Rimjhim Gire Saawan “…And it rained that night”

Rim Jhim Gire Sawan…sung beautifully by India’s Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar and melodious Kishore Kumar brings out beauty of Mumbai on a rainy night. My account of …and it rained that night!

Mumbai welcomes monsoon with open arms as it gives respite from sweltering heat to Mumbaikars, rain showers bring relief and add beauty to Mumbai though it is not bereft of problems…traffic, water – logging, flight delays, restricted movements…what not!

Come monsoon and we start looking at gateways away from Mumbai to enjoy rains, but believe me Mumbai becomes beautiful in rains and I experienced that just the other day.

Mumbai rains1

I would like to share the experience:
From suburban Borivali to towny fort, I set out for a meeting in Fort area. Not very enthusiastic about going for a meeting on a rainy evening in Mumbai, I ventured out. It was raining all through during the train journey and as I reached Church Gate – it was full blown rain with no cabbie in sight. This is typical of Mumbai…cabbies want to enjoy rains with long distance passengers. Though it was evening time, but it had become absolutely dark by the time I reached meeting venue!

With no option in sight I started walking towards venue meeting…the breeze was awesome and the rains heavy. Fort area Horniman Circle – looked like Trafalgar Square in London, wide roads, greenery on both sides, epic statues, well lit old monumental building, office crowds in their colourful rain jackets and umbrellas, some of them even enjoying bhuttas, others enjoying piping hot tea on the road side stalls, vendours selling umbrellas – all these made monsoons very interesting sight. Though I was worried how would I reach home and it was already 8 o’clock with network going bust.

Watching all this and lost in my thoughts I reached the venue.

The meeting was boring, no where close to expectations, I came out and set out on reverse journey. After reaching there I thought why not catch a glimpse of Marine Drive…I walked for another 10 minutes with my good for nothing umbrella, heavy office bags, heavy rains & windy night… for the first time I listened to my heart, and walked towards Marine Drive, just to catch the glimpse of rain drenched Mumbai. I was already very late…still I showed courage to enjoy Mumbai rains in full fervor…And it rained all night..

mumbai_rainlead630  mum rains 5 mum rains 3 Mum rains 2 mum rains 6

It was unbelieving, sea was overwhelming with couples and children enjoying the rains, fearlessly walking on the parapet, completely drenched in huge seas waves…Marine Drive looked lovely as shown in Bollywood movies. Could not stay for long…but my day oops night was made…the trip looked not that bad! I think after a very long time I looked at Mumbai Monsoons positively – other wise I find them quite bugging, just bringing problems nothing else. No wonder Mumbai monsoons have inspired so many Bollywood numbers.  I got back home only to be welcomed with garam garam chai and pakoras with radio humming in the back-drop Rim Jhim Gire Sawan…And it rained all night!

I love month of Shravan as it announces rains, brings festivities like Teej, Rakshabandhan and particularly all Mondays of Sawan are considered very auspicious.

It was different this time – my spirits lifted, I was one with rains. Why don’t you too step out to enjoy monsoons on Marine Drive.

If can’t do that enjoy this video and you will know how right I am!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Arch of Ctesiphon, Chief (attraction) of Baghdad!

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MonaLisaNimrud-rev

Today I am going to tell you about a very unique tourist destination which is located in Iraq.

Iraq which has been struggling incessantly with its own internal and external wars, it seems now wants tourists on its land. And in its effort to woo tourists has decided to carry out an elaborate restoration of the ancient
Arch of Ctesiphon as a part to boost tourism to this once popular site. This famed sixth century monument, is world’s biggest brick built arch and the last structure still standing from the ancient imperial capital Ctesiphon has fallen into despair.

It lies in south of Baghdad, just a short distance from tomb of Salman Pak, one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed. Together, the two sites from what was once one of the Iraq’s main tourist attractions in the town of Madain.
But this was badly hit due to unrest of decades which once thriving tourist destination.

History of arch of Ctesiphon

Ayvan (or Taq)-a Kesra (the Palace of Khosrow), the most famous of all Sasanian monuments and a landmark in the history of architecture, now only an imposing brick ruin. While actually belonging to the city of Asbanbar (Asbānbar) on the east bank of the Tigris below Baghdad, the Ayvān-a Kesrā (also called Ayvān-e Madā’en) is usually associated with the name of Ctesiphon, which lie, immediately to the north of Asbanbar and is another of the cities which made up the multiple complex of Mada’en (Figure I ). Situated near the modern settlement of Salman-a Pak (Salmān-e Pāk), the Ayvan-a Kesra is the legendary throne hall of the Sasanian kings of kings.

The standing monument consists of a large ayvan (ayvān) 43.50m deep by 25.50m wide, penetrating a blind facade that stretches 46 m in either direction from the center line of the ayvan and stood originally 35 m above ground level to the height of its cornice (Plates II-III). The articulation of the blind-facade is formed by a series of six stories of brickwork, consisting of columns, entablatures, and arched niches. The ayvan is roofed by a parabolic vault, with the side-walls tapering from 7 m to 4 m and brought forward by slight corbelling below the impost in order to reduce the enormous width to be spanned. The true part of the vault, for which slanting lays of brick on edge were employed (permitting the construction of a vault without cantering), is confined to the upper third of the structure; this arch tapers from 1.80 m at the point of the spring line to 1.30 m at the crown.

The great arch dominates the layout, but the area behind the facade can be shown to be taken up by a pair of large rectangular and square chambers on either side (if one can assume symmetry of plan) which are separated from the axial ayvan by a vaulted corridor system. Access to the corridor is gained through a doorway which penetrates the facade. Behind the ayvan, and connected to it by a narrow door, is an arrangement of rooms which are remarkable for their comparatively small dimensions. Through a cross passage and the central chamber one can enter the large hall at the rear of the complex. It is a later addition and measures 26 m wide by 38 m deep.

The great arch and its facade have aroused comments that generally have acknowledged its impressive qualities. Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 255) considered it to be one of the marvels of the world. Tabarī (111, p. 320) reports that the caliph al-Mansūr was advised by his Persian minister Khāled b. Barmak not to attempt its demolition. This advice reflects both the building’s prodigious dimensions and its reputation as a monument.

Hope and wish after this restoration, Iraq once again regains its glory of offering tourist attraction to its visitors.

So if you are planning your next International trip in 2014, don’t forget to include Iraq for its Arch of Ctesiphon.

AMEN!

Today is World Tourism Day…June 9

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I Congratulate all avid travellers on World Tourism Day.

It is important to take few pledges this day to make our travel more enjoyable like:

1. Plan your trip in advance especially foreign ones.
2. Book your tickets, book your hotel, chart out sight seeing plan
3. Plan your social visits
4. Plan your shopping sojourns so that you make most of your trip.
5. Try travelling light, don’t take elaborate costumes as you are a tourist afterall.
6. Take medicines for common ailments, allergies
7. Not to forget taking Travel Insurance
8. Keep all your Passport / Visas intact
9. Take toileteries like Sun screen / sun block / moisturisers dont leave it for buying there
as it may leave you with some skin allergies
10. Carry comfortable footwear not the fancy ones

If you keet these things in mind, your trip will certainly be more enjoyable!

Happy tourism day!

You got to be 60 to be a tourist

India-retirement-destinations

This year’s statistics reveals that there is a growing trend in senior citizens in India who are taking up to tourism in a big way. Gone are the days when seniors in India doing tourism meant only Chardhaam yatra or pilgrimage to some temple or shrine. Now they are ready to explore exotic destinations like Greece, Europe, Alaska cruise, Rio Carnival, Switzerland, London – Paris, Amazon cruise etc. It is no longer restricted to big business tycoons or highly placed professionals but it is percolating to aspirational middle class who have time and wealth both at their disposal.

There were over 15 million outbound travellers from India in 2012, according to Ministry of tourism, of which 35% are senior citizens, above age of 60.

Pure tourist segment is growing at a fast clip of over 20% a year

According to a report by Amadues Frost & Sullivan there will be an increase of 250 million of over 65s across Asia Pacific countries by 2030 with main contributors of increase being India & China.

So what is pushing this trend?

1. Early retirement

2. Healthy Lifestyle

3. Ample money

Above all zest for life!

Updates>>>Hotels in Malaysia to watch our for!

Teluk Datai Kuala Lumpur
Teluk Datai Kuala Lumpur
Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Ritz Carlton Malaysia
Hotel Ritz Carlton Malaysia
Aloft Kuala Lumpur sentral
Aloft Kuala Lumpur sentral

If luxury & business is on your mind, don’t miss to look at these hotels while in Malaysia.

1.Starwood has introduced its Aloft brand to Malaysia with the opening of Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral. With 482 guest rooms, it is the world’s largest Aloft hotel. The ball room can host upto 1000 in a theatre settings and there are seven other function rooms. Sentral is the capital’s commercial and transport hub, with several multifunctional head quarters in the area.

2. A premier eco-resort is being developed on Langkawi by DRH. Teluk Datal is set amid the rainforest and will feature beach-front and cliff top villas overlooking the Andaman sea. An adjacent 18-hole golf course is currently being upgraded by Ernie Els, the British open 2012 champion.

3. The Ritz – Carlton, Kuala Lumpur’s luxury credentials were on the show with a product launch for Dior Asia Pacific’s line of cosmetics and

News Reel>>>Malaysia on the move!

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Kuala Lumpur Convention Center
Kuala Lumpur Convention Center

According to Konrad Ong, MD, Selangor based MICE Hubs Travel & Tours, “ the current situation in Malaysia reflects the vibrant state of the business events and incentive sector. I have been seeing strong confirmation from groups with Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan being targeted.”

Ong adds, the meetings, events and incentives scene in Malaysia has been transformed over the past two years, thanks to the efforts of MyCEB – the country’s convention bureau and Malaysia Tourism. This has had more effect on inbound tourism, with travel now one of the top five revenue drivers for Malaysia. So the industry is doing well.”

So why it is doing well?

The upgrading of Kuala Lumpur’s infrastructure is also making it easier for conference organizers and incentive travel planners to market both the city and Malaysia. When it comes to modernity of the city, Kuala Lumpur is one that fits the bill perfectly. The vicinity surrounding Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is constantly undergoing developments to better serve business visitors.

New hotels such as Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, the efficient light rail transit system and the 42 Kms of elevated, air-conditioned pedestrian walk ways are examples of developments which make Kuala Lumpur an iconic and ideal city for business tourism.

Ancient Cairo, Modern Dubai – finely blended in this unique trip!

dubai_1dubai_2egypt1egypt2Are you planning a trip to Cairo, Egypt or Dubai, UAE? This post will give you the firsthand account of what can keep you regaled in these places. Really interesting and informative account by my friend Mohini – She was gracious enough to share her experience to Egypt and Cairo.

Recently Mohini flew with her husband Anish to Cairo, Egypt and Dubai for her maiden trip to these places. What could have been better that this trip happened as Anish had gathered substantial Air Miles on his foreign trips that it covered major part of their travel.

Firsthand account by Mohini & Anish >>>

“Recently I along with my husband went to Dubai via Egypt. Actually we had lot of Air miles on our United Airlines account which were good enough to cover a major part of our travel to Dubai. And then came an interesting turn when we went ahead and actually booked our air-tickets. It turned out that the flights we ended up booking from United Airlines website were of Egypt Air, and on both legs (Mumbai-Dubai and vice-versa) we had a layover in Cairo, Egypt. The flight from Mumbai to Dubai had a 9.5 hrs halt at Cairo Airport, incidentally from which the Pyramids of Giza are close. We were actually getting a chance to visit this oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, thanks to this long halt. There was no way we were going to pass this opportunity…

…Our visit to Egypt was quite memorable, though a very short one lasting few hours. On arrival at the Cairo airport and after clearing immigration, we were greeted by a travel agent who promised to show us as much of Cairo/Giza as was possible in the limited time. We set about our tour and headed straight for the pyramids. To make the visit more interesting, our tour guide suggested taking a camel-ride to the pyramids once we were in Giza and in the vicinity of the Pyramids. We saw the three biggest pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus, as well as the Great Sphinx. The Sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head and stands on the Giza Plateau. Next we took a one-hour sunset cruise in Nile, which is the longest river in the world. Unfortunately we could not go inside any of the pyramids, as that entry is restricted to certain time slots and we could not make it in time. But all in all, it was great to see these manmade wonders of the ancient world. We made a promise to ourselves to make a trip to Egypt again sometime down the line and see the pyramids from inside.”

I will highly recommend Egypt to those who are fond of history and ancient stuff.

“Our next and final destination was Dubai – an exact opposite of Egypt. Egypt has so much history, whereas Dubai is a very new and modern city. We loved Dubai – all its aspects including the nice wide roads, orderly traffic and the overall cleanliness. For those who might think of Dubai only as a shopping destination, they might want to reconsider. We were in Dubai only for 3.5 days, and wished we had more time there. We took the desert safari, which was an amazing experience. First our guide/driver took us to a place where we rented and drove a dune buggy in the desert. It was quite safe, since the buggy had seat-belts both for the driver and passenger, the vehicle was sturdy enough and we were allowed to ride/drive only in a limited area. And then we had the most thrilling experience riding in the Land Cruiser, thanks to our driver – the further drive through the desert sands in order to reach an Arabic camp at the other end was extremely adventurous…

… The Arabic camp where we were taken was very interesting – they had a Henna artist, then we could try on Arabic costume and take our snaps, Sheesha smoking (they call it Hubbly-Bubbly) , witnessed local performances / dances of the Arab world such as Tanura dance and belly-dancing.. and last but not the least a lavish buffet spread catering to both veg and non-veg foodies along with unlimited Arabic tea and sweets. Next day we took a city tour where again we had an excellent guide with us who showed us most of the landmarks / important places in the city including the spice markets and Gold market, referred to as spike souk and gold souk. We saw the 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel, drove through the wonderful Palm Jumeirah island and the Atlantis Hotel at the tip of this island, saw the Dubai creek, Dubai Marina , Dubai museum and many such places. In the evening we took a dinner cruise, which is called Dhow cruise – Dhow being the large boat. Next day we went into the tallest structure in the world which is Burj Khalifa and were able to go till the 124th floor – that is where they have the observation deck. The view from there was amazing….

… Dubai has many malls, but the two we visited and should not be missed are Mall of Emirates and the Dubai Mall. Mall of Emirates has an indoor snow-park and the largest indoor ski-resort in the world. As of Dubai Mall, I believe that is the largest mall in the world. Along with all top brands, this mall has a very big Aquarium/Oceanarium. But the highlight of this mall is the musical fountain show, which starts at 6 pm, and thereafter it takes place every half an hour. Though the actual show lasts for 5 min, the wonderful synchronization of the fountain to the music is something you have to experience for yourself.”

Must Enjoy In Malaysia

Redang Island Malaysia
Redang Island Malaysia
Breathtakingly beautiful Langkawi
Breathtakingly beautiful Langkawi
Langkawi Island in Malaysia
Langkawi Island in Malaysia
What could have been a better destination than Malaysia, this summer to take your family along? Home to rainforests, melting pot of cultures, exotic cuisines and incredible shopping destination with – Malaysian Mega Sale…Malaysia is a place to be in. If you are tourist, this is the time, if you are shopper, July is the time, if you are a fun seeker, anytime is good time. You can visit Malaysia Tourism site: http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/Master/Web-Page/About-Malaysia for most updated information on right from bookings, flights, hotels, events, festivals, shopping destinations, sight-seeing …what not!

For adventure lovers, Malaysia has lots to offer. Prominent one being World’s largest cave chamber – Mulu National Park, Sarawak. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is a home to an impressive collection of natural treasures, including razor sharp limestone spikes called the Pinnacles and Sarawak Chamber. The deer cave has the world’s largest cave passage as well as a unique rock formation with a silhouette that resembles the side of Abraham Lincoln.

A walk through prehistoric rainforest Taman Negara Pahang is recommended. Estimated to be over 150 million years old, Taman Nigara is one of the oldest rainforests and home to a visit to a vast diversity of flora and fauna.

Wreck Diving – Redang Island, Terengganu – Pulau Redang is an enchanting island approx. 45 Kms off the coast of Terrangganu. Its clear waters contain hundreds live coral species – ranked as some of the best in the world and thousands of marine species including manta rays, sting rays and shark.

Last but not the least – legend – Langkawi , KedahPart of an archipelago of 99 tropical islands, Langkawi Islands is as much shrouded in age-old myths and legends as it is filled with natural beauty. It was accorded the Global Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007 for its diverse geographical heritage which dates back to more than 500 million years.

Isn’t your Dil Maange More!

Must ENJOY experience in Malaysia

What could have been a better destination than Malaysia, this summer to take your family along?  Home to rainforests, melting pot of cultures, exotic cuisines and incredible shopping destination with – Malaysian Mega Sale…Malaysia is a place to be in.  If you are tourist, this is the time, if you are shopper, July is the time, if you are a fun seeker, anytime is good time.  You can visit Malaysia Tourism site:

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