Category Archives: Tourism

Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Park: Green Lung of Lucknow

Now, I will take you from where I had left, Janeshwar Mishra Park, Lucknow. After having some great time in the morning, we moved on to Lucknow’s Lohia Park in Gomti Nagar, which looked to me nearly 20 minutes’ drive. Indeed, Lucknow’s greenery and cleanliness are talking points. Janeshwar Mishra Park is very well-structured, equipped with modern amenities, you name it and have it, overall made by planning and design (by LDA) offering a variety of experiences for one and all.

But, if you are a true nature lover, love your morning walk and jog, yoga and meditation or just love to sit and look around, and if you love to blog and write (like me), Lohia Park is the place to be in. The park is lush green, which made Me Mumbaikar green with envy. We don’t have anything anywhere close to this park. Amidst sky-scrapers, highways, metros, flyovers, commercial offices, schools, hospitals…we have forgotten that what a good park is like.

Me, Ritu & Kamalji, after buying tickets at the park’s entrance started walking on the jogging track which was covered by huge trees. These trees provide dense shade to joggers and walkers like us, I am sure temperature would have been 1-2 degrees less than the city. On both sides, there are green belts, some rare flora and fauna, unique variety of plants, trees, some very old trees, flower beds, water bodies and an imposing statue of Lohia ji. No wonder, Lucknow is known for its statues…more on statues later!

…While we were walking, I spotted a swing and I did not miss the opportunity of being on the swing. I don’t remember how many years ago I sat on a swing, real swing not the ones we have in Essel World, Imagica, Singapore’s Sentosa Island or Hong Kong’s Disney. Who would know the pleasure of swinging on a simple swing except for our generation! Gen Y doesn’t even know what they have missed!!

I was told that park is developed by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) and I must say there are doing the commendable job by keeping Lucknow Green and Lucknowites Pink. Made in the memory of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia ji, the park is spread in 76 acres. It has four courtyards and all have ticket windows with ample parking space.

Starting from the South-East corner of the park, the Main Navigation Path goes through the centre and ends at the North-East corner, measuring around 1 kilometre in length and 4.50 metres in width. The Main Navigation Path which is made up of Kota stones flooring also has a strip in the middle of the path where seasonal flowers are grown. Special architectural lights on designer polls can be seen all around the navigation path.

Right from the entrance, there are pathways in various directions of the park along with natural mounds, flower nursery and other areas. It looks like a light spreading in various directions. The total length of these light beam path is 2.7 kilometres and it is made up of vitrified tile along with white sandstone strips in the middle.

The semi-circular path situated near the main memorial area is almost 500 metres long, also six memory columns and walls are situated along the semi-circular path.

Just near the main memorial area, a flower garden is located in the area of 2 acres. This garden is always blooming with seasonal flowers, also there is a baradari located in the middle of the garden.

A unique system for Rain Water Harvesting has been installed in the park.

Indeed, I loved being there, more than anywhere else in Lucknow. Can’t thank Ritu and Kamalji enough. They are just wonderful hosts…

 

 

 

UP’s answer to Hyde Park London, Lucknow’s Janeshwar Mishra Park

Indeed, Janeshwar Mishra Park in Lucknow deserves a dedicated blog post, which I visited during my recent trip to Lucknow. Why I am drawing a simile to Hyde Park, because I have visited that too, though some years ago. Janeshwar Mishra Park is truly an answer to iconic Hyde Park, London.

Ritu & Kamal Mathur, my gracious hosts for this morning drive from their residence in Indira Nagar to Janeshwar Mishra Park in Gomti Nagar extension, may be fully credited for taking me there. From outside, I could not figure out what was waiting for me inside. As I had mentioned earlier, I hardly have any penchant for parks and I expected it to be close to NTR garden, Hyderabad. But yes, many surprises unfolded!

Admeasuring whopping 376 acres, the park lies between Lucknow and Faizabad, in the north-eastern side and rich fertile plains of River Gomti on the southern side. The site for the park is bordered by river Gomti and a bund road on the other side. It is one of the most prominent green lungs for Lucknow. The bund road offers a vantage location to enjoy fully developed panoramic view of the park.  The size, structure, length, breadth of the park was beyond my comprehension, it is just not possible to see it in a single visit. You need to make multiple visits to let the feeling sink in!

The park houses a very imposing statue of Janeshwar Mishraji in golden colour (I did not understand the logic behind golden colour) on a huge podium, now I found it difficult to imagine how imposing Sardar Patel’s statue would be in Gujarat.

The park was made in memory of late politician Janeshwar Mishra from Samajwadi Party, during the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav and inaugurated by Mulayam Singhji in August 2014. We can’t thank them enough for this iconic landmark of Lucknow.

So more on the park, the most striking feature was very wide jogging track running several kilometres where Lucknowites were seen jogging, moreover, it was quite spic and span. There is a need to maintain the cleanliness not only by authorities but by the public too.

Developed by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) it is an eco-friendly park habitating some unique flora and fauna, located in the heart of the city. It has been conceptualised and designed as a multi-functional environmental and recreational green patch which not only provides a sustainable habitat for various species of birds but also double up as a major entertainment and recreation centre for everyone. It has enhanced and improved the ecological balance and help restore sensitive habitat for numerous species of birds, small animals, fishes, amphibians and even insects. How I wish MHADA also builds one such park in Mumbai to provide respite from pollution & over-crowding to Mumbaikars.

I could see two large water bodies which immensely added to the glory of the park and also enabled harnessing migratory birds and provide a haven for them in winters and summers, through the creation of lagoons and marshy lands. The area of this water body is 14 acres.

The second water body consists of a freshwater lake spread over an area of 18 acres on the southern corner of the park. The lakes are interconnected with a meandering tree-lined channel to ensure all-weather perenniallity. Collectively, the two lakes along with the channel covers an area of approximately 20 Ha and account for nearly 15% of the park area.

Another additional feature was a huge tank at the entrance and a replica of big Air Force aircraft inside, which would definitely appeal children. It has something for everyone, age, caste, creed, no bar and it is differently-abled friendly too. If you are unable to walk around, there is a provision for E Carts also. The park has lots of lights all over and I am sure it would have looked wonderful in the evening.  Special lighting is also being done in the lakes which makes mesmerising sight in the evening, told Kamal Mathur.

 

I was very fascinated by a series of jogging, cycling and walkways are built in the park. The total length of these tracks was 5.28 km., 8.85 km. and 10.5 km. respectively. The system of jogging tracks, cycling tracks and pedestrian paths have been identified in the ratio of 2:3:4.

The walkways are designed in a curvaceous manner to maximize the visual potential of the site and provide the inter-linkages to various activities proposed in the park. They run all along and across the park, along with the water bodies, connecting cultural hub and theme gardens, parking and cycle tracks.

With heavy heart, we parted ways from this beautiful destination, as I wanted to spend some more time there. On the way I clicked some more photos of the greenery surrounding the mark. Kamal Mathur clicked some beautiful pictures and you can see for yourself, how camera friendly he is!

Thanks, a tonne, Ritu & Kamal ji, I couldn’t have asked for more!

 

NTR Gardens: Baby’s oops Babes’ evening out!

Though I am not a park-park person, somehow park reminds me of old Bollywood movies where the hero and heroine romance behind trees and sing love duets, which is not the case with me. So, I don’t relate to an outing in the park…

…But visit to NTR Gardens, Hyderabad turned out to be quite a unique experience. Sisters decided to visit the park and there we were! I was apprehensive that it may be a local park, like any other park, but that was not to be. We became kids amidst kids and we enjoyed every moment of it. I was fascinated by the entrance itself which had unique architecture and Nandi Bull beside a waterfall added to the beauty of the facade. I knew something much more exciting was in the offing…

We started our visit by boarding the toy train which took us around the park, this way we could have the complete view of the park, which somehow reminded me of night safari, Singapore. With child-like excitement, we were relishing every moment of our joy ride.  One of the most striking observations about the park would be its neatness and ticket pricing, just 20 Rupees for so much fun.   

Vandana told me that NTR Garden is built in the memory of late Shri N T Rama Rao, former and one of the most popular chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh. Spread across an area of 36 acres, it presents a soothing atmosphere and refreshing setting to visitors. Built at a cost of Rs. 40 crores, it was in 2002, when the NTR garden was opened to the public.

Breathtakingly beautiful and intricately landscaped, the Garden presented a very fascinating view besides offering various kinds of recreational options as well. Some of these are a boat ride, Japanese garden, Roaring Cascade, a Fountain, etc. We clicked lots of pictures and why not? We were in the most picturesque place of Hyderabad.

One of the striking features of the NTR garden is the Desert Garden, consisting of about 150 plant varieties, mainly of those plans which are commonly referred as desert plants such as cacti, succulents, etc. The plants, which also boast of medicinal importance and are used for various herbal remedies, have been brought to Hyderabad from various parts of the country like Kolkata, Shirdi, etc.

The garden has been created in such a way that it offers breath-taking natural surroundings along with ample entertaining activities. Excellent facilities for food are also provided in the garden. Various eat out joints, car cafe and fruit restaurant which is a 2000-square-metre restaurant circumvented by three petal-shaped ponds offer not just mouth-watering dishes but also a beautiful setting to relish the same. The Car Cafes are primarily cafes with a seating capacity of six and which are mobile.

It is close to the popular Hussain Sagar Lake, which makes a visit to the park even more enjoyable. One can visit the till 9 in the night as the NTR Garden timings are from 12:30 pm- 9:00 pm.

As goes the saying, pictures speak louder than words, enjoy our sojourn to NTR Gardens in pictures. Actually, I am short of words to describe the beauty of NTR garden.

The day concluded by a visit to Hanuman Ji ka Mandir, which was so divine and loved being there the most. I couldn’t have thanked Vandana enough for these divine sojourns.

Must visit while in Hyderabad!

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.”

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!!

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/

 

MTDC and MCGM embrace international tourists for Ganesh festival in Mumbai

~ Special arrangements made for international travellers at Girgaum Chowpatty during Ganeshotsav. ~

With an aim to celebrate and promote the majestic Ganesh festival amongst travellers, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has made special arrangements for International Tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai. A pavilion with the capacity of more than 300 has been set up at for the venue for tourists to observe and participate in the spirit and cultural fervour of Maharashtra.

Looking at the overwhelming response received last year during the Ganesh Festival, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) are offering amenities like online registration facility, clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport and refreshments.

With this alliance, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) aims to make Ganeshotsav an international event. Tourists can study and participate in various aspects of Indian culture and rituals. They also get to experience the 126-year-old heritage of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav.

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra said, “It is a pleasure to showcase the best of Maharashtra’s rich culture and tradition. The distinct pavilion has been set up for overseas travellers to perceive our beloved deity Ganesha. The pavilion will include amenities like clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport along with refreshment. Tourists can see the Ganapati idols from all over the city at Girgaum Chowpatty which will certainly showcase the transformation in the celebrations over the years.”

Shri Vijay Kumar Gautam (IAS), Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Maharashtra added, “The objective is to position this festival on the global map, so we are inviting international tourists to participate through MCGM registration facilities for the Ganesh festival. We have made a separate pandal for the International tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty. The tourists can catch a glimpse of the Ganpati idols from across the city. I am certain that the festival will attract a large number of International visitors in the state of Maharashtra.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Suhas Diwase, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “Ganeshotsav is a festival that has always brought individuals from different cultures and communities together. Tourists from diverse countries come to experience the Ganesh Darshan Tour of MTDC every year. We are happy to associate with MCGM to accommodate International tourists and give them an experience of one of the most popular festivals in the state.”

For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

 

 

MTDC Resorts – A Boon for Tourists in Maharashtra

MTDC RESORTS

Travellers from across the globe are pouring in every day to discover new destinations in the state. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has constantly worked to offer an enriching experience to the visitors. The six resorts that were built by MTDC in the last five years at Sakoli (District Bhandara), Ambhora (Nagpur), Mozari Point Chikaldara (Amravati), Bodhalkasa (Gondia), Gaganbawda (Kolhapur) and Kunakeshwar (Sindhudurga) have immense potential to allure visitors from across the globe and help MTDC to promote untapped destinations. The details of these resorts, and how to reach them are as follows:

  1. SAKOLI

Sakoli is a small town in district Bhandara of Maharashtra. From cultural and historical spots, natural beauty, adventure and entertainment activities there are several exciting prospects for travellers to discover Sakoli. Just a few kilometres away from the Chulbhand river and surrounded by ponds and lakes, Sakoli is located on the Mumbai-Kolkata national highway.

You can reach there by road, located 101 Kms from Nagpur for which all kinds of transport is available whereas nearest railway stations and airport are Nagpur.

From here you can visit Andhalgaon, known as the dark village in Bhandara tehsil, apart from being a major supplier of Kosa silk cloth, is also famous for its weaving industry and manufacturing silk-bordered clothes, The Gondumari Palace, 10km away from Sakoli, is a place of historic importance and Explore the wildlife of Nagzira National Park and Navegaon Bandh Bird Sanctuary.

Here you can stay at MTDC’s leased out its property to M/S Tuli Hospitality Pvt Ltd and is an ideal destination for visitors looking for homely comfort.  

  1.  AMBHORA

Ambhora Village is situated on the bank of Wainganga River in Kuhi Taluka 75-km away from Nagpur. The key attractions of Ambhora are the shrines on the confluence of the three rivers — Wainganga, Kanhan and Amba. Overwhelmingly beautiful, Ambhora is home to Shri Harinath Temple and Ambatitthak Buddha Vihar which have major pilgrim footfalls at least thrice during festivals annually.

You can reach here Road: State transport buses are available from Nagpur to Ambhora and visitors can hire private transports too. Nearest railway station and airport is Nagpur.

You can visit Markanda, a shrine devoted to Lord Shiva and a sacred place of worship for Hindus,  in the middle of Chamorshi which is situated on the bank of Wainganga river. Tadoba, called the Jewel of Vidarbha because of its rich tiger reserve, is the oldest national park in the state. Ambakhori, situated on the bank of Pench River, is the main attraction with its waterfalls and forests.

You can stay at MTDC’s Holiday Resort, Ambhora, an ideal destination for the travellers to experience the nature’s ecstasy.

  1. MOZARI POINT, CHIKHALDARA
Mozari Point

Mozari Point is situated in a picturesque setting with a deep valley on three sides. It offers splendid views of sunrise and sunset. This point is 2-km away from Chikaldara district headquarters. Visitors can also approach the Devi Point area and west side of Gawilgarh Fort which provides a magnificent view.

Public transports are available from Nagpur, Badnera and Akola.  The nearest railway stations are Badnera and Akola which are almost 80-km away from Chikhaldara. Several trains from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur halts at both Badnera and Akola junction. The closest airport is at Akola, which is 150 km away from Mozari Chikhaldara.

You can visit Gugamal National Park spread to 1673.93 square km was built in 1974. It is a small part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve. Bhimkund-Kichakdara is fenced with lush green background from all sides. Bhim-Kund is nearly 3500 ft. deep and visitors take bath to wash away their sins. Panchbol Point is 4-km away from Bir Lake. The five hills edges are linked naturally with several valleys to form a huge valley. This point is known as Five Eco Point.

You can stay at MTDC Mozari Point Resort has very spacious rooms with neat and hygienic ambience. The restaurant offers decent and homely food.

  1. Bodhalkasa

Bodhalkasa, an attractive nature trail with wide dam and enlivenment, is about 135-km from Nagpur. There is an array of activities like speed boating, paddling and thrilling water sports. It is a perfect destination for adventure and wildlife. The visitors can dine with the tribes, explore their culinary, and culture.

Public transports are available from nearest town Tirora.  Nagpur, Tirora and Kachewani are the nearest railway stations, and the closest airport is Nagpur.

You can visit Bodhalkasa dam, an idyllic getaway for visitors, which is filled with adventurous nature trails, it is an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy jungle safari. Visitors can also avail of water sports activities like riding, paddling and speedboats.

You can stay at MTDC’s Bodhalkasa Resort which is about 7-km from Magezari Gate of Nagzira, wildlife century

  1. Gaganbawada, Dist.-Kolhapur

Located in Kolhapur, Gaganbawada is one of the most beautiful hill stations of Maharashtra blessed with scenic beauty and an eccentric view of the Konkan coastal region. Due to this reason, many Hindi and Marathi filmmakers are attracted towards this hill station. This is also one of the most favourite developing destinations for trekkers. It is located on the stretch of Kolhapur-Kharepatan route, merely 55 kilometres from Kolhapur and is abundant in natural beauty. A haze of fog covers Gaganbawada most of the time during monsoon making it the best season to visit the serenity.

You can reach there by Road which is an hour and a half drive from Kolhapur bus stand. Kankavli and Kolhapur are the nearest railway stations to Gaganbawada. The closest is the Belgaum airport and is well -linked with major metro cities.

You can visit Gaganbawada, located within the Sahyadri range in the traditional Western Ghats, offers an extremely popular fortification ‘Gagangad’, just 1-km away from the destination. Karul Ghat & Bhuibavda Ghat are the two ghats, which fall in the category of the most scenic routes that originate from Gaganbawada. The Morjai temple and plateau is an attraction to hikers. It is 8-km away from town at a height of 980 MSL, a perfect example of ‘Sada Ecosystem’.

You can stay at MTDC Holiday Resort in Gaganbawada, Kolhapur is suitable for visitors as it offers superior quality stay and accommodation facility.

  1. KUNKESHWAR (SINDHUDURG)
Kunkeshwar

Kunakeshwar is positioned in the Devgad taluka of Sindhudurg district, about 14-km away from Devgad and 438-km from Mumbai. Kunakeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the hillock facing the sea, where we can see a scenic sundown. The temple was built in the 12th century and has a 10m stone wall separating the temple from the sea.

You can reach there by State transport buses from Devgad, Kankavli and Malvan go to Kunakeshwar on a regular basis, visitors can also opt for hired private vehicles for this hour-long journey. The nearest railway station is Kankavli, which is around 51-km away from Kunakeshwar. The nearest airport is Panaji, Goa.

You can visit the Rock Cave, 1-km east of Kunakeshwar Temple, is a place of tourist attraction. The idols of this cave are carved out of black stone. At the coastline of Mithbav and Tambaldeg bird watchers get to see an attractive variety of winged creatures. This beach is calm and has less chaos as it is not amongst the regular trips of the tourists. Kotkamate is a small village situated 15-km away from Kunakeshwar. This temple was renovated in 1725 by Kanhoji Angre the admiral of Martha Navy. The temple has sculptures of goddess Shri Bhagvati.

You can stay at Kunkeshwar Resort (MTDC) in Sindhudurg which offers a holistic view of its pristine beaches away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

 

 

 

Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb celebrate one-year milestone of partnership

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra:  “Tourism is not only a source of revenue for the state but is also a key source of growth for local communities.” 

He was speaking on the occasion of the celebration of one-year milestone partnership of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) with Airbnb and the launch of Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme in the state to boost the tourism prospects.

The program aims to drive economic growth in local Maharashtra communities by helping micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality sector grow their business through four key pillars of support- Training, Enabling, Access and Promotion.

The program would be launched first in Elephanta village where MTDC and Airbnb will associate with Gram Panchayat and identify 35 homes and get aligned with Airbnb standards. Hosts of these homes would be the first set of entrepreneurs benefitting from this program.

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra, added, “In Airbnb, we have found a global partner whose vision to create skilled micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality and homestay ecosystem to further expand Maharashtra’s tourism potential. We are pleased to expand our partnership with Airbnb with the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, which will help mentor and support budding entrepreneurs in in hospitality sector and build a strong homestay network across key destinations. This is the first-of-its-kind tourism initiative in India where the Government has used the revenue shared by a partner to create a program to benefit various underprivileged communities in the State. With new innovative initiatives like this one, together with Airbnb, we aim to attract a larger global audience and exponentially boost tourism in Maharashtra,”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri. V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Through the Accelerator Programme, Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb aim to create a homestay ecosystem in Elephanta and create at least one hospitality micro-entrepreneur in every village across Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Palghar. In year one, we target to create and nurture 1500 tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs. This will motivate tourism and open up new destinations and unique experiences for travellers.”

“Airbnb’s commitment to create 50,000 hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in India. The launch of the Accelerator Programme is a major step towards realizing our commitment and Maharashtra is our lead partner in creating a progressive, sustainable tourism ecosystem in India,” said Mr Chris Lehane, Global Head of Policy and Communications, Airbnb. Lehane added, “Airbnb has always been committed to building a more inclusive tourism sector across the world and no more so than in emerging markets like India. Enabling and empowering all communities, including those that may have not previously benefited from tourism is integral to inclusive tourism. We are therefore excited about the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program to mentor budding hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in underserved communities.”

Last year, Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb, in his meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister, had shared, “Through our partnership signed last year, Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism have worked together to train hundreds of micro-entrepreneurs across key tourism districts.” 

Mr. Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Head, Airbnb India, said: “We’re thrilled to today announce the expansion of this partnership through the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme and continue to play a role in supporting healthy, sustainable tourism in Maharashtra.”

Key elements of the Programme include:

○ Training: Airbnb will create a comprehensive training toolkit which will be used by Maharashtra Tourism to identify quality destinations, homes and entrepreneurs, as well as by Airbnb to train selected entrepreneurs on technology, hospitality, financing, regulations and promotion.

Enabling: Airbnb has been sharing a portion of its earnings in Maharashtra with Maharashtra Tourism towards tourism development in the State. Besides, using this fund as the program’s foundation, Maharashtra Tourism will connect trained entrepreneurs with existing government programs for additional funds.

Access: Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism will connect selected entrepreneurs with local partners to offer them access to technology, address language barriers and provide mentorship support. Airbnb’s co-hosting model has the potential to help village youths or community-based organizations with smartphones and better language skills become partners to micro-entrepreneurs with quality homes.

Promotion: Once entrepreneurs are ready to host travellers, Airbnb will partner with content creators to promote the homes to tourists around the world. Maharashtra Tourism will also use its promotional platforms to support the entrepreneurs.

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/

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global travel community that offers magical end-to-end trips, including where you stay, what you do and the people you meet. Airbnb uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs.