Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Green travel in India

Travelling ethically on a land mass as vast as the Indian subcontinent has been made so much easier with the recent creation of the Green Circuit (the greencircuit.net). Five local tour operators in India and Nepal, all specialists in deep-rooted community-based responsible-tourism initiatives, have collaborated to provide a wide range of natural and cultural heritage trips. From the Blue Yonder, in Kerala (theblue yonder.com), to Social Tours, in Nepal (socialtours.com), experiences vary greatly, including a yak safari into the trans-Himalayan deserts, monitoring elephant-migration corridors in eastern Himalaya and learning traditional drumming with villagers living along Kerala’s River Nila.


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More: Irishtimes.com

Living gods of Tamil Nadu

Elephant carved out of a monolithic structure at Mahabalipuram. Built Circa 600 AD

Few things in India express the continuous presence of the gods better than the ancient, massive temple complexes of Tamil Nadu, says Edward Wong.

Walk through any city there and what catches your eye first are the soaring temple entrances known as gopurams, sacred skyscrapers decorated with a phantasmagoria of Hindu statues. Thousands of such statues adorn the Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple in Madurai, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India.

“Here, we have a proverb: ‘Where there is a temple, people can live,’ ” said Ram Kumar, a guide I had hired in Madurai. “The temple is the center of a person’s living space.” More...

What it is to be in Ladakh

Deepa Suryanarayan has some advice for us, back from a trip to Ladakh:

I will always remember Ladakh for its colours. The mountains, rivers, lakes, gompas (Buddhist monasteries) and even the quaint little houses have distinctive hues.

There’s an oft-quoted Ladakhi saying, or should I say, warning: Anyone whose head is in the sun and feet are in the shade in Ladakh will endure both heatstroke and frostbite at the same time. You’d do well to heed it. More...

Goa planning a spruce up?

India’s most popular tourist destination these days is pitted against Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka, which are preferred destinations for many international tourists. Goa is now looking for private players to develop projects on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“We need to create better facilities and provide more than just beaches for tourists. If anybody has an idea, then I invite them to come and talk to the government. We are keen to develop such facilities,” said minister for tourism Francisco Xavier Pacheco. This includes a proposal to set up amusement parks, a golf course and even promote medical tourism, all of which attract a holidaymaker to come again to Goa.More...

Discovering Thailand

On my first day in Thailand an array of colors, sounds, sights, textures, and most particular of all, tastes, bombarded my senses. I remember we sat around a circle at a neighborhood park to practice our Thai and for snacks we had a delicious assortment of fried worms, ants, maggots, and other local delicacies. More @ Matador.com

 

Tryst with a Ticket-checker on Indian rail

Along with the honour of being the world’s second largest Railway, the Indian Railway also has the distinction of having an abundance of starved TTEs (Travel Ticket Examiners).

Dressed in black, these lean fellows look bright and gay at the start of a journey, keeping both eyes open for prospect victims, in their kingdom for the night. As the night descends, and the train leaves the station, the gentleman in black is the most sought after person on the whole train. He struts through the coaches with a busy look, all the while assessing the number of potential feeders. ‘He is a jolly good fellow… he’s a jolly good fellow…, and so say all the travellers! They sing and dance to his tune, in hope of securing a sleeper berth for the night. More...

Destination India!

In Urdu, we'd say, 'der aaye durust aaye' :-) to this... Incredible India has identified 20 great destinations to promote and develop. This is great news to us desi travellers, plus a new opening for international tourists to explore in India.

The official word is that the Indian Tourism Ministry has identified 20 mega destinations for infrastructure development, since India is witnessing encouraging trends in the tourism sector with foreign tourist inflows touching 5 million mark in the year 2007.

Domestic tourism is also a key driver. The “Incredible India” campaign has led to immense interest and awareness and is likely to result in significantly larger numbers of tourists traveling to and within the country. All this requires infrastructure, particularly at the key destinations / circuits. 
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