Category Archives: Travel News

Turtle Sanctuary in Allabahad


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The holy city of Triveni Sangam ( The confluence of holy rivers – Ganaga, Jamuna & mystical Saraswati) and of Maha Kumbh,  Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India will have a new reason to visit – The Turtle Sanctuary at Triveni Sangam Ghat.

The Centre has approved the setting up of a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad and a river biodiversity park at Triveni Sangam (confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati), according to an official statement. The project, sanctioned by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), would also include a Turtle Rearing Centre — permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries.

It will provide a much-needed platform for visitors to learn about their place in the ecosystem, roles and responsibilities. The central government initiative, estimated to cost Rs 1.34 crore, will also improve people’s understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources.

The Project:

  • The project will include Turtle Rearing Centre – a permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp
  • It will also provide make-shift annual hatcheries for turtles
  • The initiative is estimated to cost Rs. 1.34 crore also aims to generate awareness

The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species in the Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of the river, a lifeline to over 40 percent of the country’s population, the statement added. Ganga and Yamuna in Allahabad are home to some of the most-endangered turtle species, Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and attracts numerous migratory and resident birds.

Travel-Knots welcomes Mr Kannanthanam J Alphons, New Tourism Minister & IT

Indeed, Minister with a DIFFERENCE!!

Read on to know why this holds true for him, truly inspirational figure, proud to have him as Tourism Minister.

Mr Alphons is a 1979 batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre. Alphons became famous as Delhi’s “Demolition Man” when he headed the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994. Born in Manimala village in Kerala’s Kottayam district, he pioneered the literacy movement in India and as District Collector of Kottayam, he made it the first 100 percent literate town in India in 1989.

Kannanthanam had set up the NGO Janshakti in 1994 for social works. On retiring from IAS, he contested the Kerala assembly polls in 2006 to become an independent MLA from Kanjirappally. He was also a member of the committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy 2017. He also authored the book “Making a Difference”.

Alphons’s life is nothing short of a miracle. Having passed his high school from a non-electrified village Malayalam medium school, he became one of the toppers of the 1979 batch of the IAS. He vowed that he would never be a door mat for the politician, but would be a voice of the hapless citizen. For 27 years he was their voice, running pitched battles against the corrupt system. He was rated to be one of the most competent officers in the history of the civil service. He was on TIME magazine’s list of 100 young global leaders in 1994. He is an inspirational orator and has spoken to over three million people, mostly students, in the past 35 years. In 2006, he quit IAS, contested as an independent from Kanjirappally constituency and got elected as an MLA on 32nd day with a huge majority, spending less than Rs10 lakhs. He decided that he wanted to be a different kind of an MLA. He drove his own car and lived in a tiny room in the rest house and got allocated Rs 350 crores for the constituency and won the best MLA award.

Power to bring Happiness

“Alphons believes that ultimately there is only one purpose in life: HAPPINESS. It is his strong belief that we should leave the world happier than we arrived. Lots of people believe in happiness, but mostly for themselves. Alphons believes that we got only one life and our destinies are deeply interwoven. There can be no islands of happiness. He refused to be MLA from Kanjirappally a second time, even though he would have been a Minister this time. His argument was simple: “When half of India is starving and when half the children in India do not go to school, I have no business to be an MLA from the richest constituency”. He said he wants to work on three things: food on every table, every child to school and a job for everybody. He says he got into IAS because it was the most powerful service in the world. For him, power means the ability to create happiness for the persons who come in contact with him, not the ability to bully anyone into indignity. He got into politics because it gives him the power to bring a smile on human face. ”

Major Accomplishments:

  • One of the toppers of the IAS, 1979 batch.
  • Featured in TIME MAGAZINES’S list of 100 young global leaders in 1994 (cover story-5th Dec 1994).
  • Pioneered the literacy movement in India, by making Kottayam Town the first 100% literate town in India in 1989, as District Collector.
  • Kottayam District achieved a quality health index better than the United States of America when he was the District Collector.
  • Built a cancer centre at Kottayam Medical College, with contribution from 8.2 million people.
  • Demolished 14,310 illegal buildings in Delhi, and reclaimed land worth Rs. 10,000 crores, as Commissioner, Delhi Development Authority.
  • Times Of India survey showed that 89.6% Delhiites supported his action, the highest rating for any public official any time.
  • Is an inspirational orator; was the best inter university debater in India for three years, while in the University.
  • Was instrumental in sanctioning self-financing professional colleges in Kerala, in 2001, when he was the Secretary, Higher Education, leading to an investment of Rs. 4,000 crores in this sector. The initiative has created over 1,00,000 seats in professional colleges. Declared the results of the entrance examinations to professional colleges in seven days, when he was the Commissioner for entrance examinations, Kerala.
  • Authored the bestselling book titled “Making a Difference”, published by Penguin India, in 1996. The Malayalam translation, “India Mattathinte Muzhakam”, published by DC Books, is its 12th edition.
  • Resigned from the IAS and got elected as independent MLA from Kanjirappally on 32nd day with a huge majority.Has won the best MLA award in Kerala in 2009.
  • Set up JANSHAKTHI, an NGO, in 1994, to get the citizens to believe in their ability to make government accountable to people. It has over 265 branches in Kerala. Worked for a year in Janshakthi’s slum project in Delhi after finishing tenure as Commissioner, DDA.
  • Won T.RAMARAO award from Kottayam Public Library in 2008, for making the most outstanding contribution to the development of Kottayam.

Travel-knots extends a hearty welcome to New Tourism Minister.

 

 

 

Come ‘Costa Cruise’ from Mumbai, & explore Incredible India!

The message given by Costa Cruise & Bombay Port Trust in the press – conference held in Hotel Trident on August 1, 2017, amidst the presence of who’s who of the tourism & cruise industry…

…A gracious host, Mrs. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) welcomed and updated present dignitaries & media on Cruise Scenario in India and plans of Costa Cruise going forward!

Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust said, “The timing is right for cruise liners to come to India as the Government is taking proactive steps for utilizing our vast coastline. I would like to thank the cruise companies that have taken the initiative to start sailings from Mumbai and have shown their confidence in the Indian Government and India market. We are looking forward to many more ships coming to India and Mumbai port, going forward. They can count on Mumbai Port’s efficient managerial, organizational and planning support and assistance at all times. Our objective is to exceed the expectations of the cruise liners and the cruisers, both domestic and International. Come, cruise from Mumbai and feel India!”

Ms. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) said, “Costa Cruises expanding its sailing offerings to include shorter sailings of 3 & 4 nights from Mumbai and Cochin specifically for the Indian market confirms its strong interest in India. The cruising market in India has come a long way from only a select group cruising in far-away locations to today a much wider audience holidaying on ships cruising directly from India. I sincerely thank Mr. Gadkari & Mr. Bhatia for all their efforts in making this happen.”

Last year, Costa Cruises was the first ever cruise liner to offer cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives. This year, Costa Cruises is introducing shorter 3 & 4 nights sailing options specifically for the Indian market. Indians can now choose to cruise on a 4 nights itinerary from Mumbai to Cochin (via Mangalore) or 3 nights itinerary from Cochin to Maldives. This is in addition to the 7 nights Mumbai to Maldives & 7 nights Maldives to Mumbai options available.

The Italian cruise liner will be homeporting in Mumbai a month earlier than last year and will perform a series of weekly sailings from November 2017 to March 2018.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Buhdy Bok, President of Carnival Asia said, “We are delighted to increase our capacity in this region, by offering 3 & 4 nights short cruises dedicated to the Indian market. Guests based in India can now embark or disembark right at their door-step for short cruises, giving our guests a rich and immersive experience in Italian culture – from hospitality to cuisine, and art, a distinct experience for a new way of travel.”

Since Costa announced the launch of cruising from Mumbai last year, they have seen interest and bookings from a wide variety of travel groups, which includes families, senior citizens, honeymooners and experiential holiday agencies. There has also been a lot of interest from corporates, who are looking set to book the first few sailings out of Mumbai. The built-in infrastructure on the ship makes it particularly easy for corporates to hold large events in one location. Theme-based bookings seem to be a trend, with groups who are keen to experience a special kind of holiday. For example, there is a cycle-themed sailing that is currently being promoted on this route.

Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoClassica that is part of the neo collection on the India itinerary. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment. 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 huge duty free shopping centre and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for those who love to unwind with a book.

Enhancing the cruising experience further is the gastronomy: the food & wine on offer is based on Italian regional menus with a choice of dishes representing different regions of Italy and proudly reflecting the country’s rich and unrivalled culinary heritage. In addition to this vast range, guests can also take advantage of tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes.

On board Costa neoClassica, guests will also have the chance to taste the real original Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria “Pummid’oro”: thanks to an agreement with the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Costa Cruises offers pizza prepared using only sourdough and selected ingredients such as San Marzano DOP tomato. In addition, cruisers will be able to enjoy a variety of Indian cuisine and the restaurants onboard are fully equipped to cater to special diet requirements of Indian, travellers, which includes Jain food.

Costa Cruises – to begin shorter, 3-4 night sailings in Indian waters

4 nights Mumbai – Kochi to start from November 2017

3 nights Kochi – Maldives to start from November 2017

Costa Cruises is the Italian Cruising Company part of the Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world.

CM Declares 2017 as “Visit Maharashtra” Year!

The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator recently to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”.

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Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal, Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture, and Pranay Jivrajka, founding partner, Ola, signed the MoU. Ganesh Shirsekar

 

Now, book an Ola cab and avail “special” treatment at the Siddhivinayak temple.

 

Siddhivinayak-Temple-In-Mumbai

The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator Wednesday to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”. State Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said: “Mumbai Darshan started with a bus, which is doing alright as more marketing needs to be done and now, we have a cab aggregator (Ola) on your palm … the tourism department will plan your experience.”

He added that from now, a tourist who wants to go to Siddhivinayak temple would get a special offer. “The tourist will be in the special list or special row. It would be the same in case of the museum and the zoo, which we can leverage for Ola,” Rawal said.

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The deal is not only expected to boost tourism but also produce “skilled” drivers who will double up “as guides” for passengers, he said. The minister added there would be “no discrimination among those selected as guides for the city”.

“The first batch of tourist guides has been sanctioned, 100 in Mumbai and 400 in Maharashtra,” Rawal claimed. He said more integrated tourist plans were in the pipeline for Mumbai and Maharashtra.

CM Devendra Fadnavis has declared 2017 as ‘Visit Maharashtra’ year and according to officials, this is the first MoU signed by the MTDC this year. Ola launched a special category in its interface called ‘Mumbai Darshan’. Each customisable package has a 10-hour or 100-km ride to Mumbai’s hotspots. The tours start at Rs 1,799.

Ola operates in nine cities in Maharashtra, and there are plans to introduce such tours there too. “There will be tie-ups with various destinations … take an Ola to an MTDC resort or Elephanta caves and avail of discounts … it is a win-win situation. In these taxis, special reading material will be available for travelers to read. For instance, where to eat good Maharashtrian food in the city,” said Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture.

 

Delhi – Goa round trip may cost Rs. 25,000

In the midst of a steady rise in air traffic demand, the Indian Navy wants the number of civilian flights allowed at the Goa Airport to be halved. The navy has sighted the requirement of airspace and facility for military exercise for drastically reducing the number of flights. The Goa international airport, the only airport in the state, is a naval facility where state owned AAI operates a civil enclave offering a few flying slots to airlines. Carriers such as IndiGo and Spice Jet have taken the matter to nodal aviation Ministry. They have argued that this forced reduction would render their capacity unutilized besides triggering a hike in airfare to this popular tourist destination. The airlines claimed that Delhi – Goa round-trip could double to 25,000 in case flight frequency is reduced.

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Goa is one of the few international airports that have witnessed high double digit growth in the past few years. As per the latest data compiled by Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Goa Airport saw 33.54 lakh passengers flying to and fro from Goa in the first eight months of FY 17 registered a growth of 27.9 per cent.  Most of the airlines, including Vistara and Air Asia India, have mounted flights to Goa, which is famous for its beaches. It receives nearly 30 Lakh visitors every year out of which 3.42 lakh are foreign tourists.

Source: FC

Sim Card for foreign tourists!

Ready to call Sim Card will be pre-loaded with Maps, tourism booklets

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The Home Ministry’s New Year Gift to its foreign tourists from 161 countries will be pre-loaded sim cards at 12 major airports of India after Home Minister formally launches it this weekend.

The ready to call sim cards will be available to foreign tourists arriving at airports in Panjim, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Lucknow, Delhi and Varanasi to begin with. The move is aimed at projecting India as a global tourist destination among foreign travellers as well as addressing the security concerns by equipping the tourists with mobile phones to make calls in case of any distress. The initiative has been planned in association with BSNL this weekend by distributing free pre loaded Sim Cards to foreign tourists arriving in India on e – Visa. The Sim Card will be given to the tourists at the immigration itself. This has been rolled out in phased manner with pilot in Delhi and few select cities next week,

Indeed great move for foreign tourists in India.

Source: ET

Bollywood Park, Dubai opens its doors tomorrow!

Come November 17, Circa 2016 and Dubai will open its doors to the first theme park in the world dedicated to all things Bollywood!

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The park is generously packed with action, adventure, romance, comedy, music, dance, flavour and emotion, in true blue Bollywood style.

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A celebration of Mumbai’s legendary film industry in five zones inspired by Bollywood blockbusters, visitors can enjoy live entertainment, stage performances and flamboyant cinematic rides in an experience unlike any other.

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For the first time ever, you will live, learn and experience the kaleidoscopic world of Mumbai’s famous film industry, in the world’s first Bollywood themed park covering 1.7million square feet.

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Bollywood Parks Dubai is the first park of its kind in the world. In five fascinating zones, you can experience different environments inspired by the greatest Bollywood blockbusters.

If you are planning a trip to Dubai, add this must visit attraction in your travel plans particularly if you are a Bollywood buff.

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Be prepared to be greeted by a vibrant display of cafés and live entertainment at the Bollywood theme park Dubai, all before the party starts at the Rock On!! Restaurant.

The Bollywood parks feature an array of cinema-centric rides and attractions based on movies starring some of the biggest names in Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, and Farhan Akhtar.

At Mumbai Chowk, you can stroll the streets of Mumbai with its famous food, shopping and party spirit. To add some thrill; join the mafia boss Don on a chase through the streets of Dubai

At Rustic Ravine, you can explore the spirit of rural India comes to life in a picturesque setting. Be part of never-ending adventures as played out in Dabangg, Lagaan and Sholay.

At Royal Plaza, you can experience visual splendour like never before at Rajmahal Theatre, the home of the region’s first Broadway-style Bollywood musical.

Here at Bollywood Film Studios featuring Hall of Heroes.  

If you want to learn how to create a blockbuster like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and meet your favourite Bollywood superheroes, such as Krrish and RA.One at the exciting Bollywood theme park, this is the place to be in.

This iconic landmark is the heart and soul of Bollywood Parks Dubai. With several shows per week, this world-class venue will play host to the region’s first Broadway-style Bollywood musical.

Don’t miss the chugging train, an ever-present image in Bollywood films, in this show, performers atop our train rooftop stage will dance to a range of popular songs that have romanticized the Indian train. The shows also celebrate the Taporis, the small time street hustlers of Mumbai, with their unique vocabulary and a cadence of speech that makes for great comedy and characterization.

Can you afford to miss the destination when in Dubai?

 

Glenfiddich and NDTV Good Times launch ‘The MAVERICKS’

Glenfiddich partners with NDTV Good Times for a short series: ‘The MAVERICKS’. Hosted by the elegant & eloquent Rahul Khanna, this three-part series will begin on 3rd September 2016 at 10 pm on NDTV Good Times, with subsequent episodes being aired on 10th and 17th September. The series brings to life the story of the maverick whisky makers of the Dufftown, from the Scottish Highlands. Whisky-making is the essence of Dufftown, and the world’s most award-winning single malt Scotch whisky comes from this little vibrant area.

Rahul Khanna at the Glenfiddich and NDTV Good Times Launch Mavericks Short Series Show
Rahul Khanna at the Glenfiddich and NDTV Good Times Launch Mavericks Short Series Show

A maverick in himself Rahul Khanna takes us through the story of legends who have introduced single malt whisky to the world. Set in quaint and picturesque Dufftown, the series begins from the ‘Valley of the Deer’, on the banks of the River Fiddich, where the founder William Grant nurtured a dream to make the ‘best dram in the valley’. This is where Glenfiddich got its name from.

Rahul takes the viewers through the journey of the William Grant and Gordon family into making Glenfiddich as the finest whisky the world has ever known. This traces the innovation and the pioneering outlook which this successful family run business embodies along with its’ contemporary global orientation that salutes the true maverick spirit the world over. The show was unveiled over an exclusive gathering at The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi.

Rahul Khanna, Bollywood actor said that “The humble origin of Glenfiddich is certainly awe inspiring for me since nobody would have ever thought that a small and quaint setting such as Dufftown would become an important part of the global whisky map. Additionally, this experience has left me richer not only in knowledge and appreciation for Glenfiddich, but also in spirit as it was a privilege to be a part of this exciting series. Whisky fans will certainly love to watch this carefully written story of the Mavericks of Dufftown”

Shweta Jain, Head of Marketing at William Grant & Sons said, “Glenfiddich has always been at the forefront of innovation; recognized as both the world’s most awarded single malt and the brand that challenged the norm by taking single malt beyond Scotland’s borders to create the category as it is known today. With this extraordinary series “The Mavericks” on NDTV Good Times, Glenfiddich brings to fore the amazing story of evolution of Malts and the various fascinating details that go into making the most valued spirit in the world & very much so in India”

GLENFIDDICH, INDIA

Glen

 Glenfiddich is a single malt Whisky owned and produced by William Grant & Sons Distillers Limited. An independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and still controlled by the fifth generation of the family. The Company distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s favourite single malt Glenfiddich®, the handcrafted range of The Balvenie® single malts and one of the world’s best loved blended Scotches, Grant’s®, as well as selected other spirits, including Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® and, most recently, Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky. Click on www.williamgrant.com for more information on the Company and its brands.

 

 

 

 

New GoHawaii App Offers Travel, Safety Advice for Enjoying the Hawaiian Islands

Fun and vital travel information about the Hawaiian Islands is now a lot easier to find for visitors always on the go with the launch of the new GoHawaii mobile app.

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Created by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), tourism agency for the State of Hawaii, the GoHawaii app is a one-stop mobile reference guide for travelers wanting fast, accurate and trustworthy information while exploring all that Hawaii offers.

Randy Baldemor, HTA chief operating officer, noted the travel destination app is the first one produced by the State of Hawaii. “The GoHawaii app is a fun way to learn about Hawaii while having travel and safety information that people need to know about and have access to at all times.”

Hawaii beaches

The GoHawaii app offers valuable travel tips for each of the six major Hawaiian Islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Island of Hawaii. App users will discover useful information to help them enjoy Hawaii’s wide variety of sites, activities, special events and cultural festivals statewide. A listing of essential Hawaii websites and phone numbers is also provided to direct travelers to other reliable sources for information and assistance.

Helping visitors experience Hawaii safely is a significant aspect of the GoHawaii app, which contains important advice for ocean activities, hiking and weather conditions on each island. “Visitors are outdoors all the time in Hawaii. This app helps keep them safe while they enjoy the beauty of our Islands,” said Baldemor.

A special app feature is the “Locomoji” – Hawaii-inspired emojis that can be shared with family and friends. Locomojis include images of an ukulele, aloha shirt, erupting volcano, shave ice, and Spam musubi, among many others.

The GoHawaii app is free and may be downloaded in the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store. It is offered in English, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Searider Productions, a career development program in arts and communication at Waianae High School on Oahu, created a video about the new app. To see the video, click here.

Source: PR Newswire