

Initially, the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹3,001 crore (US$420 million) by the Government of India. Later Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. The construction was started on 31 October 2013 and completed in mid-October 2018. It will be inaugurated on 31 October 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The monument statue represents the Indian independence movement leader and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is constructed facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet. The total height of the statue from its base will be 240-metre consisting base level of 58 metres and statue of 182 metres. It is constructed with steel framing, reinforced cement concrete and bronze cladding.  The statue needed 75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 tonnes of steel structure, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel rods, 22,500 tonnes of bronze sheets for construction. In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes is being constructed.

The Statue of Unity is designed as a naturalistic and historically accurate representation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing characteristic garments, in a walking stance.

The project includes:

  • Bronze cladding on the Statue.
  • Fast elevators to reduce transit time for visitors.
  • The three-level base of the Statue: exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof – will contain a Memorial Garden and a large continuous museum/exhibition hall, comprising exhibits that focus on the life and contributions of Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from the river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors with a panoramic view, enabling them to see the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir.
  • Access to the Statue via a 5 km boat ride.
  • A large canopied public plaza, overlooking the Narmada River and the Statue, comprising food stalls, gift shops, retail kiosks and other amenities.
  • The Gujarat government has plans to build a Shreshtha Bharat Complex near the Statue of Unity which will house Bhavans of different states. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has approached all state governments for setting up their respective Bhavans at the site.

Indeed Statue of Unity has much more to offer than meets the eye. The closest station and airport would be Vadodara which is some 90 Km away and travel time by road would be 2.5 hours followed by a boat ride of 5 Kms.

I am all set to visit, are you?

I would be visiting both most loved statues – The Statue of Liberty & The Statue of Unity in the same year – 2019! Isn’t it something unique!!

SWANKIEST EVER BHARTIYA RAIL: TRAIN 18


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Indian Railways will soon usher in a new era with its first “Made-in-India” engine-less train – named Train 18. Also known as T18, this train is set to hit the tracks for trials on October 29, 2018.

Being a  big “Bhartiya Rail” fan, I could not resist myself from watching the news on Train 18, this is another story that I watch and follow all news updates from Indian Railways/ Railway Minister. I was very delighted to see the swankiest ever train, ready to run on tracks of India which is being witnessed as the replacement of Shatabdi Express, But one thing worth questioning – why it is being positioned as replacement of Shatabdi Express, which in itself is a very good train. It could have been positioned as “Concept” train for Indian travellers. Anyways…it is all set of trial run of October 29, 2018, i.e. tomorrow. It is another story that not a single Metro in Mumbai is set for a trial run till date…5 years into the making and not a single track ready completely. These also need immediate attention of concerned authorities.

Good to know, that finally “Make In India” is gaining some traction after its high profile launch in 2016 by Modiji. Train 18 or T 18 has several highlights which makes it stand out amidst the Shatabdis and Rajdhanis of this world.

So what are these highlights, I would like to share with you.

This Make-in-India train is made from the estimated cost of Rs. 100 crores and is engine-less, which can run at 160 kmph speed and is adorned with swanky interiors.

This is a significant leap by the Indian Railways in terms of technology innovation.

10 things about Train 18 that you should know about:

  1. Driven by a self-propulsion module san a separate locomotive, Train 18 or T18, is capable of running at a speed of up to 160 kmph. Train 18 comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration.
  2. The swanky 16-coach prototype without a locomotive (engine) will cut travel time by 15 per cent compared to the Shatabdi Express.
  3. Developed by Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory in 18 months, the fully AC train is designed in such a way that passengers can see the driver’s cabin.
  4. The estimated cost of each Train 18 vehicle is Rs 100 crore. Indian Railways’ Integrated Coach Factory General Manager Sudhanshu Mani said that subsequent production would bring down the cost compared to its current prototype.
  5. Train 18 will be unveiled on October 29. A trial will be conducted for three to four days. The trial will be conducted outside the factory after which the train would be handed over to the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) for further trials.
  6. The self-propelled train, fitted with CCTV cameras, would have two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each whereas trailer coaches would have 78 seats each.
  7. Though the maximum speed of Train 18 is 160 kmph against 130 kmph of Shatabdi, the issue could be the suitability of the existing tracks. The tracks are being improved and once the tracks are fit to suit Train 18’s speed, it would reduce travel time by around 15 per cent compared to Shatabdi.
  8. Train 18 has diffused lighting, automatic doors and footsteps beside GPS-based Passenger Information System.
  9. The footstep in a coach’s doorway slides outward when the train stops at a station enabling passengers to alight safely with comfort. The footstep would adjust to the variation in height between a train’s floor and the platform.
  10. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.

So, get set ready for your ride in Swankiest ever train by Indian Railways.

 

World’s Longest Sea – Crossing Bridge Inaugurated


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Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated the world’s longest sea bridge connecting the financial centre of Hong Kong, the gambling hub of Macau and Zhuhai city on the mainland as Beijing steps up efforts to create a new economic base in southern China on October 23, 2018.

Described as a mega infrastructure project, the 55-km HKZM bridge, which includes a seven-kilometre underwater tunnel, was inaugurated within weeks of the opening of a high-speed rail link between Beijing and Hong Kong.

“I declare the officially open,” Xi said at an indoor ceremony in Zhuhai. He did not address the audience.

Built at a cost of $15 billion, work on the bridge began in 2009. It is expected to ease the movement of cargo between Hong Kong and southern China and boost tourism in the region.

Ahead of the inauguration, state media reported: “Made from enough steel to build 60 Eiffel Towers and enough concrete to construct 22 Chrysler Buildings, it can withstand magnitude-8 earthquakes, and is even prepared for super typhoons. This is something built to last a century of service.”

The bridge will be opened to the public on Wednesday, with state media reporting that it “will slash the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from three hours to just 30 minutes”.

The bridge links Hong Kong’s Lantau island to Zhuhai and the gambling haven of Macau, across the waters of the heavily industrialised Pearl River estuary.

“The bridge will cut the once arduous journey from Zhuhai to Hong Kong, to just half an hour, but this is just a piece of the puzzle. With high-speed rail finally connecting Hong Kong to the mainland network and infrastructure projects in progress across the Pearl River Delta, this is about multiple mega-projects knitting together an entire region,” official Xinhua news agency reported.

Access to the bridge, however, will be restricted.

“Hong Kong residents will only be granted a licence to cross into Zhuhai by car if they meet highly selective criteria, including holding certain mainland government positions or making major contributions to charities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Most people will need to travel the bridge on coaches and buses,” Singapore-based Channel News Asia reported.

Building the bridge was not without its headaches, and the tunnel was one of them.

“Part of the bridge crosses two of Guangzhou Port’s shipping lanes,” Li Jiang, a project manager with HKZM Bridge Authority, explained to Xinhua. “If we were to build a bridge above these lanes, it would have to be very wide and tall.”

Compounding the problem, these shipping lanes pass right by Hong Kong airport, and any bridge tall enough to let ships pass would disrupt flight paths. “Building a tall bridge was not an option,” said Li, adding the tunnel was the solution.

“Technically speaking, we were at a loss in terms of existing long sea bridge projects that we could learn from,” said Luo Dong, vice general project manager for the Island and Tunnel Project of the bridge.

“The water conditions of the Pearl River Delta are so complicated. Building a bridge and tunnel system in this area was a real challenge.”

Courtesy: The Hindustan Times

Munich hosts 185th Oktoberfest

The visitors also enjoyed a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, inviting everybody to celebrate the Oktoberfest. Visits on weekdays and during noons and afternoons became increasingly popular and the Wiesn has regained the favour of families. Also, more senior citizens found their way to the Oktoberfest, initiated by the Wiesn-tables for elder guests by the city of Munich and the proprietors of the smaller tents. The Oide Wiesn vintage area retained its reputation as favourite place for local guests from Munich.

In fashion, the combination of traditional dirndl dresses or leather pants and sneakers was a trend. An estimated 6.3 million visitors (2015: 5,9 million in 16 days; 2017: 6,2 million in 18 days) came to the Oktoberfest, including 500.000 guests at the Oide Wiesn (2015: 535.000, 2017: 480.000).

According to data of the ATM machines, the whole world visited the Oktoberfest, the top 10 being: USA, Great Britain, Austria, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Sweden and Belgium.

The Oktoberfest post office reported an average of 500 sent postcards per day. Beer mugs mostly went to Australia, Asia and the USA, gingerbread hearts were sent to Italy and Austria and due to the beautiful weather, most guests could also send their warm winter clothes right back home.

Festival officials, carnies, vendors and tent proprietors are happy with the final results.

The increased safety measures have been optimized and gotten used to by guests and security personnel. The stewards were mostly praised for their helpfulness and friendliness.

Food and Drinks

There was an increased appetite at this year’s Wiesn: The tent proprietors reported an increase of 10% in food sales, with a big request for traditional dishes like duck, pork legs, roast pork and kässpatzen (thimble dumplings with cheese).

Special offers at noon time and street vendors also attracted many hungry guests. Summer-like temperatures also provided a high request for ice-cream.

At the Ochsenbraterei, 124 oxen (2015: 114, 2017: 127) were consumed. The Kalbsbraterei reported 48 eaten calves (2015:50, 2017:59).

According to the breweries, the guests drank 7.5 million litres of beer (2015: 7,3 million, 2017: 7,5 million), alcohol-free beverages ended with a plus of 10%.

Mugs, please!

Security personnel collected 101.000 mugs at the tent exits.

Fun rides and Carnies

The speakers of the fun ride owners and carnies reported “A great Wiesn”. Traditional family businesses like “Rund um den Tegernsee” and “Zugspitzbahn” were just as popular as new attractions.

Souvenirs

Fridge magnets and similar items were the souvenirs most sold. In the balloon department, unicorns and flamingos were the absolute favourites. At night, balloons equipped with LEDs lighted the way for Oktoberfest guests.

You can also order your favourite souvenirs online at the Oktoberfest.de Shop.

The Wiesn-Hit

This year’s newcomer hit was “Cordula Grün” by Josh, followed by revolutionaries’ classic “Bella Ciao”. Neil Diamonds’ “Sweet Caroline” or “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC still rocked the beer tents.

The official Oktoberfest-App on the rise

In its second year, the official Oktoberfest App was received very positively by visitors, tent runners and carnies. A total of 170.000 downloads and twice as many downloads as last year (80.000) show its success.

Lost and Found

By the end of the Wiesn, the Oktoberfest lost and found office counted 2.685 finds, among them: 840 passports, 460 wallets, 350 pieces of clothing, 350 phones, 300 keys, 140 glasses, 130 pieces of jewellery, 90 bags and rucksacks, 20 umbrellas and 5 cameras.

Remarkable finds were also: Both of one couple’s wedding rings, a food delivery box, a sheet for documenting accidents on your way to work from 2015, a laptop, a brochure display stand, a dog leash, golden ballerinas and a company’s internal shooting stand ranking.

Courtesy: Oktoberfest.de

World Tourism Day

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) celebrated ‘World Tourism Day’ on 27th September 2018 with UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) with an aim to promote ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation.’ This was intended to emphasize the necessity for investment in the latest digital technologies and develop entrepreneurship in the travel and tourism sector. The esteemed speakers Mr. Tarun Joukani, Managing Director, STAAH highlighted his views and thoughts on the role the technology and Mr. Munaf Kapadia, CEO, The Bohari Kitchen emphasized on how experiential tourism especially the home dining can boost the tourism prospects in the state.

In order to stay equipped with the global trends and growth in the digital sector, MTDC is constantly focusing on Content, Search Engine Plan and Online Destination Promotion by developing online goodwill through social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The objective of each social media platform is to engage with followers; keep them connected with developments and interact with people. Additionally, Paryatan Parv is celebrated across the state from 16th September 2018 to 27th September 2018. The idea is to spin around the importance of tourism among all stakeholders such as hoteliers, resort operators, tour operators and other trades to support the tourism sector in the state.

Similarly, to celebrate the true spirit of World Tourism Day, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has announced the ‘Swachhata Hi Sewa Campaign’ on the vision of Hon’rable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, carried out from 15th September 2018 to 2nd October 2018 at the several destinations across the state in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Ratnagiri, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Amravati and Ratnagiri.

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism & (EGS), Government of Maharashtra said, “I am pleased to celebrate World Tourism Day with the theme ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation.’ It is crucial to adapt the digital transformation taking place across the globe. I believe digital platforms offer high level of engagement across different demographics and geographies which will help to connect and educate travellers from all over the world. The association in the recent past with Airbnb, Etihad, Jet Airways and Ola has assisted us to meet the growing demands of the travellers and to overcome the challenges faced earlier. Our sole aim is to provide the best possible experience for the travellers through the digital initiative.”

Shri Vijay Kumar Gautam (IAS), Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra added, “The World Tourism Day 2018 theme highlights the objective of Tourism and Digital transformation across the globe. The social media platforms are cost-effective as they create larger connectivity and visibility among the various stakeholders. Travel and Tourism companies are getting benefits through this, so we are also developing this aspect. Interactive website and Social media are developed for tech-savvy commuters who will have all the essential information with a click of a button.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Suhas Diwase, (IAS), Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “The travelling sector has gone through a paradigm shift, where the travellers are looking for a new experience every time they travel. The World Tourism Day’ 2018 theme emphasizes the importance of digital transformation which will help the travellers to create a better experience with a click of a button. At MTDC, we always try to match up to ongoing trend and create a unique experience for the travellers whenever they visit Maharashtra.”

Since its foundation, MTDC has been at the forefront of development and maintenance of various tourist sites and at present owns and maintains resorts in these regions. To aide tourists, MTDC has opened information centres at all popular destination, which provide travel information about various tourist spots in Maharashtra along with travel maps, Maharashtra tourism guides and travel books at affordable prices.

Maharashtra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India offering a diverse range of experiences from pristine beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, natural caves, waterfalls, to imposing forts, colourful festivals, ancient pilgrimage shrines, museums, and historical monuments. For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/