Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 127

~1 00 December 2010

YOUR TRIP STARTS HERE!



12MPCamera

ev Shoo1 edit.

BID Capture & share HD videos

II 12MP Camera

IIIDI Capture & share HD videos ~ Edit your films on the move

EdIt

Share with your friends

~

~ ~

.g

~ www.nokia.(o.in/n8

Free navigation with Ovi maps

\I Nokia N8

t youramazlng moments, sndshare,

zing technology. What will you do with it?

It's not about the pictures you carry home, it's about the memories. With the new Nokia NS, which comes with a 12 Megapixel Camera, you just don't capture pictures but you capture memories in high definition. You can also edit and share your pictures on the go.

The New Nokia N8.

It's amazing. technology. What will you do with it?

NOKIA Nseries

.. -

. ",

EDITOR.S LETTER

CHECK IN

I AM NOT A huge one for quotable quotes but I de.light in one that

I read recently on a friend's e-mail sign off: "Life may not bethe party we hoped for; but while we're here we should dance." I totally agree. And in this spirit we have decided to do a fun filled celebrations issue for December.

Does the idea of partying change for each one of us over the years?

I would say, yes. Early days in journalism we were launching a city supplement and Page 3 was my beat. I would work hard till night and then dash off to wild parties till wee hours of the morning. An hour's sleep and we were back to work the next day. Today I wouldn't do it if I was paid a zillion bucks.

Increasingly we find people divided into two clear groups when it comes to New Year Eve celebrations: To Party and Not To Party .. We have come up with something very clever: options for bothl You want to party? We have the most fabulous ones lined up for you India and around: Cabaret performances at glitzy Macau; Full Moon Parties in

T · t Thailand; Countdown Carnival in Hong Kong, and, of course Goa,

.1 me' .0 where we find you the latest venues ... For those who dare do it

different, check out our suggestions: Desert nights in Oman; Camp out

P a rty on an island in Malaysia; Bungee jump off the Macau Tower or simply start 2.011 on a peaceful spiritual note in Anuradhapura, Sri lanka. The Plus List is 12 swanky sky bars in Asia. The view is to die for. The cocktails, heady. The mood, giddy. This is THE way to get high on NYE.

Some great travel features are lined up. We do a circuit aboard the super luxurious Maharajas' Express. After eyeballing tigers in Bandhavgarh and dining Oudh Dastarkhwan style with Writer Director Muzaffar Ali in lucknow, Senior Associate Editor Aditi SenGupta's tales converted many of us to train vacations. Snow white beaches and picture perfect sea shots, that's the Andamans. But Assistant Editor Pallavi Pasricha comes back hooked on to their unhurried pace. Back to the madness of issue closing in office was, of course, but a rude awakening .. I discover a slice of Europe in the heart of Canada, the very French Montreal which chomps on the very American bagels to come up with a complex cocktail of sublime flavours ..

And, in this issue, we open the doors for you to the magical Czech Republic. Stunning architecture-Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Cubistl-and cobbl'ed bylanes combine with a buzzy cosmopolitan city. That's Prague. An excellent publictransport system gives you access to the enchanting suburbs such as Zizkov, Vinohrady, Smfchov and Holesovice, Go explore. Or dance, dance, dance, till you drop .. Happy Holidays!

RITU AGARWAL ROHATG

Send in yo udeedback to.ritu .JOhatgi@jntoday.com

INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DEOEMBER 2010 5

Grootbos Nature Reserve, with its two 5-star lodges and fuxmy accommodation; is sJ1cctacularl)l situated on. the (yubos and forest clad hills overlooking the whale-watching haven of Wafker Bay. Crootbo« has carved a unique niche ill the upmarket ceo-lodge sector by specializing in tfte Cape region OfSoL/th Africa's world-renowned {lora and marine biodiversity. This multi-award winniNg 1750 ha reserve is home to more tkan 740 d ifferet1t species ofpfal1ts, offers warm hospit« fity, excellen t C/I isine, [ine Sout It. Africa n wines and is a I/tJ t /I re lover IS paradise.

The Cape fyobos is renowned as a flora biodiversity hotspot twd for marc than a decade GrootbosIias promoted "its beauty, interpreted its intricate stories> researched some of its man:y secrets aud developed a suit of pro/eets [ceased on conserving this exceptional natural region. Central to the ethos of Groothos is that our guests discover the regions natural wonders and directly contribute to its conservation and tlpliftmem ofollt focal communities.

TIM Tabk Bay Hotel (Cape Town) Nestled on the southern rip of Africa between RobbM Isla.hdand Capt Town '5 legendary Table Mo.untain, you'll discover the Table BayHo/e/. Renownedlor its mIlgnifice.nt #(o.r, supreme service and unriv.alled.beauty,you'll soon find yourselflost in glamour and.decadence. Ma.uthe Table Bay you.r home, as you explore. South Africa's most vibrant and piclu.resque city. Pristine bfllcila, world-"Class vineyards and sump.tuo.us feasts (rotnlocal bisttosare a .tnoment away, ina place where. legends are born.

Paula Resort Hotel 12 Spa (Knsyna) Set cm a stunning award"winning private estate in Knsyna known for its dramatic scenery, ancient ind{ge.ft().u.s(orests, bre.at.htakingtdews of the Indian Oc~. With its gourmet cuisine., sumptuous accommodation, world~classsp,a, and vast range of outdoor activitles, the hotel offers guests an essentially African experience in a relaxed envitonment.

The Palaceoftbe Lost City (Sun City)

The Palace is a lavish testamen: (0 taste, style and, above all, to imagination. Set in the stark ruggedness of the Pilanesberg region of the North ~st Province. ltie surrounded by mouJlIaim and the ufltamed maiesty of the Africanbushveld and iust a wedg~sluJt .away from the Pilanesberg NationalPark where Ihe Big 5 roam fruly:

The Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa. Oohan.ttesburgJ

As ap.riv.ate guest or business traveller; let the Saxon .treat you to personalised service ami unp4r'ttlleled South African hospitality. The crime de .lacr~me is the addition of thteenew Villas nestling in the lush indigenous gardens, e.ach with its own private terrace and plufI;:ge pool and two of the Villas hillle a private spa sujte~

Singita Game Reset'ws (Kruger &Sabi Sands game reserves) Operator of luxury game lodges, comprises an illustrious portfolio of awardwinning safari destinations in Southern and East Africa, acc1aitned by a.ll authoritative ift.ternational travel polls. The balance of hospitality, conservation and community is w.hatsets $ingita apart, .and .has been at its core. from the very beginning.

For ~eward.inf 1ra..ve..l ExperLe.nces ~. 1emM Gf.tersCOniact

leisure

luxury tourconsultant.s

# 011-2588 n04 experts@lelsureways.ln

~ (i)

'1' h., T l-J, hi., 'R ... Y nil PALACI

trd-niE lDUcilt"AT WNofJlr

S;'-'j;to-..

Q ....... £ RES E ft. ES

THE ONLY 'NDlAN TOUR OPERATOR WlTH OfFlCE IN

SOUTH AfR'CA

..

PEZULA

JU.SOU HOTEL" ,PA 11' s. """,",,,, ""'fN'IICIUt~

PLUS PROMOTION

PANASONIC LUMIX DIGITAL CAMERA F3

Say Cheese

YOu've just come back from a wonderful holiday and have countless pictures to cherish those memories. _ But what if those pictures are not clear? Don't worry. Panasonic has come out with a camera to suit all purposes-whether it's snowing, raining,in sharp sun or inside a dark cave. The 12.1-megapixel Panasonic LUMIX DMC-F3 camera has a number of features that allow you to take beautiful pictures. The camera has a 28mm wideangle and a 4x optical zoom lens .. It comes in three colours-blac.k, silver and a bright pink. Here are some exciting features of this camera.

AUTO SCENE MODE

The Auto Scene Mode has advanced detection functions that work automatically,. making it easier to take perfect photographs. The Intelligent ISO Control is there to see if there is

any subject movement. It prevents the

moving object to

be blurred by

The new and stylish Panasonic camera is loaded with interesting features

adjusting the shutter speed and ISO settings. So even if you've taken a picture which was slightly shaken, this mode wil.1 prevent it to appear that way, making the photograph clearer.

FACE DETECTION

This mode can detect the faces that you capture .. So when you click a portrait, the focus is accurate and appropriate exposure is given to the face. This mode will never give you red eyes. These are digitally corrected and backlight compensation automatically activates if they happens.

INTELLIGENT SCENE SEliECTOR

This feature automatically selects whichever of the five scene modes-Macro, Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait and Night Scenery-suits the shooting situation so you don't have to bother with the

~;~;;:::~:::- ... :::::::::;~~~~s:ettingS each time.

HIGH DEFINITION MOVIE RECORDING

You can even record videos in this. The DMC-F3 can record motion images in high-definition speed. The pixel mixed readout method enables bright motion-image recording even in low-light settings.

SCENE MODE

The Scene Mode lets the camera make the optimal settings for you automatically. so anybody can take superb photos with ease. The versatile Scene Mode range. which handles just about any situation and subject type, is a major Panasonic LUMIX feature. To make it even simpler to use, the icons and display are designed for easy visibility. There are more than 25 modes to choose from.

ZOOM LENS

The camera features a 28mm wide-ang.le 4x optical zoom lens with f/2.8 brightness. In simple words you can capture a large group of people indoors or expansive architectural structures and scenes with dynamic width and rich perspective .. The 4x optical. zoom lens captures beautiful shots of people or landscapes with 12.1- megapixel fun resolution. Use the Extra Optical Zoom when you want to pull the subject in just a little closer.

EXTENDED BATTERY

Despite its slim body, the extended battery life of the DMC-F3 lets you take about 220 picture shots when you charge it once. This means you don't have to bother with charging .it again and again.

CAMERA SCREEN

The camera's large 2.7-inch LCD features high 230,000- dot resolutionlnteiligent LCD. It automatically adjusts the brightness in eight steps according to shooting conditions. This LCD provides sharp, clear images in virtually all shooting situations, ranging from nighttime to bright daylight scenes. And it lets you share the fun of viewing images with family and friends. The high-angle mode makes the display extremely easy to view from a low angle, for example, when taking photos by raising your hand upward to capture the subject over the crowd.

MAP As. 7.,990/

LUIMIX

mcrr ... l.:~.IoJiIeYI.

Other Features

SHOOTING INFO DISPLAY Various modes such as shooting, flash, LCD, AF, battery power and more are displayed. When the shutter button is pressed halfiNay, the focusing condition, aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity are also displayed.

FOGUS RANGE DISPLAY

The allowable shooting range is displayed above the zoom bar This lets you re-adjust the distance between the camera and the subject to shoot sharp pictl,Jres.

REAL-TIME HISTOGRAM/HIGHLIGHT DISPLAY

This graph, which can be displayed on the LCD as you line up the shot, shows the status of the exposure and contrast in real-time. When Highlight Display is turned on, overexposed parts are indicated by a flashing display while reviewing or playing back.

AF MODE

Once you focus on the subject, AF Tracking automatically tracks it until you press the shutter button. When you're taking pictures of an active subject like children or pets. this function eliminates the need to press the shutter button halfiNay down repeatedfy to readjust the focus.

BLUHINDICATOR

The Blur Indicator lets you confirm that the camera

is precisely detectjng

the handshake and motion blur.

Czech Republic

POSTCAR S

FROM PRAGUE

Centuries old architecture, ancient walkways combine with cheerful cafes and a spirited people to make Prague a must visit. We suggest a quirky contrast-capture the vibrant spirit of this ageless city with a new-age cellphone camera!

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Vintage cars at Old Town Square in Prague; Christmas shopping in the Old Town Square ; the Prag.ue Castle as seen across the Vltava River

Street artists and painterS add to the charm of the city

Capture these images on the brand new Nokia N8

---KIA

Connecting People

N

CANADA

Bohemian and traditional. Hip and picture perfect, Montreal is a slice of Europe in the heart of Canada. Ritu Ag,arwal Rohalgi is besotted

si10pping

38 GOOD BUYS

Stuff to pick up when you travel

42 DE LUXE

Indulge like there's no tomorrow

46 HAUTE STUFF

Festive decorations for home

travel desk

22 NEWS + UPDATES

Airlines, destinations and more

26 TRADE TALK

News from the travellrade

28 ON BUSINESS

Updates for frequent travellers

32 VALUE VACATIONS

Hoi offers, good deals

[ Nagaland swings to the beat of the ]

Hombill Festival while the dream iSland, S,. of Bahamas hosts a film festival 30

PAR T Y S

NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS THE PLUS LIST

1b party or not to party? If you vote Party in the sky .. Quite literally. Head

for the first, then go by our list of to a swanky sky bar in some of Asia's

happening places to kick off 2011. most happening cities, unwind with

And we also give you plenty of innovative cocktails and let the views

options if you like to do it different. and design do the talking. Diya Kohli

Nishat Fatima spoils you for choice raises a toast

54 HOTELS

Hyderabad's newest des.igner hotel, an old favourite in Kozhikode and

a smart option near Mumbai airport

COVER PHOTOGRAPH; OINOD.IA PHOTO LIBRARY

MACAU GOVERNMENT TOURIST OFFICE, lndia

New Delhi 72, Todorrnol Rood, New Delhi. J 10001. Indio.

Phone: 011.41669477 Fox: 011·23351503 E-mail: anium@mgtoindio.in

Enjoy different melodies from music festivals to street performances, listen to the roaring engines from the Guia Circuit, applause and cheers for the sound and colors of the fireworks.

MACAU GOVERNMENTTOURIST OFFICE www.macautourism.gov.mo

Mumboi

504, Morine Cftornbers, 43, New Morine lines, Mvmboi _ 400020. Indio. Phone; 022·22000262 Fox; 022·22070131 f·rnoil , nido@mgtoindia.in

THAILAND

Indulge in a bout of island hopping, on a cruise, next time you are in Phuket. Rediscover Thailand's most popular beach destination through Deep Pahwa's refreshing images

explore

84 ANDAMAN& NICOBAR ISLANDS

Pristine white beaches are not the only charm of these islands. It is also where the word 'hurry' doesn't exist. Pallavi Pasricha and Ritam Banerjee find their own pace here

lifestyle 64 GOLF

Playa round at the Irish links course of BaHybunion

11: 2 DINING OUT

Indian metros to go all Asian

11: 5 ON YOUR PLATE

News from the food bazaar

116 ON THE GO

Test drive the Hyundai Santa Fe

11: 8 TECHNOLOGY

Gizmos to sui! your style

columns

48 TRAVEL LOG

Jug Suraiya's take on travel

62 PLUS ITINERARY

Satisfy your Seoul

120 HUMOUR

Vijay Verghese, always, has the last laugh

1 24 LAST STOP

Sivamani drums up a travel beat

[Find out how the Queen travels in ]

London. Meet superheroes in Singapore. Turri to CITY Updates 50

expenence 90 MAHARAJAS' EXPRESS

You haven't lived life king size until you have spent a week aboard Maharajas' Express .. Aditi SenGupta journeys into a world that she has seen only in coffee table books

94 DRIVING HOLIDAY

A long weekend break translates

into a road trip into the familiar, unpretentious terrain of Himachal Pradesh for Aditi SenGupta and Deep Pahwa. A newly launched hatchback adds an extra element of fun

1 08 THE SICHUAN HOT POT

It's a cuisine that has many sweet, sour and spicy notes, and is l.ikely to leave a sharp, vivid memory. Be warned: Sichuan food is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Deepali Kumar discovers it in China

A STAR ALLIANOE MEMBER

SWISS Business:

A full-length bed designed to free your imagination.

Enjoy ultimate sleeping comfort in SWISS Business. You can now personalise your space aboard your flight. Sink into your full-.length bed, adjust the seat's air cushions to your preference, turn on the massage function and let yourself drift into sweet dreams. For bookings and information, visit swiss.com, call 1-800..:209-7240/ (022) 6713-7200 or contact your travel agent.

For an even more exclusive experience, try our suite above the douds in SWISS First.

-D-A-IL-Y -FL-IG-H--T=-S ~FR::;O:7M;-;. ~~U~M~B~Ajl\

AND DELHI TO ZURIC I

I

COMFORT, SWISS MADE.

SWISS.COM

CHECK IN

FOCUS MORE ON ADVENTURE SPORTS

The article on caving in Meghalaya 'Deep Impact' by Kongkona Sarma in the November issue was rather interesting. I made by children, 10 and 15 years old, read it and it has raised their interest in this activity. In fact now they have started pestering me to plan a holiday there during their summer holidays. Their exposure is so far limited to just rock climbing and river rafting during summer camps, but a cave expedition promises to be

a different experience altogether. Meghalaya seems a very interesting destination to explore. Besides Shillong there are other places also worth visiting.

Please continue writing more on adventure sports and places where we can go with children for holidays which will allow them to do more than just sightseeing., eating and spending hours before a TV screen. Such activities always add a lot of value to the vacation.

-Mary D'Souza, Pondlcherry

II Letters to the editor should be senr with the writer's flame end address to; THE EDITOR, INDIA TOOAY TRAVEL PLUS, Lifestyle GrouP. 9th Floor, Videocon Tower. E·1. .Ihandswalan Extension. New Delhi·110 055;

e-ma]!: itplus@intoday.comandeditortravelpIUs@intoday.com

l.etters chosen for publication may be edited lor reasons otspace and cl'arity.

To subscribe to India Today Travel Plus online •. Iog on to www.indiatodaygroup.com

1 6 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

MAILBOX

VISUAL APPEAL

Your magazine has a good visual appeal. I have always found good photographs with all the articles.

In this issue the photo essay on Florence and photographs in the accompanying articles, like Kerala, South Africa and Croatia were really stunning. Being rather keen on photography myself, I tend to see the pictures before I actually begin reading the magazine.

-Tony Fernandes,

TIME FOR GOLF

I am a keen golfer and always pick up your magazine to see which is the latest golfing destination you have written about. Sometimes I manage to combine a weekend of golfing with work or vacation at some of these places. The latest one you have written about in the November issue, the Sand Barrens Golf Club in Atlantic City, sounds truly enticing, and if possible I plan to do some golfing there next time I am on the east coast of the US.

-Rishab Sharma,

HOLIDAYING IN LESSER KNOWN PLACES

I have been reading fndia Today Travel Plus for more than five years, and I really admire the fact that you manage to write about at least one offbeat destination every month. The last time there were two-Dubrovnik in Croatia and Sekal in Kerala. After visiting more popular countries of Europe-France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey-I want to explore the lesser known. but equally charming places of the continent. Some of the smaller countries in central and east Europe seem really fascinating. In fact, at times these places make for more interesting holidays as compared to the more popular tourist destinations. In India I would like to visit the North-East, Ladakh and Lakshadweep. Hopefully these plans should be fulfilled soon.

-Aira Bahl, New Deth

CONTINUE WRITING MORE ON ADVENTURE SPORTS AND PLACES WHERE WE CAN GO WITH CHILDREN FOR HOLIDAYS WHICH WILL ALLOW THEM TO DO MORE

THAN JUST SIGHTSEEING AND EATING

SuqarFree rv Natura

Zy'duS Wellness

Low Catone Sugar SrlbSlltu/1?

Sweets can now figure in your diet plan.

cay on a diet while you eAjay 5 eats with Sugar Free Natura A trealt~ alternative fo

sug~r;, it tastes a]\d: s .es j.Q.s nKesug<!r.

Wh"ich means you carl prepare sweets the way ou've alw'Ws~rttade them. So start your diet loaywithout sacriftdng your sweet tooth,

Meetha bhl. Diet bhl.

www.sugarfreenatura.com

r;'I No, !ugir, ~,dd;.d in the, prodUL,t. Conl::tlllns, "',tmCi2l1,sweeum,er ~!I'1d1 ~or calcrte eeeeeteus. I:.I~OL recommended [or ehildrI!!!J .... "Zere ~alorle:$ rrom '5.!-Jcralose o,['1ly.

,Rediffusion- Y&R/Mum!ZC/l744

MAILBOX

CHECK IN

BEACH GETAWAY

I live in Hyderabad and usually end up spending my weekends here, though ideally I would love to head out of the city .. Thanks to India Today Travel Plus I got to know Visakhapatnam is a good option to explore. And the best part is that now the season is starting. Nothing can beat the thrill of going to a beach and spending hours there.

I love the water so this is a perfect getaway for me.

-Meghna Khanna, Hyderabad

A TRAVELLER'S POINT OF VIEW

I watch Ian Wright's show regularly and absolutely love it. It was a pleasant surprise to read his interview in the magazine .. It's good to get a perspective on travel from someone who has travelled allover the globe ..

I agree with him that the best part about travelling is meeting people.

I wish I could travel more, just the way he does.

-Ankush Suri, 8anga/ore

THE PLUS LIST '10 MUST-DO LUXURY EXPERIENCES' WAS REALLY GRIPPING.

EVEN THOUGH MOST OF US CANNOT AFFORD THESE TRIPS, IT WAS GREAT READING ABOUT THEM

BEKAL IN BOMBAY

I am a movie buff and I always enjoy

one that has been shot in a _ldW:;:t:'_'

dramatic location. This is why

I admire Mani Ratnam. Location plays an important role in his films. One of my favourite Mani Ratnam films is Bombay, which has a beautiful song picturised at Kerala's Sekal Fort. The seascape around the fort is haunting. The article on Bekal in India Today Travel Plus November 201 o issue rekindled my admiration for the place that I would like to visit. When that will happen I do not know. But I will definitely climb to the top of

the fort and sing aloud Tu Hi Re ...

-Jarshad MVK, Chenna!

EXPENSIVE VACATIONS

The Plus List' 10 Must-Do Luxury Experiences' in the November issue was really gripping. Even though m of us cannot afford these kind of but it was great reading about them. I had a million dollars to spare I wou love to travel to space. Nothing can beat a visit up there. Even touring the world in a private jet would be a dream come true. Reading this

article made me envious of all the people who can afford such super expensive holidays.

-Jaya Rai, I\/,,,,nn,'"n"Q

FANTASTIC ENJOlj ~r~F51 ~~ST

FOCUS ON OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS

ALL ABOUT LUXURY

The accent on luxury in the November issue of India

Today Travel Plus made for some very indulgent reading.

I enjoyed reading about the presidential suite at The Oberoi, Mumbai and luxurious holidays at destinations like South Africa and Udaipur.

FINE ART OF DINING

Just like cooking is an art, so is dining. And to be able to appreciate good food one needs to cultivate certain qualities. Now that is something AD Singh has perfected. He is the man who has given India some of its best dining spots and he also knows his food and wine very weill really enjoyed reading his article 'Haute Plates' on his favourite restaurants last month.

-Rita Sahaney, Mumbai

-Rashmi Durg, Mumbai

MORE BUDGET OPT,IONS PLEASE

Your Food-Drink section tends to focus on upmarket restaurants. But very often we also like to sample the food served by the middle range restaurants, partly also because they are more affordable. I was wondering if you could include at least one restaurant in every issue where the budget for a family of four for example would be around ?1 ,000. Most of the ones you write about are at least double the cost.

1 8 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

-Aroonima Basu, Kolkata

HOTELS s, RESORTS

introducing

mooern

uxury

Experience the new Westin hotels in India.

The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi • The Westin H yderabad Mindspace • The \Vestin Mumbai Garden City • The Westin Pune Koregaon Park • The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa

visit westin.com/india

spg Starwood

Preferred Guest

MERIDIEN

f!1lofi

lH~lLURYt:OU.H uox

WESTIN

(,.'"9

~""J'alO!L

w

s·, I~EUIS

CHECK IN

VIJAY VERGHESE, our humour columnist, manages to put the fun back into travel-related issues each time. No matter which way he heads, you will find that Vijay always travels light.

Much read and much loved, author and columnist JUG SURAIYA has been called our very own Art Buchwald. In his column each month, Jug Suraiya takes the trip of travel.

Illustrator PAUL FERNANDES has many pursuits: cookery, music and people watching. The last bit is what gi.ves his work- in our Fine Lines section-a vintage feel.

Our golf expert RISHI NARAIN has been India's national champion and an Asian Games gold winner.

A coach, commentator and analyst, he runs Rishi Narain Golf Management.

DEEPAU KUMAR left the tumultuous world of advertising to enter the equally demanding career of motherhood. only to discover that there is no difference between clients and babies. She moved to Singapore several years ago and has been travell.ing a lot since then. In this issue, she tells you how best to explore the city of Seoul and also about the spicy Sichuan cuisine.

20 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

CONTRIBUTORS

As travel correspondent for Autocar India and

a freelance writer who enjoys journeys experienced through the windshield. of a car, RISHAD SAAM MEHTA has racked up over

1 ,OO,OOOkm driving on roads in India and abroad. This time, he treads a different path as he goes exploring Czech Republic beyond the obvious Prague.

DIYA KOHLI is an assistant commissioning editor for children's books at Hachette India. She is a whimsicaJ cook who would love to eat her way through the cities of the world. A wanderer at heart, she likes to travel in real time and via the armchair. On days when she feels brave. she writes food stories at http:// chroniclesofthe kitchen. blogspot.com. For this issue, she tells you about 12 hip sky bars across Asia. Turn to the Plus List.

ravel PLUS

DITOR~IN~CHIEF Amon Purie CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

shish Bagga

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Mala Sekhri

Editor Ritu Agarwal Rohatgi Deputy Editor Kalyani Prasher

Senior Associate Editor Aditi SenGupta ssistant Edito.r Pallavi Pasricha Editorial Coordinator Neelu Sharma

RT

ssistant Art Director Syed Salahuddin Senior Designer Deep Pahwa

Designer Sukumar Das

Photo Coordinator Sudhansh Sharma

PRODUCTION

Senior DTP Designer Arun Marwah Chief Production Gajendra Bhatt

lSenior Production Coordinator Shovan Banerjee

ProdUction Coordinator Sandeep Narula

mpA.C.T TEAM

Senior General Manager (North, East & West) Gauri Damodaran

General Manager (South)

Neeta Kamath

IDelhi Mary Mehrunnisa Bangalore Shveta T.M. Mumbai Suman Sharma Kolkata Gurjeet Walia

MARKETING

Manager Raghav Chandrasekhar Deputy Manager Chirag Sharma

CREATIVE

. esign Director Sachin Stephen

RADE CIRCULATION

Chief General Mana.ger D.V.S. Rama Rao Senior General Manager (National)

inod Das

General Manager (North) Deepak Bhatt Regional Manager (East) VA Chotalia General Manager (West) Rajesh Menon General Manager (South) M. Krishna Kiran

OPERATIONS

General Manager Rakesh Sharma

CONSUMER MARKETING SERVICES Senior General Manager Poonam Sangha

OLUME V II NUMBER 10 FOR DEC EMBER 2010

EJ)fTOAI",,!:,. QFrIC~; Wlr-ICi MEDIA 11'II!;IIA rrn, 9l'f.I :FLOOR,. VJDEOCQN TO\Iil:R. E-l, HAI"lDE.W.M.J':N tEXiENS1ION,; NEW [IH.lHlg11c} 055; PHONES: ,t353: 0000; FAX: <l!3:5J OEm! LAaLE.! UVMBOlA, NEW' DEtHl. • FOP. ~UBsrPJP.TION AS~lSTAN(E. WRfTE 1"0= THE. INDIA O£lA'f CI.l$.TOMe;'P.. (ARE, A-cl, S£(ToR-57, N010 .... -~(l'1 301, UTTA~ PRA£J(SH: TOLL ~~F;E NO: 1800 1800 100 FROM MTNIL & BSNl L~ME:;; PHONE:>: (951 ml 2:479 9100' iROM DEIJ-EI & FAJL1DAM'I): ({J120) 2479 900 MDNTe fltl, lCtJl.M m 6 P"M.: FAX: (Ct12{1} MIlS 000: I£-MAlbJ

ECARwc:a~INJQDAV.COM • It"IPA(,T OFF"iO:S; TRAOE cp.nr;:e, ~I'IIO FLOOR, KAMAt~ CIT'f. 'SENA'PATI BAAAT MARG, lQW.£R ~ARa MUM IlAI-40Q, on; iPHOtiE:>: (Ol2j 249& :n5:.5i FA:ii:~ ,2<'1.98 .2266 .• 5TH iFlOD.R. VIOEOCON: TOWER.,. E-1- JHANDEW~LJ.N !E:<TENSJOr-i, N~ OeP.HI-11D os$,; ptfONES: 2~ ..:!tOO,; F~: 2~ 4:Me; c...au. ~IVMtplA, NEW,

l~~~·f:(:~~2~~]~~~.A2~~;'~:f~~~~~]~~og~L~:~':~~,~~~%~~~~:i

1;204, RJ(;HMONO TQ'W~, 2ND FlOOR, 12 IFUC"l HON'D ROAD, BAtooIGAtOR[·$6Q oz"sj

IPHONE!);(OOO) 2.221 ,201i4B,22:2:13iH7;fAX: 2221 333S~CABLE:.UVMmIA:sAtiG._M..oRE._ II 5'21 ~.L 'NEHRU ROiW~ 4JH fLOOR.., KOLKAfA-]OO 071: PHONE.S: (.o:~:3J n9.2 192:2" .2282' 5~

~X:' ~.2~ 7254; C",'e.L:E: liVMEttlA. OlCUTTA" ' • .o-'3-8aSn.ffl, U] E!iHAVAN Fl.OAn, SOMJ\JIGUDA, H'IIDERA.BADu5'QO 002; E'HOHE: {040} .2340 0479,. 2'340 1657; fAX; 23-40 ~_ • 39/1M5, 1ST HOO.R,. KAII:AJ(8:,'!'I ROA!I;. COCHIN-682' m6,~ PHDNE: (.04&4) .2377 5i. ~31; .058; FAX; (OOM-) esn .05'9, • ZC, ':SUR:VA .p.J,YH BLDG~ 2ND FlOOR, ElE.'l'NIND Hill HOUSE,. PANCHWA.n. Off. CG. ROAn, A.HMEJOABA[I~380 006; PHONE:>= (OT9} 2658 39'3.,. 2656 0929: u.x~ 2fS6 5:293.. .. 'CO~RIGFlIT 1996., tlVLNG MEDFA INDIA LTD.,. ALL i<!1G.Ht:; .R.ts.tP.'I,IW llHIl!OIJGHOOi THE. 'INOfi:LD.. R[PRQDUc:TLoN I'N ANY M_,!,J\INEIt IS PItOHlBlfED .• PUBLISHED AND PRlNlID 8Y !MA.tA 'SEf::HItI ON BEHALF OF UVUiG 'MEDIA

~~~~~~'~A;R~:!;;;~~~~:7~~~:;~~~D~~~I;c~~~~~;;~i~D~~i;~

A.REA.,. THANE BHAP'U.R iR.OAD, AI(:;OLl, NJ!.VI MUMRAI-400 70S (MAHAItASHIltA). PlI&USHED ,U 1C:-9, WNNAIJGHIT (IRelJ:;" 1"1[\1,1' O:ELHB-110 001. • [NDIA TOMY TRI!.VH PUJ.s DOES NOT l~KE THE RiS'PONS,!l!illllY FOR lI;~itlItNING Ur-IS.QlICllED PUElUCA.iIQN MA1ERw.. • ill DIS'PUIES MlE 'SUBJECTTO THE EXCLUSIVE JURISDI(TION OF {OM:i'E.lEN'f

I~~~~ ~It~~~~~:~~~~ ~~-r.~~~·.!~~~E~T:~~e':~i~ ~. ~ BLOCK,

LlDre.u";' For reprint rights and syndication enquiries, contact FUmy] Syndications@,moolay.comorcall+91 •. 1.20.4079000'

~ .... LO'" www.syndicationstoday.in

u a u

ONE.~ TOUCH® GOLD CHARCOAL GRILL

No-rust aluminium ash catcher I No-rust aluminium vent

Porcelain enameled' finisb I Crack proof an-weather wheels Glass-reinforced nylon handles I Made in the USA 110-year warranty"

The world's finest barbecue grills

R e c ornmended Web or Acce S9 cries. Rap ld fire'" chimney starts r I Coconut shsll brio u sties I Grill cleaning b rush I Silicon basti n9 b rus h

Please contact the Weber 'Experience Center at +91 9900027067 to register for free' grilling classes.

Weber charcoal grills, qas grills and accessories are available across the country .. 'Fa. more information log, on to www.weberindia .. com or email usatsupport@grillco .. in. You can also call us al1800 102 3102 (Toll-free from alilandlines and mobiles).

,B.A.NGALORE: Weber Experience Genter, 99000 27087; BARODA:, Deco Art, 9824044323; CHENNAI: Ellements, 0444503 0073: COIMBATORE: Ellements, 9840837073; CHAND.IGARH:

MaJ"Idaia Marketing, 9'814705516; COCHIN: Gourmet Kitchen, 98950 58285; DE.LHl: Grandeur, 011 2681 4550/51/52; Go.A: Luis and Company, 98221 20620; GURGAON: 8enchmark, 98112 04877; GUWAHATI: North East Trade, 94351 09253: HYDERABAD: Dimensions, 9642828111; MUMBAl:. Grandeur. 93246 12722: iPUNE: Kook Kitchens, 020 2612 2436 .

• Available In select cities ,only. Umited pertodotter •• Pl'ease refer product catalogll6 for more details. Tel111s & conditions apply.

TRAvEL BOZZ

NEWS+UPDATES

FROMTH.E TRI\VEL DESK

HOTELS,. AIRLINES, CRUISES, HOT DEALS ....

Readymade Holidays across the counter from Thomas Cook

You can now buy your dream holiday from Shoppers Stop and Crossword outlets in Mumbai and Delhi. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd's 'Readymade Holidays' scheme covers a range of 11 domestic and seven international destinations and is the company's first buy-off-the-shelf product. The new packages combine some of the best destinations which includes services like sightseeing, travel and stay. While ordinarily, one would need to approach a travel agent for the same; these packages are now being made easily available across the retail counter.

Drive an elephant at Anantara Thailand

The luxurious Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa in northern Thailand now offers you a chance to drive an elephant. Take a threeday training course at the resort's onsite Elephant Camp and win a certificate of mahout competence after a short test. Anantara's 160 acres of bamboo forest, nature trails and river banks are home to 32 pachyderms, all of whom have been rescued from the streets of Bangkok and other major cities in Thailand.

22 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

FESTIVE FAMILY FUN AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL HYDE PARK, LONDON, OFFERS ADJOINING BEDROOM FOR CHILDREN AT HALF PRICE FOR EVERY ROOM BOOKED. FROM £295 AND £147.50 FOR THE SECOND ROOM. WWW.MANDARIN

ORIENTAl.COM

Taipei International Flora Expo to run till April 2011

The Taiwanese capital is a riot of colours and blooms now thanks to the International Flora Expo, which will run till April 25, 2011. The expo covers sites in the Yuanshan area of Taipei such as Yuanshan Park, the Taipei Fine Arts Park, Xinsheng Park and Da-jia Riverside Park. These areas are linked by shuttle buses during the floral fete. 'Rivers, Flowers, New Horizons' is the theme of this extravaganza, which is the first of its kind to be held in Taiwan.

,

THE HOME OF VARGOS LLOSA, NOBEL-WINNING

London 2012 announces Olympic Games ticket prices Ticket prices for 2012 London Olympic Games have been released, with the men's 100m final costing up to £725. Organisers said tickets for the opening ceremony would cost between £20.12 and £2,012. Of the 8.8 million tickets available, 75 percent will be sold to the public from March 2011.

World's tallest Jesus in Poland Three metres higher than the familiar Christ figure at Rio de Janeiro, the world's tallest statue of Jesus was recently unveiled

at Swiebodzin in western Poland. Measuring 36m in height, the Christ of Swiebodzin weighs an estimated 440 tonnes. The Polish Christ wears a three-metre-h igh golden crown.

AUTHOR FROM PERU, IN AREQUIPA, WILL BE CONVERTED INTO

A MUSEUM TO OPEN BY THE END OF 2011

,

Celebrate with Hong Kong WinterFest 2010

Christmas and New Year celebrations take over the city of Hong Kong with the start of the WinterFest 2010. The highlight of the stunning celebrations is the Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree located in Statue Square in Central. This 30m~taH tree is decorated with over 20,000,000 Swarovski crystals while over 200 ornaments come alive at night to project the interactive lighting effect.

7 NIGHTS!8 DAYS IN ATHENS, MYKONOS & SANTORINI FOR '(68,956 PER PERSON ON TWIN SHARE. WITH AIRFARE, STAY WITH BREAKFAST, SOME TOURS & TRANSFERS. WWN.

EZEEG01.COM

New lUxury inter-city bus service between Bangalore and Chennai

The popular Nilgiris Supermarket Chain has launched luxury intercity bus service--LUXURIA-from November 15. Initially, the buses will leave at 5a.m and 7a.m. and then at 10p.m. and 11p.m from Whitefield going via the Luxuria lounge at HSR Layout Bangalore. The first three services will culminate at Hotel Sabari Classic on OMR Road at Sholinganallur in Chennai and the last service departing from Bangalore will culminate at Hotel Radha Regent, Koyambedu Chennai. Book tickets at www.luxuria-travel.corn

LIVE MET SMART

Welcome to THE MET ~ the future of hospitality. Innovative design, modern technology and eco-friendly practices have been enhanced with new ideas and bright insights. Enjoy luxury with a conscience at our smart new avatar.

R.OPOLI T.A n

HOTEL

Bangia Sahib Road. New Delhi· I 1000 I. INDIA T: +91 I I 42.500200 E; info@hot.elmetdelhLcom

www.hotelmetdelhi.com

TRAVEL BUZZ

Delhi Duty Free launches website

Delhi Duty Free Services Pvt Ltd (OOFS), India's largest duty free retail operator at T3 at Delhi IGI airport, has launched its websitewww.delhidutyfree.co.in. The portal features a wide range of products across categories such as perfumes, confectionery, cosmetics, liquor, tobacco and destination along with information on speciality concepts-Uisge Beatha and walk-in Humidor. It allows you to browse the products from the comfort of your homes and save time at the airport.

3 NIGHTS/4 DAYS AT PHOENIX PARK INN, GOA, STARTS

AT f14,500. INCLUDES TRANSFERS, SIGHTSEEING, BOAT CRUiSE, COMPLI MENTARY

BOTTLE OF WINE AND HAPPY HOURS AT BAR. TILL DECEMBER 22. TEL: (0832)

663 3333; WWw.

SAROVAR HOTELS.COM

22 additional flights in Kingfisher's winter schedul.e

The highlights of Kingfisher 2010 Winter Schedule are:

Four new routes Varanasi-Khajuraho, Udaipur-Jaipur, Jaipur-Jodhpur and New Delhi-Agra; two additional flights on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route; an additional flight on the New Delhi-Lucknow route; an additional

flight between Mumbai-New Delhi and New Delhi-Mumbai; one flight each on the Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai route and the New Delhi-indore-New Delhi route.

24 INDIA TODAY -mAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

NEWS+UPDATES

New extra baggage charges from Cathay Pacific

The Hong Kong-based airline's new extra baggage rules are a switch from the current charging rate for extra baggage, which is based on ticket fares. The new system is calculated in accordance with a structured system of travel zones. You can view the grid of charges on www.cathaypacific.com. and can calculate exactly what charges you will have to pay by referring to the zones in which your travel originates and ends. There is no changes to the airline's cabin baggage allowances.

More BBC channels in BA's in-flight entertainment Beginning this month, the British carrier's entertainment system will get fresh programming titles from BBC Worldwide. Over 100 SA aircrafts will be equipped with the airline's inflight entertainment service that will feature new channels and will screen critically acclaimed series such as Luther (BBC Entertainment), Celebrity MasterChef (BBC Lifestyle) and Top Gear (BBC Knowledge). The new brands join BBC World News, which already exists on the entertainment system.

Eco~friendly coffee from American 4it'lin,o<::! American Airlines is now offering Java City coffee from November 1. It is served in 10 ounce cups. Java City use Central American blend of 1 00 n""'r""'~ Arabica beans. The coffee blend is Rainforest Alliance Certified, awarded

to brands that meet standards covering social, labour and environmental conservation issues.

AirAsia to increase KLChennai flights The low-cost carrier will add four more flights on the KL-Chennai route from January 21, 2011. With these new additions, AirAsia will now operate a total of

11 flights weekly from Chennai and a total of 114 weekly flights from India. It currently serves this route with a direct daily flight on AirAsia's new 180- seater Airbus A320.

" DUBAI-BASED CARRIER EMIRATES BOOSTS ITS SAUDI ARABIA OPERATIONS

WITH 10 ADDITIONAL FLIGHTS PER WEEK TO RIYADH

AND JEDDAH

,

COMPILED BY ADITI SENGUPtA

IJ.l"llttr'1l!MfM{Ji:'lm~

rrwtrto:ls "net c.osmopolilal1$lIOr eutecee

THt (3REAT

DIM SUM EXPERII:NCI:

--9{.f9Y- ---

DI ... I ~IIIM ll1,uC:H

W.tf':"1~$L...~,

eVERY TUESDAY

EX,.AT NITE

... 799/':'

UNLIMITED DRINKS~

£gdiesfiaven

EVERY WEDNESDAY

Ph. 45567777, 46075689, Mob. 9650269292, 9560469292, Email: tamangang@wceindia.com, Visit: www.wceindia.com

f'" Inc! us'lve of all texes, It Conditions appty # Taxe5 a nd sevtce charge as appUcable

TRAVEL BUZZ

MANDARIN ORIENTAL LAUNCHES GIFT CARD The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is offering a global gift cardin denominations ranging from US$ 50 to 10,000. These cards can be used for hotel

accommodation, spa treatments and dining at any restaurant at a Mandarin Oriental hotel across the world. And the best part is that there is no expiry date. They can be delivered with a personalised message to any location across the globe. The gift cards can be purchased from any Mandarin Oriental Hotel or online from www.mandarinorientaLcom/giftcard

.~ ..

CORPORATB

032.1 01(;)S8

31140

YATRA.COM TIES UP WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS American Express corporate credit card holders will now get five times more reward points if they book hotels on the website www.americanexpress.yatra.com . The new partnership between the travel company Yatra.com and American Express will also provide additional benefits to all those people who hold corporate credit card as the website also features special offers on hotels and holiday packages.

26 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

STAY AT THE LANDMARK BANGKOK AT rt ,000 (APPROX) PER PERSON WITH STAY IN SUITE, BREAKFAST, USE OF BOARDROOM AND INTERNET,

10% OFF ON BUSINESS FACILITIES. TEL -t66 02254 0404

TRADE TALK

IHG TO LAUNCH SIX NEW HOTELS

The InterContinental Hotels Group has tied up with Amrapali for opening six hotels across the country. Over the next five years the hotel group will introduce four Holiday Inn Express hotels, This is the first time they will launch this budget brand in the country. These will be located in tier II cities such as Indore, Kochi, Jaipur and Naida Extension. The other two hotels will be five-star Holiday Inn properties that will be set up in Patna and Naida. For more information on these hotels, visit www.ichotelsgroup.com

• Kalanithi Maran has joined SpiceJet Limited as Director and Chairman.

• P.H..$. Oberoi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EIH Limited has been given the '2010 Corporate Hotelier of the World' award by HOTELS magazine.

• Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel has appointed Saied Heidari as General Manager.

• Swiss6tel Hotels & Resorts has been awarded 'Asia's Leading Business Hotel Brand' at the World Travel Awards.

WORLD HOTELS PARTNERS WITH VIRGIN ATLANTIC

This tie-up between the hotel group and Virgin Atlantic allows members of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, the frequent flyer plan of Virgin Atlantic, to earn 500 miles every time they stay at any property by

World hotels. The hotel group has got more than 450 hotels spread across 65 countries. For more information

log on to www.

virg inatlanttc.corn

:>: o o <.0

~ MARRIOTT'S

«

:>: EXPANSION ~

g PLANS IN INDIA t{ <> !: oi ;;::

~

'"

52

~ country. Currently

It there are 11 Marriott

By 2015, the Marriott International hotel group wi.11 hav.! 1 00 hotels in the

3 hotels across India.

_.

It The properties will

open under seven brands including Ritz-Carlton and Fairfield by Marriott. It plans to have

41 hotels operational in the next three years. Kochi, Bhopal, Nashik, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Raipur are some of the cities where Marriott will open its hotels. For more information visit www.marriott.com

COMPILED BY PALLAVI PASRICHA

It's time to befriend the road again. To discover its joys without care or worry. To ride on tyres that make every twist and turn, every rough patch, feel like a warm welcome. Built with materials sourced from the world's best. and engineered to global quality standards.

Apollo tubeless tyres are proven on world-renowned test tracks in India and Europe, like ATP Pa.penburg, Germany. And come with the assurance of puncture resistance, incredible grip, unmatched comfort and longer tyre Ufe. Go on, make friends with the one who takes you places.

ASPIRE

ACELERE

AMAZER 3G MAXX

apolo

Unmatched Comfort. Longer Tyre Life • Superior Puncture Resistance I The Road is a Friend

APOLLO SUPER Z.ONE· Kolkala: Indo Radial Club: 9830043871 APOLLO ~ONES· Ahmedabad: Manlar Tyro World: 9825006766 Bangaiore; Super Tyrs World; 9844977707. 'BhopaL Arlhant Wheels; 9425004745. Chennai: La: Tyres Pvt Ltd: 9841025028, V. S. Enterprtses: 9940617460. Cochin: Globaf Tyies; 9447485664. Deihl: Speed lyres: 9811786187. Tyre Mart: 9560661717. Karad: N. S. Distributors: 9422402381. NaIda: Ashok Motors: 9868259555. Patlala: National Tyres: 9814040313. Roillak: Tyre G.11a': 9896212892. Tilane: Sat yam Tyres: 9967055647. Trlvanorum: Poputar Tyres:9447053838. Vashi: Saba Sai lyre House: 9322296261. Capitalfapollol335

TRAVEL BUZZ

ON BUSINESS

ALWAYS ON THE MOVE

WHAT THE BUSINESS TRAVELLER S'HOULD KNOW

SERVICE APARTMENTS OPEN IN DUBAI

Fraser Hospitality's recently opened property in Dubai has

158 one, two and three bedroom service apartments and penthouses, Located on the top 23 floors of the Sidra Tower, all the apartments at Fraser Suites Dubai have a kitchen, laundry facilities, work desks and daily housekeeping services, Business facilities include a business centre, boardroom and meeting rooms, There is also an outdoor swimming pool and a spa, Visit httpv/dubal.frasershospitallty.com

"

STAY AT PARK INN, JAIPUR FOR

2 NIGHTS!3 DAYS AT <7,499 PER PERSON WITH BREAKFAST, 15% DISCOUNT ON

FOOD AND BEVERAGES AND LAUNDRY. VALID TILL MARCH 31,

2011. FOR DETAILS, VISITWWW SAROVARHOTELS, COM

VIRGIN ATLANTIC'S CLUBHOUSE AT

HEATHROW HAS NEW" TOUCHSCREEN TABLETS- '.

BA'S NEW MOBILE BOARDING PASSES FOR BLACKBERRYS

If you are fly.ing British Airways and use a BlackBerry, you won't need to print your ticket, as the airline has launched mobile boarding passes, All the necessary flight information will

be available on your mobile, Currently this is applicable to flights within Europe, but British Airways has plans to introduce this internationally as well For more information, log on to www.

britishairways .com

28 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

PARK REGIS OPENS IN SINGAPORE'S BANKING DISTRICT

The 203-room Park Regis Singapore, located in the main banking and corporate district, Raffles Place, alongside the Singapore River is within walking distance from the business centre of the city, Besides offering all business facilities, the hotel has an all day dining restaurant, Suite 23, serving international cuisines, a lounge,. rooftop bar and poolside cafe, The group plans to open more hotels in the region, For more information, visit www, parkregishotels.com

HYATT LAUNCHES HOTEL IN PUNE'SIT PARK

The city's first Hyatt Regency hotel has opened at Weikfield IT Park, The location is perfect for business travellers as the international airport is close, The stylishly done up 222-room hotel also has plans to open 84 service apartments, which be operational by early next year, Besides two restaurants, a bar and club lounge, the hotel has seven meeting rooms and a large ballroom that can be divided into three sections for smaller functions. The hotel's spa, Arogya Spa & Fitness Centre, offers Ayurvedic treatments. Visit http.z/pune.reqency.hyatt.com

FORTUNE'S NEW BUSINESS HOTEL IN GURGAON

Last month Fortune Hotels opened their second hotel in the city-Fortune Select Excalibur-Iocated on Sohna road, The swish hotel has 135 rooms and offers facilities like in-room check-in and ch out and butler

Shop, but more restaurants will 0 soon. The hotel has five meeting rooms and a large banquet hall that can be used for business conferences too. Fa details, visit http:// fortuneh otels. in

COMPILED BY PALLAVI PASRICHA

~ CEN~TM

ELEVATe yourself at the Clarion!

Make your stay at Clarion Hotels the best part of your trip. With an array of facilities like elegant guestrooms & meeting rooms, business centre, multl-cuisi n e restaurants, pool & spa and serviced apartments, you get a wholesome experien ce .. Clarion Hotels are a pOl rt of the international cha in of Choice Hotels.

Cla.rion Col.lection, New Delhi; Shaheedjeet Slngh Harg [Qutab Institutional Area), New Delhi-Ll 00 16, Tel: +91-11-41200000/412000 18, Fax: +91-11-26968287, www.clartonnewdelhi.corn. Clarion Benga.I!.!!""u: # 23 EPIP Zone, Whitefield, Bengaluru-560066, Karriataka, Tel: +9.18043311555, Fax: +9! 804331 I 556,.www.darionbengaluru.com. OpeningsoonatPune, Lonavalaand G.reaterNo.ida.

TRAVEL BUZZ

HAPPENINGS

THE BEST THIS MONTH

WHAT'S ON WHERE AND WHEN

(f) More than 100 films from 26 countries to be

« screened at the exotic islands of Paradise and ::2: Nassau in Bahamas adds up to an irresistible « combination. At the Bahamas International Film

~ Festival, take your pick from feature, animation and CO short films and documentaries. Serious movie buffs can also attend panel discussions. Book tickets at www.bintlfilmfest.com

« Get a first hand insighUflto the vibrant culture of o Nagalan€! at-the Hornbill Festival, held at K,isama Z village, Besides the colourful dances and spows by - Naga tribes, this time-the festival will also have

special performanceS' by Myanrnarese and Thei troupes, as well as Korean and Japanese rnusfcians. You can e,Jen pick lJP tribal paintings, ana sculptures here. Visit www.hornbillfestivaLcom

« Jazz lovers, it's time to groove to the music of (f) famous jazz bands from Norway, Germany,

~ Azerbaija, n,' , KO,rea and Ne, th8, ria, nds at th, e 7th _j Penang Island Jazz Festival. Besides this, « exhibitions, photography competitions, music

2 workshops, Malay food and will make sure that your days are packed with jazz-related activities. Book your tickets at www.penangjazz.com

o for four days the sky in Nakornnayokjs a riot of Z colours as thousands of multi-hued balloons are in ::s thaair at the Thailand lnternational Balloon s,

- Adventure Sports Festival. This year there are

:f adventure sporfs as well-choose from paintbal~ f- paragliding and wt>itewater rafting, There is also

a fete that offers lip-smackinq food. For more lntorrrjat ron, visit www.tMilandadventuresports.com

~ Christmas in London comes early! Get a feel of this ::> charming festival at Taste of Christmas event which has everything gourmet related to Christmas, There are separate sections for getting to know more about, and of course, tasting wine, cheese,

chocolate and coffee, Twelve restaurants will put up a special menu with traditional items. For details, visit www.tasteofchristmas.com

« Jf you love your bubbly, be sure not to miss the o Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne II Festival. It offers the finest wines and champagnes « trom the South African vineyards, There is a huge I marquee on the lawns of Huguenot~onument

~ where you can indulge in wine.tasting and sample o dishes oy a few restaurants of the region,

(/) For bookinqs visit www.webtlckets.co.za

30 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

1

te

QiF CHRISTMAS "--BJAEG

peEL LONDON, a-5DECIMIER .2010

HAPPENINGS

TRAVEL BUZZ

A QUICK ROUNDUP OF WHAT'S HOT AROUND THE GLOBE THIS MONTH. CHOOSE FROM THE HonEST EVENTS,. SHOWS AND HAPPENINGS IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC, ART, CINEMA, LITERATURE, SPORT,. FASHION, WINE AND FOOD

<C New Yorkers certainly know how to celebrate Christmas. (J) From the annual tradition of lighting the world's tallest =:J Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Genter, to window

displays at stores like Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, the entire city adorns a festive look. Don't miss a Christmas Eve dinner at the Rock Center Cafe at Rockefell.er Plaza.

_J This year, celebrate New Year's Eve with Brazilians at N Copacabana beach for its the biggest party to be held in [f. Rio de Janeiro. Besides thumping music and sizzling

CO shows, the countdown to the New Year will feature

som€fthinj;l new~t~e launch of the 2016 OlympiQ$ logo, followed by a fight and laser' show.

<C The Rann of Kutch in Gujarat doesn't look prettier than it o does during winter season and especially during the Rann Z Utsav. This festival starts at Bhuj and then takes place at

various places across Kutch. There are traditional dances and music performances, a display of the region's art and craft and colourful fairs are held at the beach.

TALKING SHOE:

VALUE VACATIONS

FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON, JAIPUR DURATION: 2 nights/3 days

PRICE: 'f12,999 per person

PACKAGE INCLUDES: Accommodation, daily breakfast, lunch or dinner, use of health club, steam and swimming pool, cookies and chocolates in room, 20 percent discou on food and beverages, ZIVA spa and laundry.

VALIDITY: Till March 11, 2011

CONTACT: Four Points by Sheraton;

tel: (0141) 300 4600; www.starwoodhotels.com

THE BEST ON OFFER

GREAT VALUE TRAVEL DEALS

EXPLORE ISTANBUL AND CAPPADOCIA DURATION: 4 nights/5 days

PRICE: 'f22,000 (approx) per person PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Accommodation, daily breakfast, some meals, transfers, sightseeing

in Istanbul and Cappadocia and services of a guide.

VALIDITY: Till March 31, 2011 CONTACT: SOTC; tel: 1800 209 3344 (toll free); www.sotctours.com

RITU AGARWAL ROHATGIIWWW.INDIATODAYIMAGES.COM

32 INDIA TODAY ffiAva PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

PLUS PROMOTION

Swift Ge aways

Don't let the onset of winters discourage you from a scenic though somewhat testing drive in Jammu & Kashmir

People, and tou.rist b. rochures." will always tell you how beautiful Kashmir is, but nothing quite prepares you for how stunning the area really is. Drive across the 2.8-km Jawahar Tunnel, which connects Jammu with Kashmir, and you are instantly transported to another realm. The dimly lit tunnel can bring to mind scenes from many James Bond films-it looks the perfect setting for an action-packed climax. That there is light at the end of every tunnel is something that we don't need to reinforce, but not every tunnel leads to paradise. So when you exit the tunnel at Titanic Point be prepared for a pleasant shock. The valley is more or less flat bordered by mountains, the fields are green and at around dusk the sky turns a purple-pink hue that is reflected in the watered fields.

Tall, thick trees along the road criss-cross each other forming a green tunnel over the road. Frankly, it is quite amazing, and one hopes that the problems in the area come to an end so that

more people can come and see ~. the stunning beauty of this place. ~

lt's 'important that you spend ~

time at the beautiful Dal Lake. The ;i

0.



area is heavily guarded. Once under way the road from Sri nagar up the hills is quite good. It's only when you start climbing towards the tunnel that there is some

0. W W ..J

i5

". til

"' 1:

"« 0:

C'l

break in the surface. We ::'

'0

recommend the two-Ianed NH-1A it

towards Jammu. Jawahar Tunnel onwards the road becomes more scenic as you climb towards Patnitop.

The road surface remains intact for the most part, but it is nowhere near smooth. One also has to be wary of local taxi drivers, who often get on to some daring things as passengers egg them on,

o z

DlJAt SRS A'RBACS

ABS - HD

A:irO~.t.ATIC CilMATf O)N7[;!O:

~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ ANYTIME MARUTI. Call 1800 1800 180 (Toll Free),0991 0202020. For iI; test drive sms 'SWIFT' to 53636.

_TALK.ING SHOE:

VALUE VACATIONS

WONDERS OF SIKKIM DURATION: 8 nights/9 days PRICE: f17 ,500 per person (twin share)

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Accommodation, daily breakfast and all meals at Lachung, transfers, sightseeing at Pemayangtse, Gangtok, Lachung and Yumthang, travel insurance and taxes, ITINERARY: Pemayangtse, Gangtok, Lachung and Yumthang

VALIDITY: Till March 31, 2011 CONTACT: Cox& Kings; tel: 1800 22 1235 (MTNL); (0) 98675 65599; www.coxandkings.co.in

ANSHUMAN S~N!WWW.INDIATODAYIMAG~S.COM

34 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS, DECEMBER 2010

jJAYPEE PALACE HOTEL AND 'CONVENTION CENTRE, AGRA ,DURATION: 2 nights/3 days

PRICE: f17,999 per person PACKAGE INCLUDES: Transfers, ,daily breakfast, spa treatments for two that includes facial, Abhyangam, .skin exfoliation, head and shoulder Imassage and steam bath, halt-day .sightseeing tour, 20 percent discount on food and beverages, laundry and use of gym and pool.

iVALIDITY: Till March 31, 2011 CONTACT: Jaypee Palace Hotel and

I,

Conventlon Centre; tel: (0562)

2330800; www.jaypeehotels.com

Faster.

Smarter.

_TALK.ING SHOE:

MAHUA KOTHI, BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK DURATION: 2 nights/3 days

PRICE: 'f16,000 per person per night PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Accommodation, all meals, beverages, .Iiquor, park fee, game safari twice a day and taxes. VALIDITY: Till March 31, 2011 CONTACT: Mahua Kothi;

tel: (07627) 265 402/14; www.tajhotels.com

THE PARK HYDERABAD DURATION: 2 nights/3 days

PRICE: 'f24,999 per person PACKAGE INCLUDES: Stay in luxury room, airport transfers, half-day sightseeing in Hyderabad, dinner at Verandah, choice of AURA spa signature baths, early morning yoga session, choice of Aroma therapy/ Swedish massage at AURA spa. VALIDITY: Till March 31, 2011 CONTACT: The Park Hyderabad;

tel: (040) 2345 6789; www.theparkhotels.com

36 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

VALUE VACATIONS

.' .... ? r--------------------~"l HAPFlY

·1 ....... \ HOLIDAYSl· ..

CHRISTMAS AT

THE WESTIN DUBLIN

DURATION: 2 nights/3 days

PRICE: 'f17,000 (approx) per person PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Accommodation ,Irish breakfast, mulled wine on arrival, reception on Christmas Eve, buffet lunch and champagne reception on Christmas and entertainment.

VALIDITY: December 24 to 26 CONTACT: The Westin Dublin; tel: +353 01 645 1000; www.thewestindublin.com

THE CHESTERFIELD MAYFAIR, LONDON DURATION: 1 night/2 days

PRICE: 'f28,000 (approx) per night

PACKAGE INCLUDES: Accommodation, seven-course dinner with live band, English breakfast or brunch.

VALIDITY: December 31 to January 1

CONTACT: The Chesterfield Mayfair; tel: +440207491 2622; www.chesterfieldmayfair.com

COMPILED BY PALLAVI PASRICHA

.. ~
;:, Vi
10 V>
.5: t ::r:
~
:;; c
'" Jg
c; ..'!'
'" ~
., ~ '"
., 0 D 'VJ
.. ;; >..
a. III 2
... "C «_ ~
c <'l '" ~ ~
0 "0 '" c: .t::.
.I:; C ~ '" .!;!>
CI "'<I G " "'iii '" ::r:
c '" c <>: '" ...
c: .. :- c· 2: N .~ c:
16 :§ -=: '" .E
.. ~ to ;;: s e ti ~ ci
'" .,2: ;; ~ ., "' . ! .'!!
., ~ ~ E- O) ~ C/l 2- @ 0
~ .,:; " III ro E PI ~ c ;:)
" ~ ~ ~ ~ J<: t; 'ro
'" ;;: "C U 8 m '" -2
E ;;; ,J ~ ~ 2- .. ~ ;i:: 2- 3l .~ .s '0
" g £!. <'l _o "" '0 "'" .. V> ~ C
S: " ~ ., ~ $ o- '" ;:j
" !:Ii '"0 -~, 2 .1< III "
- c: "6' t: -=: c > s, ,:; £ '" ~ :s 0; c: >-
" " .. '" '5 ;:) OJ V> ~ '" <; ~ ,I;
" .. E cr: ~ 13 .s '"
~ '" C/l 8 ... a '" OJ
", a; '" i6 lil ~ '" il' 8
.e 'C, ;; > OJ Vi Q. '"
~ " ,;;: .: ..0 0 Q) ~ => « :<.' 0 &i m {2 .s
U /l. 0 Q :;>: CD tr: L!"> Z U
<"l f.!j s

o

::J o >-

>.0

"0 (])

.._

::l

C~

!.-. .z

o CO

\...f-

a

_TALKING SHOP

GOOD BUYS

ETAI L TH ERAPY

RING OUT THOSE SHOPPI,NG BAGS

IN GOOD SHAKE

Add a designer element

to your dining table with these salt and pepper shakers designed by Mukul Goyal. Price: f2,1 00

FLORAL HINTS

Dior's J'adore L'or is out in a new avatar, It's bolder, more concentrated and captures fragrances of rose and jasmine. Price: 'f7 ,200 for

a 40ml bottle.

STAY PUT

Apply this MAC lipstick and forget about touching up, This new pro longwear lipcreme range comes in lovely shades. Price: '<750

CHUNKY TALES

We absolutely adore these chunky bangles and bracelets from Aida, They are sleek.

smart and oh-so-stylish Price: '<800 each

'.'



0: « -c N « OJ (/) it:

w 0. 0: « :r

o g

«

'" 01

w' r 0: :0 o o

COLOUR PLUS

Sparkling Hues remains true to its name with these colourful long earrings, Price: <25,000 onwards

SEEING RED

These Dolce & Gabbana shades give you every reason to paint the town red this winter, Price: '<11 ,600

PUMP IT UP

Peep Toe, Pumps, Heels. Fendi.

Need more incentives to invest in these to-die-tor footwear? Price: f37, 750

Earrings from Sparkling Hues available at 38 Archana Shopping Complex, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi, Dolce & Gabbana shades available at their boutiques across the world, Pump heels from Fendi available at all Fendi boutiques across the world, Aldo bracelets available at all their stores in the country, M,A,C lipstick available at all MAC stores across the country, Sail and pepper shaker available at House Of lshatvarn, Arts L Store and 360 Degree in New Delhi. J'adore L'or periume available at all Dlor stores across the world

38 INDIA TODAY Tl1AVEL PLUS, DECEMBER 2010

r;

I (

,SORRY M'ICHE-

IT TOOK US 500 YEARS TO ADD

icr-ornax lle

~othin!ll like Anything

PRESENTING THE NEW MICROMA.XRANG,E OF TOUCH PHONES.

• 3D User Interface.

• 31" FuU Touch Lens • 2 MP Camera

• Social Networking Consortium

• Multi Instant Messenger

• Preloaded U"'"'" Browser

i=IKE

• 2.8" FuU To uch Lens • 2 MP Camera

• Social Networking Consortium

• Multi Instant Me'ssenger, ,bun -Preleaded O\i;\""" Browser

• Multi Coloured Back Panels

tlIpsuch

• 2.8" Full Touch Lens

• Pre-loaded M1V content

• Yamaha Spaakers - In b u i.lt • 3.5 MMJack

• Multi Coloured Back Panels • Social Networking Consortium

I

...

Available at a.1I. Leading Stores

Corporate Office: Micromax Informatics Ltd, Micromex House, #697, Udyog Vihar, Phase-V, Gurgaon-1Z2015, Contact us; 1660 5006286 (Toll Free). For Corporate Enquiries Call: +91 9971712516. Website: www.micromaxinfo.com ..

M iGIOm." In lormati GS Ud. is p ro pos illlJ. s ubjs ct to ma r ket con d iii nns and otha r G·O nside r ali on" a pu blic iss ue of its aq uity sha ra s snd has Med " 0 raft 1\. d Harring: Prospectus i 'OHH P'I w i!h the :s. G urjtla s a nd ExG 11" "go B()ard: of India. I'SEBI'). The DRHP 's available on the website of SEBI at www.sebi.gov.in a~d the respective webshes of the boo, running . ead mansqers at "'''''''jmfinancialJn, htt~ :/Iwww.onli"",', il; ila n Ir.. c 0,1 fl/rhtm/ c It;gr. UPg I" b "f. ere en t.htm, wW\iII.ed.IGa p.corn and W,",\iII.nom u r a.c o m/ asia/, e rvlc e'/Capital_ra is in g/. qu irv .s !JtmL I nv. sters s ho uld note tihatinv.s!m. 01 in aqu tty shares inv" we, "h'gh degro. of risk and lor dutails "elatin9 to the sama, sen the section til.lod "Risk Faotors" qf tha DAHP. The equity shares have mot been and will not be regisl"red unde' tha ll.S. S~curi!i(l' Act Of lY3J, as amended I"U.S .. Securi!iBs AG!') Or alTV state securili.os laws. in the Uhileci States, lind. u.nless so rejiisler"o, may nOl. 110 offered or sold within the United SllItes excejrt pursuant to an axcmpuon from, or :in a rransa cnon not subject to. tI1 e re g istra ti 0" re Quire m ems 0 f the U. S. Securities A ct a IT da ppli cab I e stole sec u riue~ lowo .. There will h e no p u bile offeri IT g Qf th e equity s l1a re s in bhe United St. tes

_TALK.ING SHOE:

ON A SWEET NOTE

This limited edition Rose des Neiges sugar scrub from L'Occitane will leave your skin baby soft. Price: 'f2,590

SHORT STORY

Why clutter your living room with a real Christmas tree when you can settle for this crystal variety from Swarovski? Price: 'f2,900

The wedding season is here, and this glittering dutch bag designed by Meera Mahadevia, will complement your gold jewellery. Price on request.

GOOD BUYS

LIGHT TALK

We needn't describe how different your living room will look with this antique brass finish wall lamp, from International Furniture Brands. Price: (53,000

OURTESy MONT8lANC!HAIlPER'S BAZ

. AAR

IMAGINE THAT

If you are a John Lennon fan, go grab these stylish Montblanc pens which are a tribute to the singer. (34,200 for the ballpoint pen and (45,600 for the fountain pen.

WATCH IT

If you want to do your good deed for the season, take

a look at these watches launched by Salman Khan for his foundation Being Human. Price: rr ,500 each

SMOKY MATTERS Porsche Design has taken care of the smallest details while designing this sleek and 909 Pipe made of Bruyere wood. Price: (22,000

C;hristmas tree from Swarovski available at all their boutiques across the country. Pipe from F>orsche Design available in DLF Ernporio .. Montblanc pens available at their store in Delhi; 0131: 011 2302 6132). Being Human watches available at Lahore Watch House in New Delhi (·tel: 011 2872 4452). l'Occilane's sugar scrub available at all their stores in Delhi. Brass lamp from International Furniture Brands available at their showroom in New Delhi (tel: 011 .2680 ~!319). Clutch bag by Meera Mahadevla, visH: www.meeramahadevia.com to find out a store

40 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

COMPILED BY PALLAVI PASRICHA

_TALK.ING SHOE:

DE LUXE

TOP NOTES

THE LAST WORD IN EXTRAVAGANT INDULGENCE

LIQUID PRIDE

This 64-year-old Oalmore Trinitas could be yours if you like to own vintage single malts. The last two bottles, hold your breath, sold for £1.00,000 each!

BE DAZZLED Add sparkle to the festive toast with these Swarovskistemmed flute glasses. Price

on request.

CLIP ART Simple yet not lacking in shine is this hair accessory from Angelique Barrette .. Price

on request.

PRECIOUS LOVE Chopard's Happy Diamonds collection is dedicated to that oh-so-precious emotion-love.

Price on request.

LADY KILLER

Some things never go out of fashion. This Blue Python Lady Oior bag is a good example. Price on request.

HUES THAT

Colours run a riot

in this chunky gemstudded Bvlgariring. Price on request.

HANDS FULL

This scallop-cornered Judith Leiber creation is for those evenings when you want to stand out. Price:

~2.2 lakh.

JUdith Leiber purse available at DLF Emporia, New Delhi (011 4609 8269); Dior baq available at DLF Empono, New Delhi (011 4660 5900); Chopard Happy Diamonds collection available at stores worldwide (www.chopard.com); details on Dalmore Trinltas whisky available on wwwdalmorecom; Bvlgari ring available at DLF Emporio, New Delhi (01141505010); Swarovski champagne !Iute glasses available at Swarovski boutiques worldwide

42 INDIA TODAY Tl1AVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

_TALK.ING SHOE:

DE LUXE

Boucheron's Serpent Collection never fails to sink its fangs into us. This gems and white gold bracelet explains why. Price on request.

GET THE BLUES The Dim Shanghai Blue is the world's smallest phone-lighter than

a tube of lipstick.

Price: ~2.7 lakh

PERFECT COIL

DRAW THE LINE

Penmanship gets a precious boost with this David Oscarson fountain pen. Price on request.

SHIP SHAPE

This Romain Jerome watch is a tribute to the greatest mantirneleqend of the last century=the Titanic. Price on request.

MELLOW DOWN Pebbled leather; Straight lines. No frills but still proof of good taste. That's a new one from Tod's. Price: ~1 .02 lakh

44 INDIA TODAY Tl1AVEL PLUS, DECEMBER 2010

Boucheron Serpent Collection available at boutiques WOrldwide (www.boucheron.com.j; T<':ld's bag available at DLF Emporio, New Delhi (01.1 4666 2700); details on Banyan Tree AI Wadi available on www.banyantree.com; David Oscarson pen can be ordered on www,davidoscarson,oom; Dior phone available at Johnson Watch Company, New Delhi (Gl11 4151 7519); Romain Jerome watch available at Jot Impex Pvt Ltd, New Delhi

(0111 2569 2255)

COMPILED BY ADITI SENGUPTA

Corporate Sales and Marketing Office: No. 21. 8th FIOOf, Coats Road. T.Nagar, Chennai - 600017, Tamil Nadu. India For reselVations, contact. Chennai: +91-44-6650 0050· Bangalore: +91-8Q.4113 5559 • Mumbai: +91-22-66790735 New Delhi: +91-11-41729572 • Toll Free: 1800 425 5500 (9 am - 7 pm, Monday to Saturday) • E-mail: m@grthotels.com

www.grthotels.com

GRT

HOTELS & RESORTS

e

GRT Grand, Chennai I Radisson Hotel GRr, Chennai !Radisson Resort Templ'e Bey, M.omallapuram I GRT Grand Estancia, Salem The Sunwoy GRT Grand, Pondioherry I GRT Regency· t'-kidufoi, TlJticorin, Konchipuram I GRT Nature Trails SkyRocco, Yercoud

THE PROMISE Of MORE

_TALK.ING SHOE:

, *.~

'-; tilt HAPPY HAUTE STUFF '-l.~\ HOLIDAYS

:;; o o ro

w <!l « :;;

~

'" o

~ is ~ 'Ii 3:

~

I o z

<1i

1: w a: ~ (f)

>w

<!J ~

"..:! >- 1- I!)

"" (!J

~

(3

'" ~

o I!)

~ -c 3:

'" -c

g.

'" I-

-c 0: -c I

'" >.",

I <L

'" a:

<!l o Io I

<L~~~~~~ __ ~L_ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~

.....

In Season

RAISE THE FESTIVE SPIRIT WITH THESE STYLISH ACCESSORIES

46 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

1. Si Iver balls cluster from Kriti Creations, ('120

2. Silver bells cluster from Kriti Creations, ('120

3. Silver tea light holder from Address Home, ('1,090

4. Silver candle stand from Apartment 9, "3,500

5. Golden candle from Oma, ('995

6. White ball from Moon River, ('3,000

7. Silver hurricane lamp from Silk Road and Beyond, ('695

8. Silver candle from Oma, ('995

9. Silver metallic cut tea light holder from Address Home, ('690

10., Wire ball mesh from FCML, <'1,055

11. Candy sticks from Kriti Creations, ('80 for a pair

12. Silver wreath from Kriti Creations, ('400

13. Teak electric fireplace from Serene Home by Priya Kapur, price on request

• Oma, 8·A Khan Market, New Delhi; tel; (011') 4357 1912

• Silk Road and Beyond,

N-11, .2nd Floor, N-8lock Market, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi;

tel: (011) 4657 6300

• Apartment 9, N-9, N-8lock Marke:t, Greater Kailash I,

New Delh l; tel; (0) 93139 0989a

• Krill Creations, 8-63

Khan Marnet, New Delhi;

tel; (011) 4175 7388

• FCML Home, 65, tst and 2nd Floor, M idd le Lane, K:han Market, New Delhi; tel; (011) 4358 7188

• Moon River, D-16

Defence Colony, New Delhi;

tel: (011) 4161 7103

• Address Home, N-3

Grou nd Floor, N·Block Market. Greater Kailash I, New Delhi; tel: (011) 3243 8225

• Serene Home by Priya Kapur, 414 G hitorn i,

M.G. Road, New Delhi;

tel: (01 f) 2680 4907108

'D1Ahi ·"l!~ALTV

.......

activ~ ---acres

Not just living, Active living.

Introducing Club Active. At over 11akh square feet, it's tne largest residents' club in Ka/kata. Now live life truly grand size. With Club Acave.Betresh yourself and your 'family and enjoy true 'freedom 01 space amidst acres 01 verdant greenery, housing a res idential dub house, a whole host of world-class facilities inaluding a putting green golf area, tennis and squash courts and srate-ot-tne-an f,ilness centre. Even plush banquet facilities. All for the exclusive pleasure of residents. Grand, world-class luxury and true premium facilities do not get any better than this.

Club Facilities.:

Indoor: • Badminton • Squash • Lounge • Banquets • COffBB Shop' Gym • Stearn ROOl'Il • Yog!<ll Aerobics • Pool' Billiards • Table TenniS • TV Hoorn • Library '. Creche • Cards Room • Board Games.

o utdoor: • Swimming Pool· Kids Pool • Jacuzzi • Jogging Track • Cyclillg Track' Children Play Area' Cricket I Football Field • Tennis' Basketball • Putting Green Golf

Within 1.5 km oflTe Sonar and upcoming JW Marriott, The Park and Hilton in Ko/kala. Marketing & Site Office' 54/10 D. C. Dey Road, Near ITe Sonar. 011 E.M. Bypass. Kolkata - 700015. www.aetlveacres.co.tn • Email: h.fo@ruchireal.ty.com • Enquiries: +91 97485 666'6.2/.3/4

SilLMtiorlS/RUCHI/32/20 I 0

POINTS OF VIEW

TRAVEL LOG

Two OF MY favourite reasons for going to Goa, where Bunny and I were· last week, are pac and pui. Pao and pui are two varieties of Goan bread, real bread, diametrically distinct from the mass-produced, mach ine-packaqed, pre-sliced stuff that has all the flavour of synthetic cotton wool. There is nothing synthetic about pao and pui, which Estelle-our friend, philosopher and guide on all matters Goan-tells us are made in the traditional way that involves the kneading of the dough with bare feet (hence the word 'pao'). Those Goan bakers must have yummy feet for the pao and pui they make are truly scrumptious .. The pao with its rounded golden-brown crust enclosing a soft, buttery interior; the pui flatter, like a thick pancake, which you cut in half to form two pouches into which you smear butter or jam

(I recommend Bhuira's Bitter Orange marmalade made by Linnet Mushran). Pure bliss, whose advent is announced by the pao-man's early morning bicycle bell that greets the beginning of each new day in Goa.

Ti.11 before I ever went to Goa and tasted pao and pui; my favourite bread were the crusty loaves to be had from Menu's bakery, in a dingy back lane of what was then called Wellesley Street, in the then city of Calcutta. I never did manage to find out why Menu's was called Menu's. All what I did know was that Menu's made what I considered the most delicious bread in the world.

It was too good to last. Calcutta became Kolkata and somewhere in the transformation Menu's and its fabulous bread disappeared for ever. Fortunately, the loss of Menu's has been compensated for me by the discovery of Goa's pao and pui,

My only problem with pao and pui has been the delicious dilemma of which I like more. The pao? Or the pui? Damned if I can decide. Tell you what, lemme have one more of each and then maybe my mind'il be able to make itself up, undistracted by the noise and clamour of the outside world .. For the civilised Goans have ordered things in such a way as to ensure that the daily newspaperharbinger of gloom and .doom,

48 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

disaster and dismay-gets to you

a good three hours after your pao and pui have been delivered to your doorstep and relished with undiverted enjoyment. So this time around, as always, I looked forward to savouring the daily pao-or-pui debate, moderated by morning ruminations on bread, good bread, in general, and

PAO AND PUI ARE REAL BREAD, DISTINCT FROM THE MASS-PRODUCED, MACHINEPACKAGED, PRE-SLICED STUFF THAT HAS All THE FLAVOUR OF SYNTH ETIC COTTON WOOL

how it is much more than just a food, more a sort of covenant, if you like,

!a happy complicity between our human needs and the generous gifts lof the earth which replenish ~hemselves through the very act of ,giving. Quite a bit to chew on. With 'your pao? Or pul? And the rest of the world in an elsewhere limbo, for the 'next three hours at least when it

u:

~ ,would finally turn up, shuffling its feet

~ like a laggardly schoolboy, in the form

I

f2 of the belated newspaper.

" :>

'"

isfortunately, the hurty-burly world, all jostl.ing shoulders and grasping hands, has a way of gatecrashing even the most

jealously guarded of sanctuaries. And Goa, sadly, is no exception. When we Igot there this time, the first thing that hit us was the unseasonable heat. It was suffocatingly hot. After days of 'unrelieved heat, one evening the Iheavens opened in a monsoon-like krownpour that lasted over eight Ihours, paralysing practically the whole of Goa. Power lines down, flooded roads,gridlocked traffic, flights ,diverted, cancelled or delayed for nours, Chaos. Caused by global warming, climate change?

Sailesh, who always drives us around when we are in Goa, mayor [may not know much about climate change. But he does know only too Iwell what is happening to his native ;Goa, of which the extraordinary heat iand rain are only the symptoms. They're chopping down all the trees to build more and more houses; that's !making the weather change, he said. One day all the trees wi.11 have gone; Iwhat'II it be like then, what'l! we do? he asks of no one in particular. His Ifears are only too well founded. 'Spurred by non-Goan speculators, rapacious property developers are .swarnpinq Goa's green fields and

Iforest8 with a lava flow of brick and concrete. Estates, apartment blocks, Igarish 'luxury' villas sprout like venomous mushrooms. I thought of ~hese, and of what Sailesh had said, and the morning pao and pui were somehow different. They seemed to Ileave a bitter aftertaste,like a promis broken, a pledge dishonoured. A foretaste of ruin in paradise? Another Menu's in the unmaking? •

TAKE A BREAK

CITY UPDATES

LONDON

CAPITAL DRAWS

"'No one can call Hawksmoor (11 Langley Street; 02072477392) just a steakhouse. Set in a basement where a brewery existed once, the eatery is hardcore beef and the meat comes in various ages and is priced by weight. .. Another addition to Korean cuisine side is Ceena (13 St Bride St; 020 7936 4941) with its bright interiors and refreshing decor. It relies on the classics such as pungent kimchi, pancakes, smoky beef, grilled chicken in hot pepper sauce and the barbecues.

'" If the name The Owl and the Pussycat (34 Redchurch St; 0207833 4395) suggests a cosy pub for repast then you are spot on. Game-rabbit and partridge-are the favourites

here, but try also the mackerel, duck and the puddings and desserts.

NEW YORK

BIG APPLE, BIG BITE

"Low key is not what New York is famous for and yet Kappa Sake House (388 Fifth Avenue (Sixth Street), Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718832 2970) is a lovable Japanese watering

hole, serving sakes and with a food list that's rather small but excellent. "A name like Lowcountry (142 West 10th Street, Greenwich Avenue; 212 255 2330) is not exactly inspiring, but that's till you have dined here. A bistro kind of place with sleek interiors,

50 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010

"Oscar Wilde will probably never go out of fashion. The latest of his plays doing the rounds is An Ideal Husband (Vaudeville Theatre, 404, The Strand; 02079077071), a social satire written more than a century ago combining his usual wit and commentary . The production has been done so elegantly as to match the

playwright's brilliance .. Runs till February.

"There was never a French restaurant that enjoyed such good vibes in London as the strangely named A

Little of What IYoU Fancy (464 Kingsland IRd; 020 7275 10600) serving lovely dishes .such as the

IlchiCken Liver Pate, Roast Beetroot Salad, Smoked Heddock {ishcake and the Beef Bourguignon. "The brand new Park Plaza Westminster Bridge (200 iB ridge Road; 844 415 6780) is

a stunning edifice in chrome and Iglass with such iconic ne.ighbours as 'the Big Ben and London Eye.

"Ever wondered how the Queen travels? Here's an opportunity to get up close with her majesty's transportation department. Till December 23, it is possible to have a peek at The Royal Mews (Buckingham Palace Rd; 02077667302) which takes care of all her and the royal family's travel needs spanning such diverse ends as horsedrawn carriages to cars including limousines.

check out the Cornmeal Encrusted Catfish, Chow Chow Tang, Fried Chicken Biscuit and Pepites.

"Andy Warhol's iconic works are so recognisable that they hardly need any introduction, but a lesser known

"Riveting and engrossing American Idiot (St James Theatre, between Broadway and Eighth Ave) is a rock musical that will have you tapp.ing away from the word go. Reputed to electrify and overwhelm, it had all the elements of a musical drama: thumping music, brilliant l.ighting and eye popping movement.

iaspect is that of his films. The Museum of Modern Art (11 W 53rd 'St;. 212 708 9400) has put them together in DVD format in a manner rand speed that WarhOl originally mtended the viewers to see. On from December 19 .

.. Xiao Ye (198B Orchard Street, Lower East Side; 212777 7733) migh !be a bit of a tongue twister, but there's no !problem where its food is concerned. It is Taiwanese at its

Ibest. Try the dumplings, :Hainan Chicken, 'pork on rice and the like.

"Don't mistake the name FD (21 E 165th St between Fifth and Madison Aves; 212 772 2440) for a charity shop; even though it began as a c shop it has acquired fancy feathers land gone all brand conscious. From Cartier to Chanel there's everything here, for a price though-the US$ 1 million Cartier panther watch.

Q}n I 'tI'o'N
,~ ~ E
,_ '~ 0
'"'0 =: ~ ~, ~' "E (; '"
QJ § ~
,r' it .... .!l
.... .:: 1; >- -=.;
-. ..= is! =, "- ,~, ·0
QJ 0 0
Q.) .... t::: E c::> ;:I
~ c;l ..,. QJ !:::... e
--- d: .c .=.
A <.._;I ~ .=. ~' 6...
...,
-; .... ri ""' ~ "
'1:i bQ ,,.C .,'?:, _,.,,;: ..,. :,;
--= c t>.(I M '-' ~
.:: :::::J
Q.) ..,. .... <'<I .....'
j..; Q.j (.!:) r<:I .:: <::<:: ~ .....
~ '00.0 ,_ .::
0 :.. ""' ,...;£::' ..,. «i .... '" ~~
'-' ' ..... E ....."
~ Q .J::
..... .:: ~ ....r::: 0 '"
,1!!!!!Oj «I .... r<:I -'"
],--I ~ ~ .:: a.,., ..,. u -= ~
3: >-. >- ""C ,,,,Q
~ '<'<I~ <'<I ....<:: .:: e
0 ""C 1::1
~ 5 "'0 ,....<::, ""C ""'I: ""- ::::l
""C «I .::
= ""' ::;;: cd =
'f;; E ""C ...., .... '"
~ ....... .:: '0 .... "'0 ..t:>
(iO, ""' ~, .:: @)
..... ~ 0- .... t<:I ~
:B .~ J::.
~ 'Vi, ....<:: ....... '-' 8
Q.j "S;: 1~ ~ "0... ""'t:J
.:: E ~
= ~ "" .J::. 'i5.. E <'<I
..... ....<::
C <'<I E ~ _,.,,; 8'
... 0 .::::::. ,""' ""C
~ -- ...... (:;; ......, 0
,:3'_ ., ..... ..s::::::. 'S;: <'<I 'e::.... ~
..« ""'
QJ ~ .::::::. ~' «i '"
- ,= ""C 0::: ~t::
=- ,""' t<:I .... ...." ....J:::::: g
~ -= ~ -E u
.... ""
-e ,5 rI:I ..e ~ >- 9-
"""" ...., g .J::
d,;I ~ ""' ::;;: :;' ""C ®
-5 - c:I.. C:' (:;;
,,d (:;; <'<I ::;;: <>
• ""' ::I ceo "E
~ '" .:: '.u - '"
~ ,~ <1> <1> E
...... QJ .:: "~ .:: ~ §'
=: .... <::> <'<I '-=
00 (:;; ""C .::::::. ''_ ~
§ <1> ""' Q,I c::>
'':;: .::.0::: -s ""- - a
~ ... 3: c ~ ---
~ Q... - 0 ..... ~
>< ~ e .... ....
.... .... ' .... E <::> 00
e:: ..... e-a
0' ,0- 0 <:>
~ E ._
- ,::::l .=. "" .....
..... ~
,::> ~ ,<'<I ~ ~ c
if 0 ....<:: ::>
,_ . .:: t,,!) ~ .J:: ~
...., .2 ...., '-'
e c «I :..E ...: 0-
0 ~ <'<I' E oc
's '2 =
., ... ...::.:: <1> '(:;; ...::.:: ...,
Q .... ' ... 1; ::I e-a
... cd ..,. ..s;;;' ~ ~
-= ...::.:: t>.(I '-' ec
~ 0- ·2 ...., !
::.;; '::> ..,. ..,. -.;::J ~
::E: ..c a-.
0::: J:::: ""C .... ...
«I .... E
"" ....:: ""C ""C 'f;;" ?:l
~ "" .!:!:'l c ::> E ...
-= ::- ..,. ceo .......
is'
~ e_
t! <:>
.....
~ <:>
1:fl '"'
""
:r. ""
i OJ:
0
1::1
."'I
~ <.>
..:1
I'I.!. ..:'
Q,j '"
~ e..o
es
Z
- ·0
=- 6
0
Q.j (!J
- -d
.I:i =
'"
=: ~
:= =
l1li,. :~
~ ....
.~ ti
U
a
es
~ OJ:
es
A
~ ~
c
Zl
~ '" '"
u >.
co ..
'" '"
~ ;,; ~
]' s
'"
c:5 .", ·c
'" '"
e F
=
.....
~ '" 0
"" U
ro ;:
~ ;;;
= ti
co '"
~ .=
E ~
« TAKE A BREAK

CITY UPDATES

HYD'BAD

SOUTHERN SPIC.E

"'Courtyard by Marriott (1~3~ 1024 Lower Tank Bund Road; 2752 1222) is contemporary and aimed at the business traveller. And just like the

S'PORE

LION'S DEN

"'Wanderlust Hotel (2, Dickson Road, Little India; 63963322) couldn't have been better named. Set up by boutique hotelier Loh Uk Pend,and located inside what was once a school,it is the rooms that shock and awe: a giant vintage typewriter and a rocket. "'If St James Wine Bar and Bistro (St James Power Station, 3, Sentosa Gateway, 62707676) sounds European, the

ambience will reveal it's more American. Set on two levels, the wine bar is out in the open serving some

lovely wines and nice cocktails,

while the bistro is indoor serving a nice variety of eats.

"'Fairy tales are enduring, some more than others; enough to come alive on stage and shake a leg even. Pinocchio (DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbeu Road; 6733 8166) the musical has won awards the, world over .and is

5 2 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

name, it is a nice set of rooms, connected to the main hotel through a sky bridge.

"'Harry's Diner (201, SS Estates, Road no 1, Banjara Hills; 98853 88337) sounds fascinatingly Western and is probably what its owner Harish was called when he trained in the UK. The food though is a lovely mish mash of Italian, English and American.

"'Cheesy as it may sound, this is the stuff of dreams of all Bollywood fans. At the city's irrepressible Ramoji Film City a new Honeymoon Package offers activities and filmi locations for newly married couples in which to recreate scenes from movie classics.

charmingly told with marionettes, animals and rocking music, Runs till mid December.

"'From Hanuman to Mulan, Asia is home to many superheroes much before Superman and Spiderman. The brilliant show Super Might! Heroes of Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum (1, Empress Place; 6332 779) brings them to life with artefacts and displays, especially for children, but adults can have fun too. Till mid February.

"'If you want street food without the vagaries of

the street, then Food Opera @ ION Orchard (Basement 4, ION Orchard, 2, Orchard Turn; 6509 9198) should do the trick. Its

upmarket feel with 22 hawker stalls, artistic decor including the furniture

and chandeliers might seem like

a reversal

of the hawker-stall concept, but it works. What's more, the food

is good.

Options include a video shoot by a director, still photographs, bullock cart ride and floral fantasy! "'Wednesdays just got jazzier and irresistible at Touch (Trend set Tower, Road No.2, Banjara Hills; 2354 2422) with the launch of Wednesday Blooms where OJ Shashank and OJ Jerome lsma-Ae spinning best in progressive house music. All of which goes rather well with not just the ambience but also the fare that the place dishes out.

PANJIM

BEACH COUNTY

"'Not much left to the imagination when you hear Mix Bar Grill and More (Arpora) but what you don't get I from the name lis the fact that it packs in a few surprises: it combines food, dance, sports, live acts, karaoke in addition to lovely spirits.

"'A Mumbai import, Cafe Mangii

(tst Floor, Madhav Ashram near Azad Maidan, MG Road; 08322230773)

with heavy Bollywood influences, is all about Italian and great Italian at that. Like its Mumbai counterparts, it is a cosy and warm cafe whiles attributes lay in the handcrafted Napolitana wood-fired oven pizzas and al dente pastas.

"'The Upper House (Rua Cunha Rivara, Opp Municipal Garden; 242 6475) is Goan all the way. It has

a lovely ambience with live music and attentive service. But the food scores over an else, with its strong French and Portuguese influences.

COMPILED BY ANITA RAO KASHI

FASH!~BLE & L!TE

FL-143 Size: 3-8

FL-122 Size: 3-7

FL-41D Size: 3·8

FL-140 Size: 6·9

To see the complete range of FUte, visit any RELAXO Retail Shoppe .. To locate your nearest Retail Shoppe, log on to www.Jelaxofootwear.com Also available at all leading footwear stores.

TAKE A BREAK

REVIEW

HOTEL

DESIGNS ON THE PAST

A design junkie's paradise, The Park Hyderabadl carries forward the city's history to create a rich yet edgy space. BY KALYANI PRASHER

I The pool is one of the

centrepieces of the hotel, being an ,infinity edge pool, and it seems to be Ifalling right into the Hussain Sagar, spread in front of the hotel. The pool's go.ing to take on a more dramatic role ionce the nightclub right below opens, and clubbers can see people swimrninq above. In case you are :wondering, like me, why people will be swimming in the night-the hotel ,will hire swimmers especially for the :effect! Unfortunately it is not yet ready Ior me to see, as a lot of other things. Irhe Oriental restaurant, for one,

which promises to be worth a visit.

Corridors of glass lead me to another set of elevators that are surprisingly creaky for such a sleek hotet, and I go up my room to witness

E V. EN BE. FORE I a. ctually saw the Park's LEED Gold

certified '7 -star contemporary space' in Hyderabad, I was overwhelmed. Names of designers were flying out of everywhere: Tarun TahiUiani, Rohit Bal, Subodh Gupta & Sharti Kher,Jean Francois Lesage, Rajiv Saini, Manish Arora and more. Radical rooms, stunning pool, edgy design, I had heard so many things about this space that I wondered if it will be the case of too much hype.

STUNNING SPACES

Not so, it turns out. I stared unbelievingly at what looked, from one angle, like floors of metal just thrown on top of each other in a

casual fashion. Glass acted as gems on this metal necklace that expanded into the sky in front of me-an arresting, even overwhelming, sight. The fact that it is surrounded by fairly innocuous buildings and comes suddenly into view adds to the drama of the facade of The Park Hyderabad.

Inside, design continues to dominate. The elevators are kept dark, almost hlindingly so, to enhance the experience when you step in to the hotel lobby. What you see is an airy, open space, with a glass wall separating the lobby and Aqua, the poolside bar. Each chandelier in the lobby is a piece of art, each corridor demands attention. There are some five types of stylised chairs. It's too much to take in at once.

r::::..4'

~) INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

yet another example of smart design. I draw back the curtain and see the lake spread in front. A railway station .adds quaintness to my picture window and I sink into my plush bed happily. The way the room i.s designed it seems, rather oddly, that the wardrobe is inside the bathroom. The best part, however, is the view from the room .. That, and a new local sweet I am offered each day, instead of the regular chocolate.

SIP AND BITE

I step outside my room to take a walk around and find myself engulfed in perfumes of different sorts at each floor, each lobby area. Not being tolerant of strong perfume I find this is a nuisance, but clearly it is someone's effort to make the hotel

a complete sensory experience. As it happens, I end up with a headache, :complaining about perfume to all and sundry and on my next venture out I find these to be, mercifully, subdued.

I head to Aish, the Andhra food restaurant designed by Tarun Tahilliani. As you would expect, the restaurant's decor is ethnic chic but it is no different from so many of such spaces we see nowadays. Lam

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010.55

HOTEL

TAKE A BREAK

disappointed by the design, which is good without being dramatic. The food, however, is the whole point of visiting Aish, and I enjoy a four course meal of Hyderabadi dishes, including popular delicacies such as Kachche Gosht Ki Biryani and Double Ka Meetha. There is a lot to choose from and everything I tasted was delicious. There is an interestingly designed (of course) wine menu but unfortunately none of the wines I wanted to try was available by the glass.

I much preferred the design of the ail-day dining area Verandah, which

has cheerful jaa/i work that lends the decor an openness without compromising on the designer factor. This and Sicca Bar next door, both done by Conran & Partners, are the two winners in terms of design for me. I eat the world's best pancakes, light like air, at the Sunday brunch and prefer to eat my meals at Verandah rather than the swish Aish.

REST AND UNWIND

The Aura Spa is not ready but if the massage (in a room that functions as tbe spa) I tried is anything to go by,.

56 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

~his one's going to be a beauty. Crystal Therapy is your god old hot 'stone massage with polished Igemstones, which is supposed to ibalance the chakras but only if you do several of them in a row. I was happy with round one though, the therapist was clearly an expert and it was as good a massage as anyone Iwould expect. When Aura opens, the whole experience should get only :better with all the spa frills thrown in. One person who deserves mention is er Harish, the spa manager, a sort of manager-at-Iarge at the hotel. He care of everything from my perfume complains, to my queries on food, decor, hotel and anything else. It's :people like him who make your stay at a hotel personalised and memorable. Dr Harish insisted that

II try an 'in room bath'; the khus khus land henna bath I opted for turned out ~o be well worth. i.t-I could literally ~eel my tired muscles relax and it

Ime into the sweetest sleep I have

lin some time.

I It's another matter that it was also

Itime to head home and I almost Imissed the flight thanks to that!

The Park Hyderabad; tel: (040)

.2345 67B9; www .. theparkhote/s.com

www.mapmyindia.com

Range starts ~ 7,990/- onwards.

..

Introducing:

IN-DASH NAVIGATION

First time in India!

Door- to-door navigation to house

addresses in 13 cities & 3 million places

Find nearby places like ATMs, restaurants, offices, apartments, petrol pumps etc.

Navigate at street level in902 cities and reach 5,76,000 towns & villages

Turn-by-turn voice instructions to your destination in English, Hindi and 7 other local I nd ian I a n gua g as

Available at 600 car showrooms, car accessories outlets & electronics stores across India, including:

Traveling abroad? Gel international maps on your Mapmylndia Navigator

Intelligent, super-fast, predictive search wit h a uto -co rre ction of sp e iii ngs

Movies, music, bluetooth & reverse camera for your in-car entertainment & connectivity

No subscription or data charges. No downloads.

ee

TOYOTA

u..NlAAUTI ~!KJZUkI

mahil1dra

,

iii ......

tHED

G

TATA

TAKE A BREAK

THE GATEWAY KOZHIKODE

"Afew curry leaves. Two green

- chillies. A generous helping of that masala you have in your hands now and the most delicious chicken curry in the world is ready." I smile at the speaker, an earnest store manager who has taken time off from his busy schedule to help me buy spices and condiments I can take back home from Kozhikode, erstwhile Calicut. Such is the hospitality I have been enjoying since my arrival at The Gateway Hotel-attention that goes beyond the premises of the hotel.

I thank him profusely as I walk away triumphantly with a bag full of whole spices (fragrant cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, mace and all the works), prawn pickles, pedis and poppadorns. Back in the comfort of my spacious, carpet-free (thank heavens for thatl) Logan Suite

I revel in the purchases before turning my attention to the deafening sound of the rain beating down on this colourful port, where Vasco da Gama dropped anchor in the 15th century ..

Rain plays spoilsport through my two-niqht stay at The Gateway Hotel, located a few minutes from the

58 INDIA TODAY ffiAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

HOTEL

beach. I stick to my room mostly, except for two daily appointments at the spa. A team of doctors sweet-talk me into attending yoga sessions in the mornings. They also reward me for my newfound self-discipline with some ayurvedic treatments.

At The Gateway Hotel in Kozhikode, ayurveda is more than just a relaxlnq oil massage. The Malayaliaccented English my elderly massuese speaks in, is as gentle as the head bath she gives me after each session. When I emerge a new, invigorated self from the spa, there is some amazing food to tuck into .. I am

The hotel acade

lucky to be offered samplers from

:a traditional sadya meal from an !engagement ceremony the hotel is Ihosting. Or else there is some soul.satisfying Malabar! Biryani, parottas land khorma or the healthy ayurvedic :apple souffle from the special menu.

-ADITI SENGU

The Gateway Hotel Beach Road,

IKozhikode; tel: (0495) 276 5354; www.thegatewayhotels..com

TAKE A BREAK

Courtyard by Marriott

Mumbai .International Airport

Four-star hotels have a tough task in India. The moment you pay upwards of ~6,OOO a night room rate, you expect discreet service, multiple dining options, spa, internet, aesthetic decor, the works .. But then what separates four from a five-star? Courtyard is a brand known worldwide for smart and basic hotels, for the fleeting visit of a business traveller, but herein India, the smart is smarter and the basic is not so basic after all. So when Courtyard by Marriott launched in Mumbai recently, I would say they would have faced an identity crisis. Keeping that challenge in mind, I think this business hotel by the Marriott group has achieved the right balance. It provides 'basic'levels of luxury and comfort to the traveller pampered by Indian hospitality and makes for a simple stay option without being totally no-frills.

60 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

HOTEL

How does the Courtyard achieves this? It has discreet service that almost matches the level. of a fivestar, but instead of multiple food option it has only two. World cuisine

is available at MaMa cafe (which does not serve mamas, though you'd be forgiven for assuming so) and Oriental, that cuisine we Indians cannot live without, at Red Zen. Both restaurants score on decor: the cafe

is airy and bright while Red Zen is more intimate with enclosed areas for

cheelful MaMa cafe

ladditional privacy. The food is not of gourmet levels but try various streettooo delicacies from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia at Red Zen and you will come away satisfied.

For the business traveller and corporate events, there are seven Imeeting moms of all shapes and srzes, many of them occupied and busy when I visited, even though the hotel is so new. Of course, these are lall fully equipped for meetings or events; and for exclusive meetings there is a lounge on the top floor that 'can be accessed if you stay at the 'higher category suites.

I There is no spa or salon, but plans

are afoot to add this luxury that has become as common as the bathroom at every hotel these days. The rooms lare not short of five-star standardmy Junior Suite was lovely and spacious, more like a studio and ,much larger than you'd expect of

la business hotel. There are small ,intangibles that remind you that this is not a five-star hotel: there is no DVD Iist, the lifts don't have a sensor, the ICheck-in is not as quick as you'd ,want,. but the effort that Courtyard

has made to fit into the Indian scene is commendable. You pay slightly high four-star prices and you get what il can only call four-and-a-half star ,service. Good enough, I'd say.

-KALYANI PRASHER

Tel: (022) 61369999; www.marriott.com/courtyard

Sheraton Udaipur

Passing through the massive triple arch that marks the main entrance of the Udaipur Sheraton Palace Resort and Spa, I enter a marble chessboard terrace. Rather simply named, Aangan,it's a great spot to sip champagne as you observe the changing moods and colours of the lake at sunset. The 240-room resort,

:a fairy tale white, sits right by the Fateh Sagar Lake.

I The plush deluxe suite we check

into, one of seven, is spacious and Icontemporary with Rajasthani la~cents. Large windows offer lovely views of the terrace, landscaped gardens and the pool. Feeling a bit peckish, we order a classic Margherita pizza, which is delicious. IDinneris at Rudra. This Jain

restaurant interestingly marries vegetarian food to local cuisine with 'a few surprises thrown in. We drool 'over the Achari Ker Sangri (the chef's interpretation of the Rajasthani classic, Ker Sangnj.

There are plans to transform the smaller dome into a Club Lounge. The young could find nirvana at the poolside watering hole, H20, which will be revved up with a dance floor.

-VANOANA MALHOTRA

A.

FALAKNUMA PALACE TURNS INTO TAJ HOTEL

After ten years of extensive renovation, the former residence of Nizam Mehboob Ali Khan of Hyderabad has opened as a Ta] hotel. The palace has 60 rooms and suites including a Grand Presidential suite, two restaurants serving Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and Indian cuisine, an outdoor pool and a spa. The Dining Hall here has the world's largest dining table that can seat 1.01 people. For more information, visit www.tajhotels.com

Sheraton Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa; tel: (0294) 305 0000

ZURI'S NEW RESORT IN SIKKIM

Zuri Hotels & Resorts has opened its seventh property in India at Baiguney in Sikkirn, The Retreat by Zuri, is more like an adventure sports destination and it will offer interesting options such as pargl.iding, river rafting, river camping, mountain camping, lungle

hiking, village trekking and so on. The setting of the resort is picturesque. Located in the Himalayan foothills, it has River Rangit flowing alongside. It has a multi-cuisine lounge Papillon Cafe & Lounge, the Citrus Bar and the pool cafe Blue Lagoon. The hotel also

has a spa. For more information,

visit www.thezuri.hotels.com

GINGER HOTEL OPENS IN CHENNAI

The Ginger hotel group has opened their first hotel in Tamil Nadu at IITM Research Park, next to liT Madras campus. This 85-room budget hotel

has a self check-in kiosk, meeting room and a gym. The hotel will soon have a food court serving local cuisines. The location of the hotel is perfect for business travellers as it only 1 0 krn away from the airport. For more information, visit www.qinqerhotels.corn

INDIA TODJ(YTBAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010.61

THE PLUS ITINERARY

TAKE A BREAK

SEOUL CITY

Get a feel of the traditional Korean culture or go karaoke till midnight, experience the best of Seoul with this itinerary. BY DEEPALI KUMAR

• DAY 1 : A relaxing stroll through Seoul's most beautiful palace Changdeokgung and its 300-year-old garden brings you in touch with Korea of the past The colourful flower motifs painted on the walls provide great photo opportunities .. Now, make your way to Insadong market which is bursting with souvenir shops, art galleries and traditional tea houses. It's the place to pick up pottery, ink drawings and sample some streetfood. Stop for vegetarian lunch at Sanchon (tel: +82 2735 0312), run by a former Buddhist monk, for

a meal flavoured with subtle herbs and roots. Spend the afternoon at Samcheongdong famous for its traditional Korean houses, Bukchon Hanok. The calm, beauty of this pari is distinct from the hustle and

bustle of Seoul today. Round off your day with dinner at Tosokchon

(+ 82 27336645) one

of Seoul's best known Korean restaurant.

• DAY 2: Take a trip to the Korean Folk Village (www.koreanfolk.co.kr) this morning. It's about an hour away from the city centre .. The village has 260 traditional houses and is a true replica of Korean culture and life .. Do catch the various shows before you leave; the acrobatics and equestrian feats are really interesting. Local products like masks and musical instruments are also available for sale here. For lunch you may choose to try traditional Korean streetfood with over 30 choices available here.

The past gives away to the present as you spend your afternoon at Yiongsan Electronics Market, among the biggest in Asia .. Composed of 21 buildings and more than 5,000 shops from cheap DVDs

to the latest in computer and mobile technology

everything is available here. In the evening dine at Samwon Garden (www.samwongarden. com) known for its rustic

6 2 INDIA TODAY Tl1AVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010

.MUST SEE: The Demilitarized Zone where you can see the border .

• MUST SHOP: Buy electronics from Yongsan Electronics Market. It is one of the biggest markets in Asia .

• MUST EAr: Korean food at Tosokchon, one of the most popular restaurants in the city.

setting and open dining area. This old house is the perfect place to sample Korea's drink soju and Korean Ibarbecue and kimchi salad .

• DAY 3: Take a day tour to the

,

Demilitarized Zone today. The most

lexciting tour is the one that includes 'the 3rd infiltration tunnel. This tour ,gives you the chance to visit the most heavily armed border in the world. !After a busy day dine at Korea House, i(www.koreahouse.or .. kr). You can

z

g karaoke here till late night

a:

::: '. DAY 4: Today head out to

o

iBongeunsa, a complex of Buddhist

temples. There is a 75 ft statue of

'Buddha at Bookgeukbojeon, which Itook 10,000 followers 10 years to 'build. After this move on to COEX, a Imegaplex with an huge underground .aquariurn, shops and restaurants. Do ivisit the Kimchi Field Museum and while you are here, taste two different 'kinds of kimchi served here .

In the evening make your way to N Seoul Tower for the spectacular 'Iaser and light show. The observatory [platform is the place to see the city

I

laid out in front of you. Make sure you

Ireach Incheon airport well ahead of time to spend time at the Korean Cultural and Exhibition museum. iChildren will absolutely love it and :you'lienjoy the time here .•

Here's an idea:

Share the un

HTC Desire

HTC Wildfire

Phones that can share apps quickly and easily

" ,,'I',

c.. .. tl , .. :1-4..,., St"'~,:

, , , It'

\

TC

htc.com

Delhi/NCR: 9911!095033, 9810044477, 9999104194. Kolkata: 9007894641, 9903366665. Llicknow/Kanpur:99H095033, 9336960422. Jaipur: 9911095033, 9799995830. Chandiqarh: 9855422888, 9316001592. Karnataka: 9842507958, 9342193222. Chennai: 9842507958, 9840265028. Hyderabad: 8885111393, 9346303032. Bangalore:. 9036964221, 9341258747. Aherndabad/Surat: 9879557482, 9625599440. Mumbai: 9004766880, 9833489476,. 9768264796. Pune/Nagpur: 9890703322,9552075075.

TAKE A BREAK

·1 GOLF LINKS

I

I

One of the true gems among Irish links courses, Ballybunion is a place every golfer should aim to play at. BY RISHI NARAIN

VERY OFTEN I am asked

the question, "What is the difference between a golf links course and an ordinary golf course?". The answer is that links courses are golf courses built near the sea. In countries like Scotland and Ireland, the strip of land kept as a safety buffer between the town and the sea was known as the 'links' land as it was the 'link' between the town and the sea. These sand dune and grass covered areas were originally kept for grazing sheep and it is on this type of land that sheep herders first started beating round stones with sticks aimed at flags .. This pastime eventually grew into the game of golf. Many of the seaside meadows on 'links' land were fashioned into proper golf courses like the oldest one at

St. Andrews, Scotland, and other famous historical links courses at Carnoustie, Muirfield and Troon.

Golfers travelling to Ireland generally tend to land in Dublin, the capital on the east coast, and play

at courses in that area. However, the true gems of Irish golf links are on the island's west coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Ballybunion is the best known amongst these. It's reputation has grown over the years with famous golf writers singing its praises.

The most telling endorsement of the course came from famous American professional Tom Watson, who, while accepting the trophy for the 1982 British Open championship, said, "Nobody can call himself a golfer until he has played at Ballybunion; you would think the game originated there!"

Many agree that the Old Course at Ballybunion, which originated in 1893 and was given finishing touches in the 1930's, is the finest seaside links course in the world. Its true beauty lies in the run of holes that border the beach and in the undulations, valleys and ridges that give the course its rugged appeal and present golfers with an endless variety of challenges.

Like any seaside or links course, the key factor affecting play is wind

which sometimes sweeps so hard off the ocean that the salt water spray is like rain coming in sideways. Weather conditions change sharply so that you can tee off in a tee shirt and bright sunshine and an hour later be bundled in sweaters, mittens and rain gear! Umbrellas can be useless implements which are easily blown away or ripped to shreds in the howling wind. Carrying warm clothes and full rain gear is standard even at the height of summer.

One feature on Ballybunion's Old Course is the number of greens on the first nine holes which have either ridges or valleys in front, making. it essential to take enough club to land beyond the front edge. Otherwise the ball may run back. down a sharp slope into a valley or a deep sand bunker. Some of these "pot" bunkers have walls so high and steep that the only playable shot is sideways or backwards! And if you stray off the fai.rway, the hip-high gorse grass is difficult to locate a ball in; so accuracy is crucial.

In 1969, famous g.olf author Pat Ward~Thomas visited and wrote:

TIP OF THE MONTH

Playing on links courses means playing in the wind and golfers need to adjust their stance and swing to hit the ball on a lower trajectory The basic changes are to widen the stance, setting your bodyweight more on your front foot With your hands eneed of the ball at address, effectively reducing the loft of the

club face. A enott backswing and snon

follow through will complete the change.

You will see the ball flying lower, piercing

through the wind. If you use your

~1!Ii!15iiil~1 conventional stance and {ul/length, long t-._--

~ swing, the ball will balloon up in the air

and fly at the mercy of the wind.

€249 per person at Carrig Country House & Restaurant for 2 nights, on sharing basis. Includes Irish breakfasts, fourcourse dinner on both evenings, a round of golf at Docks Golf Club and third night stay and breakfast free. Call +353 66 976 9100; e-mailinfo@carrighouse.com

"8allybunion possesses excitement and challenge that can have few peers in all the world of seaside golf." Author Herbert Warren-Wind writing in the New Yorker magazine in 1971 said: "I found Ballybunion to be

GOLFING GEAR

The new Cobra $2 Offset Fairways appeal to afl golfers looking for maximum draw-bias forgiveness and distance from the fairway. Made of 17-4 stainless steel, their thin c/ubface yields consistent distance even on off-centre hits, while the safe is contoured to promote improved contact with the bal/, and thus improves .forgiveness.

The Cobra S2 comes with a _..-~

variety ot shaft options and is suitable for aI/levels of golfers. Price: '{·11 ,250. Available at leading pro-shops across India.

nothing less than the finest seaside links I have ever seen." "If sheer pleasure is the yardstick, then Ballybunion's Old Course gets my vote as the No. 1 in the world"-thus spoke Peter Dobereiner; the famous English golf writer.

Given such glowing praise, gOlfe.rs who tradition. ally wish to visit Scotland to play the famous links courses there should know that a trip like this is incomplete until the courses on the west coast of Ireland are included. Put Ballybunion on your itinerary and boast about your trip there for as long as you live.

FACT FILE

Balfybunion Golf Club; +353

(0) 68 27146; WINW, ballybuniongol.fclub, ie Getting There: Ballybunion is 56 km from Kerry Airport (Farrantore). Fly Delhi! Mumba! to Kerry Airport via any European hub. Fare: 150,.000 approx .•

... Waterville Golf Links: This one is

truly special. Such courses must be cherished and it's no surprise that golfers from across the globe frequent this wonderful example of links course, that shows how links land is perfect

for the game. Woods and Efs have prepared for Opens here, Payne Stewart was once club captain.

www watervillegolflinks.ie

"'Dooks Golf Club: Goff has been played at this dub since 1889. The course here is set out on one of three stretches at sand dunes at the head ot Dingle Bay Dooks Golf Club suits the golfer seeking a beautiful and tranquil environment to enjoy good golf. wwwdooks.com

"'Kenmare Golf Club: The famous old course at this club is a fair test of golf and it suits all levels of gaffers. It is fair to say that the course here is the jewel in the crown of the late great Eddie Hackett, one of the game's premier golf course architects-the views over Kenmare bay and the surrounding mountains take one's breath away. wwwkenmaregolfclub.com

"'Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club:

The architectural brief was to design

a 'world class' course that is sufficiently ffexlble to challenge competent and experienced players from the back teeing areas, yet be capable of being enjoyed by the average handicap player tram middle and forward teeing areas. www.ringofkerrygolf.com

&r:t:;!:~.

Depurmenr of Tourism ~

CZECH REPUBLIC

I WAS SURE THE accordionist had some gypsy blood in h. im .. H.e .k8P.t ... k.nocking .. b.ack sh .. O.t after Sh. at of SliV. ovice, the bitter sweet, plum liqueur that is unique to the

Czech Republic, and yet was coaxing out wonderful music from his accordion. All the tunes he played, some of them quite demanding, were tight and sharp. By this time I had just knocked back my third shot of Slivovice and while it glided down the gullet smooth and pleasing,

it was now hitting me like the kick of a disgruntled donkey.

I was in U Fleku,. a very boisterous restaurant in the heart of the Nove Mesto, or New Town quarter, of Prague. All around me were happy tourists sitting at thelonq trestle tables on which tankards of cold half litres of Flekovsky lezak and plates of rich meaty dishes accompanied by sauerkraut were being slammed down. Happiness comes quite easily to the visitor in Prague.

We'd arrived in Prague late one evening and checked into our apartment in Praha 7, about 20 minutes on tram

or bus from the centre. Next morning, I opened my curtains to see a persistent drizzle. Yet it would do no

good sitting indoors and sulking so we decided to head into town on the tram. While tourist pressure has persuaded the population in central Prague to learn English, in the more residential areas life goes on without the

language. So after being offered a bottle of jam, a pound of yam and a leg of ham, the lady behind the counter at the general store finally understood we needed tickets for the tram after

I pointed frantically at one trundling past her shop window.

The windows of the tram had become misty thanks to the weather and I remember being absolutely

68 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

wonderstruck when we stepped out of the tram in the heart of Stare Mesto, the Old Town. Our apartment was in an area which still had a communist era feel to it with drab .and featureless residential blocks, whereas the Old Town was like a three dimensional rendering of a picture from

a book by the Brothers Grimm .. Every building was an example of fine architecture. ledges, window frames and doorways were all ornately done up. Walls had lovely frescoes or family crests emblazoned on them. Towering above all this were the twin Gothic steeples of the Church of our Lady before Tyn and I almost expected Hapunzel to drop her hair out of one of the high windows.

The rain just wouldn't let up and it was impossible to pullout a map, so we just followed the throng of people-rain or shine, Prague is always crowded. This eventually brought us to the Staromestske namesti, the Old Town

Square. One of the biggest crowd pullers here is the Astronomical Clock of the g.randiose Old Town City Hall. When the clock strikes the hour, its

twin windows open and out pop figurines of the 12 apostles to do a little jig. Legend has it that the clockmaster Jan z Ruze who made this clock in 1490 was blinded by the councillors who didn't want it replicated elsewhere.

The Old Town Square is dominated by magnificent buildings .. Besides the town hall there's the Church of

St Nicholas, Kinsky Palace done in stunning Rococo style and now hosts a collection of the National Gallery ..

MORE AROUND PRAGUE

"'Cesky Krum/ov: This tiny quaint place in the South Bohemian Region is best known for the art of the historic old

town, and the Cesky Krumlov Castle "'Karlovy Vary: Approximately 130 km from Prague, this spa city is situated in Western Bohemia on the confluence of the rivers Ohre and Tepla and is truly worth a visit.

"'South Moravia: About 200 km from

Prague, is a /itt/e slice of heaven for nature-lovers.

::;;: o <.)

::i ~

u: ::0 o ,_

:t <.) W N <.)

ci

... o :r c,

:;

0- r ... :t

;: cf) w >- 0: ::0

r~~~!iiIioii-~8

(f) :t (L « rr <!J o

~~~~~~UD~~~~~~~~~~~c=~~~~~.~

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010 _ 69

CZECH REPUBLIC

70 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

Buskers and impromptu percussion bands play in the centre of the square around a monument. This monument is dedicated to Jan Hus who was tragically burnt at the stake in 1415 after being declared a heretic by the Catholic Church because he spoke out against their corrupt practices, opulent style and hoarded wealth. The dominant figure of Hus emphasises the moral authority of a man

who gave up his life rather than his principles and beliefs.

The cafes around the square are very expensive and the food is rather average, so we walked away from there for 10 minutes and found a lovely local eatery called U zeleneho stromu, near Charles Bridge. The tables were well worn; the bartender's tattooed forearms were thicker than Martina Navratilova's thighs and I am sure the heat radiator was a family heirloom from the days of the AustroHungarian empire. But beer on tap was refreshing and the roast knee of pork with spicy horseradish, scrumptious. Beer is big in Prague and every beer hall and restaurant is supplied by a local distillery so there is always fresh beer on tap. If you ask for an international brand the waiters will look at you with p.ity.

The sun was out the next day and people were out sightseeing with a vengeance. The maximum press of people was on the Charles Bridge. Decorated

with statues of saints, this bridge used to be, until 1741, the only crossing over the Vltava River connecting the Lesser Town to the Old Town. It is built of sandstone blocks and is rumoured to be strengthened by mixing mortar with eggs! Don't expect to get those perfect pictures that guidebooks carry, your pictures of Charles Bridge will always be full of random people-though you can give it a try. Everybody is here looking for a slice of the touristy European pie, and this one is scrumptious indeed. There are huskers, souvenir stalls and caricature artists who rapidly pencil out posing tourists with an exaggerated nose, or more interesting parts of the anatomy.

That second day we explored the Prague Castle and the Lesser Town and the sun made it quite thirsty work. This was slaked at U krale Brabantskeho, which claims to be the oldest medieval tavern in Prague, in business since 1375. The bartender proudly told us that even a certain

W. A. Mozart had once got smashed here after a certain concerto had bombed .. Now., close to midnight we were on the tram heading back to U Fleku. It was long past mid-night but Prague was wide awake. Doorways to nightclubs emitted a neon glow. Some had queues waiting to get in. Strains of music and laughter floated out of

a kavarna (cafe) or a pivnice (pub). Sausage stands and refreshment stalls were doing brisk business, as people tucked in chorizos or bratwursts.

The next day we drove out to Kutna Hora, 70 km east of Prague. Kutna Hora was a mining town in 14th century where 4 to 5 tonnes of silver was mined each year, making the Bohemian king the richest one in central Europe. In fact Florentine experts were called in to set up a mint (called the Italian Court) and the silver coin minted herethe Prague groschen-circulated all over Europe. When the silver ran out,it became the town hall and today you can still see a row of forges. However, the most .interestinq

pull here is the Church of St Barbara that stands to the southwest of the town. St Barbara is the patron Saint of miners, so no wonder then that the church's construction started in 1388 when the mines were yielding tonnes of silver. The original design was very grandiose but when th mines dried up, reality bit in. Yet the church is impressive with its double arched flying buttresses. Construction was a stop and start process over 500 years and the church was finally finished as late at 1905. A local at the Italian Court had asked me to look at the murals carefully which

I did and noticed that they depict mining scenes.

Another interesting day trip from Prague was to Plzen, where Pilsner beer was first brewed in 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, Saaz-noble hops from nearby Zatec, and Bavarian-style lagering, produced a clear, golden beer that was regarded as a sensation. Today Pilsner Urquell is a best-seller. You wouldn't come to PI

if beer didn't interest you and if you're here then visit the museum near the brewery that gives an interesting insight into the evolvement of Pilsner beer and into the history of Plzen itself. Plzen also boasts the largest square in 8ohemia, the Namesti Republiky, dominated by the gothic Church of St. Bartholomew-the 103m-high tower is the highest in the country. Plzen is going to be European Capital of Culture in 2015.

While for most tourists the Czech Republic experience begins and ends with Prague, there is more to this country Western Bohemia, for instance, is known as the spa region, thanks to its many healing mineral springs. So if you're headed to Prague, make time and venture further and you'll be rewarded richly .•

GETTING THERE

MumbaiiDelhi-Dubai-Prague on Emirates. Fare: f45,OOO approximately.

WHEN TO GO

The best time is from April to October

~ The Old Town is the most happening place to stay and there are lots of budget options but be warned that it can get noisy. www.praguehotellocator.com; www.a-prague.com

~The Mandarin Oriental, Prague; www.mandarinoriental.com EAT

Must try sausages from the vendors on the streets. SHOP

Get loads of Bohemian crsytal. SEE

Puppet shows and listen to buskers across Prague.

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010. 71

CANADA

Magical

Montra8

It is perhaps the most perfect place on earth. Bohemian and traditional. Hip and picture perfect, Montreal is a slice of Europe in the heart of Canada. Fashion. food, music and art merge with free-spirited people to create a unique buzz. BY RITU AGARWAL ROHATGI

THERE IS SOMETHING magical about Montreal. As well as something psycho. Like a multiple personality disorder! A piece of Europe in the heart of North America. Where Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, African immigrants live and speak fluent French. It's the official language. The first language of Quebec Region. And, informs our guide Ruby of lndoEgyptian descent, "Our French is nothing like the French the French speak!" Okay. Whatever.

But it is a fact, like their website proclaims, in Montreal you can explore centuries-old French heritage, rumba in the Latin Quarter, see artwork in the Metro, tour a park in a caleche (a horse drawn carriage) ... All while chomping on a very American bagel. Well, you can also cycle, do ghost walks, chocolate tours, gamble at Casino de Montreal, and shop for fashion in the largest underground weatherproof complex in the world ...

We fly in from Ottawa to Montreal in a tiny Air Canada plane that flies so low we can almost touch the gorgeous fall coloured foliage below. It is probably faster to drive (about .200 km) after you count waiting time and airport transfers. Ruby collects us and we drive through picture postcard neighbourhoods alongside Saint Lawrence River, between the Island of Montreal and the south shore, It is October, Blazing yellows and oranges surround us, Fall colours .. We hop off for a bit at the Pole des Rapides-

a 21 krn-lonq protected recreational park, a historical site, a little slice of heaven where Montrealers go rollerblading, cycling, jogging, dog walking ... Ruby tells us kayaking or rafting through the Lachine Rapids and sailing across Lac Saint-Louis and cruising across or through the locks of the Lachine Canal is hugely popular with locals.

"Rapid rafting is not really legal," informs Ruby, "But we Montrealers do it anywayl" Well, we are liking these folks more and more by the minute. They break rules, they are laidback, they are friendly, they know how to have fabulous fun, they have great energy, and lots of mischief, Moreover, they cycle everywhere, Or roller skatel Hardly anyone drives. A combination of the bicycle and the metro takes people places. What a huge change from Delhi!. I am loving it

As we weave our way to Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Montreal, Ruby points out another schizophrenic but very charming fact about this quaint town. The lampposts on the street change with the localityl Reflecting different eras with different design tastes. In Westmount, and on Esplanade Avenue facing .Jeanne-Mancs Park, lampposts dating to the 1920s or 30s still stand, Similarly old light standards, engraved with the city's coat of arms, can be found in many downtown alleys, Elsewhere, lampposts range in style from coolly modern on Park Avenue to gaudily faux-histone in Old Montreal.

The hotel is located above the train station and connects directly to the underground city with its boutiques, restaurants and cultural attractions. Did you know that Montreal has an entire

7 4 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

June-August, anyone can learn the basics of ballroom dancing at Montreal's most famous park spread over Notre-Dame and Seinte-Hetene

DANCE DANCE

CANADA

'All Weather City' directly under the heart of the city, 19 miles long? It is known for being the largest underground complex in the world, containing and linking over 200 restaurants, 1,700 boutiques, 30 movie theatres, halls, museums, and hotels, all connected to 10 of the city's subway stations, So when there is 15 ft of snow outside, you still live and shop in style!

The rest of the day is spent doing some touristy stuff:

First, the Olympic Stadium, which apparently had more controversies hound it than our very own Commonwealth Games. A funicular elevator takes us to the top of the world's tallest inclined tower for some spectacular city views, We move on to soak up the charms of Old Montreal. More sightseeing and a tour of the Notre Dame Basilica gets us to Place Jacques-Cartier, where caleches merrily dip-clop along the cobbled streets. In Old Montreal, you step back in time and a night Ghost Tour is a great idea, though not for the faint-hearted. An option is the Lighting Tour when the historic architecture is all lit up including the beautiful City Hall.

For dinner we head to an Indian restaurant, desperately wanting some spice, after a week of western food, Devi on Crescent Street, Downtown is a brisk walk from the

hotel. The weather godS have been smiling on us, We have gotten blue skies and sun through most of our trip in Canada, There is a bite in the air at night but it's refreshing and nice. The food is simple and we really enjoy it. Perhaps we were just craving for tikkas and curries along with kitschy Ganeshas and Punjabi songs. We are told a Delhi designer is involved. We wonder if it's Rohit Bal, as Devi is New

islands Pare Jean-Drapeau, It is free and offered three evenings a week. Or, if tango's more your style, take a beginner's tango lesson at the park in the Verdun borough on Wednesday evenings and at Old Pori on Fridays,

CANADA

York-based chef Suvir Saran's baby who has teamed up with Bal for Veda, the Indian fine dining in Delhi.

Next day a drive around the beautiful town is an encounter with multi-coloured houses with bicycles parked' outside, lovely shady streets carpeted with red and orange Fall leaves,., we are ready to migrate to Magical Montreal that very moment. This area is Plateau Mont-Royal with Canada's largest concentration of artistes and young professionals, This is also where the hip crowd likes to hang out. THE thing to do is bar hop and sample local beer on St Denis Street. Ruby tells us the Sunday brunch on Mont Royal Avenue is a weekend must-do. But while you're here treat yourself to some authentic Montreal smoked meat at The Main, This meat is always sliced by hand in order to maintain its temperature. Along with bagels, smoked meat has been popular in Montreal since the 19th century

and has become an integral part of the city's cuisine.

Later, we head to the legendary St Viateur 8agels for a genuine Montreal style lunch, Freshly baked bagels are tumbling out of the wood fired oven right in front of us. Baked bread-meets-fresh coffee aroma is wafting and wraps itself firmly around us, larder a smoked turkey and bacon bagel sandwich with a salad on the side. Ruby

recommends the sesame bagel and that's what I get. Apparently Anthony Boudain, a proud New Yorker (NY being the other bagel heaven), tried the bagels here on his Quebec episode of No Reservations and agreed they are delicious. So do we.

You cannot be in Canada in fall and not visit a Fall Harvest Market So off we go to the Jean Talon Market Spices, cheeses, fruits and vegetables are overwhelmed by massive bright orange pumpkins, It's Halloween and we find them painted, in various sizes and shapes everywhere! My friend Shubhra is like Alice in Wonderland. A total foodie, she appears a bit crazed by what is around her and goes about like a mad woman discovering, buying, lusting-lost in a world of sights, smells, and, best of all, tastes. There are cooking demonstrations, quaint gourmet shops

selling cookbooks and accessories, delis selling everything from pastries and doughnuts to crepes and even samosas.

The next morning it's a train dash to Quebec City. The station is under the hotel, part of the all weather city! The concierge takes the luggage down in the lift. The red caps help us board the business class. Super cool! No traffic infested drive to the railway station. No madness with

76 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

porters and no push and shove. A three-hour journey with meals included and we de-beard at Gare du Palais station.

Now if anything can be more French than Montreal in North America, it's Quebec City. No one understands English. Or speak it of course. Neither do the signage. So go figure. But then, Old Quebec's narrow cobbled streets filled with history, musicians, artists, Halloween witches and fabulous little food stores is something you are willing to lose yourself forever in.

Checking into the Hilton Quebec on Parliament Hill takes me up to a 9th floor room with glass walls

and a fabulous panoramic view of the city laid out in front. The gorgeous heritage Parliament Building is rubbing shoulders with my room and as night descends and lights go on, it's all fascinating. The gorgeous Fontaine de Tourny turning heads with its 43 jets, water-themsd sculptures, and beautiful nighttime lighting gets us excited enough to set off for a chilly, breezy, late-night walk up the hill.

But that is after a lovely dinner at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Now they want you to believe it's a hotel. But, when you land in Quebec City and see this massive chalet loom over the skyline with its castle-like architecture and turrets, you are forgiven if you think the king lives there.

Before getting out of the city the next day we take in the Montmorency Falls Park with a waterfall 30m higher than Niagara. As the train chugs back towards Montreal my mind is full of castles, cobbled streets, French bistros and heritage buildings. Far, far removed from Delhi. But then the train halts. And doesn't move for another hour

and a half. A delayed train means a mad dash to the Montreal Trudeau International Airport to catch our flight back home. It's another matter that we can't dash. Sasha, the driver informs us at 6p.m., it's peak traffic. The bumper to bumper vehicles lined up ahead as far as the eye can see seem a sickeningly familiar sight. Oh yes, the trip is definitely over. This is like back home .•

GETTING THERE

Canada is well connected via Europe, try Delhi-FrankfurtMontreal on Lufthansa. Fere: ~BO, 000 approx

WHEN TO GO

August~November, to enjoy fall colours.

STAY

""Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal; www.fairmont.com/queenelizabeth

""Hilton Quebec City; wwwl.hilton.com

EAT

At the St Viateur Bagels for an authentic Montreal style lunch. SHOP

Gourmet goodies at the Jean Talon Market in Montreal and at gourmet shops in the cobbled byfanes of Old Quebec.

SEE

Do a romantic train journey on Via Rail's Foliage packages.

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010 _ 77

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY:

Shows, Macau

Watch some eye-popping live entertainment at two of Macau's best hotels. Choose between Cirque du Soleil's Zaia at the Venetian (www. venetianmacao.com), which mixes acrobatics with gymnastics and

a variety of dance styles, and the Crazy Paris show at the Grand Lisboa {www.grandlisboa.com} , a cabaret performance with leggy women in a lot of beads.

CASINO ROYALE:

Everywhere

There's a reason Macau's called the Vegas of the East. It has an enviable list of casinos including

the Pharaoh's Palace, the Sands casino and those at the Wynn Macau, the Grand Lisboa and MGM Macau. Between them there are thousands of slot machines and gaming tables. Pick yours-you could hit the jackpot.

DO DIFFERENT:

A View to a Kill: Bungee jump, Macau Tower

Like an adrenaline rush? You ain't experienced anything till you've taken a leap off the Macau Tower. At 764ft, this is

a Guiness Book of World Records certified world's highest bungee-jump, which takes you six seconds to get down (it takes 60 to go up in the elevator), and you do so at 200 km/hr. Visit macau. ajhackett.com

THAILAND CITY: Sukhumvit, Bangkok

One night in Bangkok can be something else, especially if it's New Year's Eve. Bring in 2011 in party district Sukhumvit at Blue Velvet, Narcissus, Nest, Demo or Bed Supperclub. Get your second wind at The Eugenia, a hidden gem

of a hotel (www. theeugenia.com).

BEACH: Haad Rin,

Koh Phangan

Home to the worldfamous Full Moon Party, the big daddy of beach raves, which attracts crowds of up to 10,000, this is the party to do.

Once may not be enough. Land up early, there's another on Christmas day.

DO DIFFERENT:

Island life: Squid Fishing, Pranburi

The attractions of Pranburi are rather different from those of crowded Hua Hin next door. A quiet beautiful beach .. an atmospheric fishing village, and the opportunity to go squid fishing with the locals in the dead of the night. Boats head out at 1 or 2 in the morning and return by 4. If you aren't tired yet, watch the sunrise as you windsurf on one of Thailand's best watersports beaches.

SINGAPORE INSIDE: Nightclubs, Singapore

Queues may stretch around the block, but that's because these are three of Singapore's most popular clubs. Zouk

(17 Jiak Kim St) is internationally renowned and the winner of this

SUR'VEY

NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

year's Best Nightspot Experience; The Butter Factory (1 Fullerton Road) was its closest competitor. Zirca Mega cue (The Cannery, Clarke Quay), mixes live shows with music-this is one spectacle that is still being talked about.

OUTSIDE: Orchard Road, Singapore

It might be one of the city's premier shopping destinations, but Orchard Road also becomes a pedestrian-only strip thronging with the masses for New Year's Eve .. It's the place to feel the buzz with none of the pressure.

80 IND!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

.... 411

DO DIFFERENT:

Check in: Design hotels, Singapore

Spend the night in one of the city's experimental design hotels. Wanderlust Hotel (wander.lusthotel. com) in Little India is a whacked out montage created by four designers, one for each storey. 1929 (www.hoteI1929.com). mixes modern with retro, New Majestic (www. newmajestichotel.coml) is chicly white,. while The Scarlet (www. thescarlethotel. com), living up to as nameIs sexy .. Being indoors can be as much of an adventure as a night out.

NEPAL

GET IT: Thamel, Kathmandu

What used to be the hippy hangout is now backpacker paradise. Either way it's got .a vibe, it's got the crowds, and also some sort of a nightlife. If The Factory is the hippest lounge here; most other places are bars and it's all quite relaxed, as one would imagine if the offers of hash are anything to go by.

..

BET IT: Kathmandu Comparing it to Vegas might be a bit of a stretch but there's no shortage of ways to spend your money in Kathmandu .. Place your

bets on Casino Anna or Casino Royale. Both are attached to hotels-Casino Anna to Hotel de l'Annapurna (www. annapurna-hotel.corn) and Casino Royale to Hotel Yak & Yeti (www.yakandyeti. com); popular games include blackjack and roulette.



j

DO DIFF,ERENT~

Trek it: Annapurna Base Camp

Climb up to the Annapurna Sanctuary for an up dose and personal view of Nepal's grant peaks. The way up can be a mite overwhelming so it's a good idea to sign up with a tour operator that promises luxury trekking with the best lodges in the area. Ker &. Downey fit the bill.

THE PHILIPPINES DISTRICT: Makati City, Manila

When in Manila do as the Filipinos do and make a beeline to the capital's most happening nightlife district. Makati is home to Greenbelt, with its strip of nightclubs and restaurants, as well as some of Manila's

best hotels,including Shangri-La,. Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental and Dusit Hotel Nikko.

ISLAND: Boracay Renowned equally for its white sand beaches as for its party scene, the main action in Boracay is centred at Coco mangas, the island's most happening place for years. Other places to try are Pier One and Summer Place.

DO DIFFERENT: l~

Sea: Dugong SpoHing,

Dimakya Island, Palawan Archipelago

While it's hard to believe that dugongs gave rise to legends of mermaidstheir other nickname sea cows gives you a better idea of their looksthere's something mesmerising about them.

On endangered lists,

these vegetarian

mammals can be spotted from Club Paradise

Resort, Palawan. whether you dive or not. www.

clu bparadisepalawan.com

HONG KONG MIDNIGHT MADNESS:

Countdown Carnival, Sha

[Tin Park, Hong Kong

~ New Year's institution, ~he Countdown Carnival is a place you can dance, listen to music or keep the kids entertained with ~ugglers, magic shows and r he entire candyfloss shebang. The fireworks go off at midnight and that's

a huge spectacle, but don't , hink that's the end of the barty-ii's on for another IcouPle of hours.

rw~ EE WHEE: Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

I he L-shaped street has history of excess that goes

DO DIFFERENT:

Breaking Dawn: Po Un Monastery, Lantau Island To catch the first rays of sun light up the new year memorably, take a ferry ride or the train to l.antau, Hong Kong's biggest island. The green isle is full of mountains and valleys, with mist obscuring the peaks. As they wisp away in the first I.ight the Po Lin Buddhist monastery appears. almost floating in the clouds, a huge, serene Buddha looking down upon it.

•••••

all the way back to the 19th-century with clubs that stay open all hours of the night (or morning). It's still the place to indulge all your senses since it's a sardine can of bars, clubs and restaurants that go from so-so to oh-so super. For a night to remember pop into Volar, Club 97

or Insomnia.



INDONESIA THE NEW IBIZA:

Gili Trawangan Raw

An hour's boat ride away from Bali lies this tiny

island with pristine beaches and a casual attitude to magic mushrooms that's just registering on the global party map. Its beachside party shacks turn on the trance as evening approaches after which it's time to head to Rudy's, Blue Marlin or the Irish pub. Also check with the locals for their full

moon parties.



BALI HIGH:

Kuta Strip, Bali

For your fill of party options head to Legian Street on Kuta .. lt's a 1 DDm stretch that's teeming with bars and lounges, pubs and

..

Lt,_'-n~ HAPPY .:!.:.,_\ HOLIDAYS

clubs. Some of its best are Paddy's, Bounty,. 61 Legian and Espresso Club.

• •••

DO DIFFERENT:

Lombok Lake: Crater lake swimming, Lombok Lombok is dominated by Mount Rinjani, a volcano that towers over the island at over 12,000 ft. A two or three day trek will take you to the rim, and down to the sacred waters of the Segara Anak Lake .. Dive in and explore or check out the hot springs and caves around.

•••••••••••

OMAN

HOTEL HOP: Muscat

iThe only places where the alcohol is allowed to flow, all hotels in Muscat have special New Year's Eve galas. Some of the best parties are at AI Bustan (www. ichotelsgroup.

com/ .. .1 en/gb/ .. .Imuscatalbustanpalace) and at The Chedi (www.ghmhotels. com), both of which are destinations in their own right. Also check out Grand Hyatt (m uscat. grand. hyatt. com) and the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa. (www.shangri-la.com/

The Ched;, Muscat

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010 _ 81

SUR'VEY

en/property /muscatJ barraljissahresort) .

......

00 DIFFERENT: •

Desert Nights: Luxury Camp.ing, Desert Nights Camp, Wahiba Sands

A sea of sand dunes, w,i;th a Bedouin style camp of alr-condltloned tents nestled among them, this is camping out at its luxurious best. It's almost enough to watch the last sunset of the year fade to pink, purple, violet and midnight blue over the sands or the sun to come up in reverse order, but three's also some dancing and bonfires as well as other desert adventures. www.desertnightscamp.

com

Off-Bead Trip: Muscat to Sur

Explore the unexplored as you drive down to the ancient port city of Sur. Start off from Shangri-La hotel, via Yiti and then

take a track through the mountains. Make a picnic stop at midnight to welcome in the New Year before heading on. Some highway driving is necessary, but otherwise go on through Finns to Wadi Tiwi and on to Sur and Turtle Beach.

I,NDIA

NEW COOL: Clube da Praia, Bardez and Club Fresh, Candolim, Goa Anjuna may be the most popular beach to go for the New Year's parties that never end, but the latest and more exclusive entrants on the scene are the enormous Clube de Praia (which boasts a soundproof nightclub) and the all-white Club Fresh at Morj.im beach in north Goa. With a guest list that reads like India's who's who, unfortunately neither of them comes cheap either.

NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

HIDDEN COOL: Cloud 9, Tango, Shillong

This is a place that knows how to party. Chilled out and laid-back, with good music and a crowd like you won't find in the rest of India. There aren't dozens of places to go, but the ones there are such as Piccadilly, Tango and Cloud 9 will win you over. And if that doesn't suit you there's always a stage in the middle of Police Bazaar, which means there's a carnival in the streets.

DO DIFFERENT:

Cool? Just Rich: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Live like a world's richest man at the newly-opened Taj Falaknuma Palace. Once home to the Nizam of Hyderabad, he of the legendary wealth, it has now become one of the Taj Group's Grand Palace hotels. This is luxury at its best. www.tajhotels.com

MALAYSIA

EARTH AND SKY: Asian Heritage Row, Jalan Doraiswamy; Luna Bar

82 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

and Sky Bar, Kuala Lumpur

This year, pick two ways to party in KL-one at ground level and the other way up high. For the first, head to Asian Heritage Row whose colonial buildings now house the coolest clubs, bars and restaurants including Heritage Live, Space and Heritage Mansion. Want something more high flying and different? Then your destination is the swish Luna Bar on the 34th floor of the at the Pacific Regency Hotel Suites (www.pacific-reqency .. com) and Sky Bar on level 33 of the Traders Hotel (www. shanqri-la, com)

COLONIAL COUSIN:

Georgetown, Penang

It's a Unesco World Heritage site but that doesn't mean it's all about the architecture. Head to Upper Penang Road and you can rock the night at Momo, Glo and Slippery Senoritas. Need some sustenance? The town's coolest eateries are on this road.

• • • •

DO DIFFERENT:

Deserted Island: Camp out, Sulug Island, 'Iunku Abdul Rahman Marine

Park, Kota Kinabalu •

The quietest, least populated, developed and accessible part of the

park, Is frequented by day trippers, but you can

camp overnight with the permission of the park warden. It'll be just you in the whole wide world (of

the island). Its crystal

clear waters are also snorkelling paradise, a fantastic way to begin the new year.

••••••••

DUBAI

CRUISE THE CLUBS:

Dubai

Dubai is home to the best clubs in the region and on New Year's Eve they come with some of the world's best DJs. Check out Sanctuary at the Atlantis (www.atlantisthepalm.com) , The 400 Night Club, Cavalli Club at Fairmont Hotel (www.fairmont.com) , Boudoir at the Dubai Marine Beach Club and Chi@the Lodge .. Buddha Bar _at the Grosvenor

House (www.qrosvenorhouse-dubai.corn) is quite happening as is the open air beach bar Barasti at the Mina Seyahi Meridien (www.lemeridlen-

m inaseyah l.com/en/ Barasti),

CRUISE TO PARTY ISLAND: Monte Carlo, The World

Set to open in time for Newi Year's Eve, the manmade island of Monte Carlo in Dubai's reclaimed The World, will be devoted to having a good time. With I

DO DIFFERENT: ,

l

1

l

Cruise the Creek: Dhow

dinner cruise, Dubai

Amp up the romance with a slow cruise down the Dubai Creek, all of the

city's landmarks lit up slide past in the distance, At midnight it's a great place to watch the fireworks go off, The Dhow Dinner Cruises (www,

dhowdin nercruisesdubai. com) have specials for New Year's Eve, including new sort of entertainment every year,

............ .._.

beach, pool, nightclub restaurants, this will be e place to kick off 2011,

CONIC: Celebrations,

aile Face Hotel, Colombo e most popular New

Eve venue in

lombo, the hotel has

osted some of the city's ost memorable parties on s terrace overlooking the (these go on from

pm to 6am), including last in collaboration with ha lbiza, What'll top

I at this year?

FRESH: Rave, Hikkaduwa Beach

lit's only been a couple of iyears since the Hikkaduwa

Beach Festival started (held annually in August) but it's already being touted as

one of the world's best. It's the same spirit of revelry

I-i,Jn~ HAPPY

.. [<\ HOLIDAYS

that's visible in the beach raves that are the norm for New Year's Eve, Be some of the first to enjoy.

• • • "i

DODIFFER.ENT Spiritual: Anuradhapura Grown around a cutting from Buddha's tree of En.I.ightenment, from way back in the 3rd century BC, and then abandoned for hundreds of years, the sacred city of Anurdhapura, with all its monasteries, palaces and monuments is a sight to behold. Especially In the first rays of the sun as it lights up 2011 ,

•••••••

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS, DECEMBER 2010,83

at Govlndnagar, beach;

"p LEASE BE A LITTLE careful madam, there is

a .. tsunami red alert. ," A. mit, o.ur tour guide., tells us. The Rum and Coke I'm drinking, sitting

next to the sea, spurt out of my mouth. "Tsunami? And what do you mean by saying

be a bit careful?" He says, "Please don't lock your rooms at night, in case you have to run out." Does he actually expect me to run helter-skelter in my night clothes dodging. the tsumani waves? To make matters worse I realise that my room is closest to the sea. Panic. Nervousness. Surprise. Excitement. I experience it all in five minutes.

This is certainly not what I had expected during my trip to the Andamans. It's only our second evening here, and Havelock Island already has me captivated.

I quickly force my thoughts away from the tsunami alerf and refocus on the magical beaches around me. There is such a sense of calm that it is difficult to worry for long. Radhanagar is the first beach we go to after we arrive in Havelock. I have heard a lot about it, but nothing could have prepared me for what I see. Pure white sand, fringed with mangroves, crystal clear green and blue water merging with the horizon-it is stunning. I have no doubt about why Time magazine rated it among the most gorgeous beaches in Asia. There is not a shack in sight or a vendor pestering you to buy something. People here just let you be. I enjoy watching the sun go home. The graying sky and darkening clouds give a surreal effect. The fine sands are full of intricate designs created by the crabs, it almost seems like artwork done on the sand. Every five steps I also pick up colourful shells of different patterns that lie scattered around and make a collection of my own.

By 5.30 p.rn it is pitch dark and we have an entire evening in front of us. We go to the local market-Village Number 3-and browse around till we find a shack called Swapan's Restaurant. Interestingly, all the beaches and villages here are numbered because the British found it too tough to pronounce the traditional names. It's a tiny place with just a couple of benches and tables. Swap an tempts us, a hungry lot, by showing the catch of the day-a huge crab and lobster, and promises to cook it just the way the locals have it. We are back after an hour to have the yummiest crab with rice. While we gorge, he chats with us and tells us that he runs it as a restaurant during the peak tourist season from October to February and sells samosas and tea for the rest of the year. A wall is covered with comments by people who had come and eaten his food. It's nice to meet the locals and eat the way they eat. Who needs a fancy restaurant when there is food like this?

Havelock is a lot like south Goa, with narrow roads and fields on either side, small shacks and villages sprinkled around the island. Though, I. find the absence of street lights and signages rather strange. Most of the settlers are from West Bengal, and as a result Bengali is the locally spoken language. Walking through the market I notice there are carom boards outside many shops. It is the most popular pastime and there are regular carom competitions among the people. Ufe here moves in slow motion, allowing you to set your own easy pace.

Elephant Beach is next in line. It's a 40-minute ride and we take the glass bottom boat and see a variety of coral

86 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

reefs and fish on the way. The water is sparkling, enabling us to see them absolutely clearly. This is one of the best places in India to see corals and even though many of them were destroyed by the tsunami, they still look stunning. The shoreline was badly affected by the tsunami but the tree stumps in the water provide a dramatic backdrop against the blue sea. We walk into the water and sit on one of the branches, staring at the pebbles and

sand below, watching schools of fish go by and testing our photography skills. The hours pass by in minutes and finally it is time to go snorkelling. I have never done this. To tell you the truth, I don't even know how to swim, but I am determined to give it a shot. Amit has convinced me that it is absolutely safe, even for non-swimmers .. I put on the mask and he holds my hand and takes me to another world. A world I am unfamiliar with. He says, "Please look down, the corals have started." I dip my head under the sea and watch the corals, some huge in size and some smaller, but all breathtaking. Colourful fish pass by me and Amit keeps telling me names, but I am too fascinated to register or remember them. After 15 minutes when I surface out, I make a new resolve-to learn swimming and explore more of this fascinating undersea world. I suddenly feel jealous of all the swimmers and scuba divers as they are aware of the mysteri.es of

a world I know little about.

88 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

We are starving so when we get back we have lunch at one of the shacks in Village Number 2 just opposite the jetty. Here we meet yet another interesting person. The owner of the shop came here from Kolkata after he read

a novel on Andamans, and decided to stay back. Since then he has been running a tea stall/shack. A simple meal of Bhetki fish, rice and two vegetabl.es costs me just U5 .. As they say some things in life are still reasonable.

We are all packed to go to Port Blair when we spot

a local repairing his wooden boat at the lagoon at our resort-5ea Shell Resort. With more than two hours to kill before we make our journey, we ask him if he'll take us for

a short round-it seems we just cannot have enough of the sea. He agrees instantly and two of us jump into his rickety boat. Passing the mangroves, we move ahead and reach a clear, sparkling stretch of water; which is again abounding with fish and corals.

The next three to four days are spent in visiting various islands around Port Blair-Hoss Island, Viper Island, Coral Island and Mount Harriet. Each of them is unique in its own way, but I am looking forward to going to Baratangan island in middle Andaman, about

SCUBA DIVING IN ANDAMAS

The Andaman islands are among the top diving spots in the country. Clinique Island and Havelock in south Andaman

are the most popular places to experience life under water. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

at Wandoor also has many spots where you can go scuba diving. There are more than 50 types of coral reefs that can be spotted here,

100 km away from Port Blair. A part of the drive is through the forest reserve area of the Jarawa tribe, one of the few tribes remaining on this island. The Jarawas bel.ong to the Negrito race, and are believed to be descendents from Africa. Only 250 to 300 of them remain now .. They had virtually no contact with those from outside for a long time, but the Great Andaman Trunk Road which connects the south and north cuts through this reserve area and is considered one of the greatest threats to their way of life because it is exposing them to civilization. Many of them come out on the road and try to stop cars, asking for food and other things. I'm stumped to see one standing on the road. The man, wearing just bare, essential clothing, is carrying a long stick and has a headband with red flowers. As we go along, we pass many others. Not all are minimally dressed. Vehicles are not allowed to stop there or speak to them, but cars do slow down and that is when the Jarawas come forward to ask for things. Seeing them in photographs is one thing, but when you encounter them in person, it's an entirely different experience. It is goosebumpy., and takes your mind back to what life must have been centuries ago. We visit the limestone caves and pass through lush mangroves on the way. On our way back one of the tribesmen latches on to the car and asks for biscuits. He looks at the camera kept on the side and asks for it, The driver.refuses and urges him to get off with

the promise of returning later with biscuits.

Regretful.ly,.it is time to go home. Asl get ready to board the charter flight to Bangalore, that was part of the package by MakeMyTrip, I remember what Arnit told me

when we arrived by the same flight, "If you stay here for a month, you won't feel like going back." I was there for just a week, but still did not want to leave. I want to stay back; to learn swimming, to go diving, but most importantly because this is a place where people just let you be and where the word hurry does not exist. •

GETTING THERE

MakeMyTrip runs packages that include charler flights from Banga/ore to Port B/air from October to February. The tour is priced at 'f27, 999 per person.

WHEN TO GO October to February

STAY

"TSG Emerald View: 25 Mau/ana Azad Road, PhoenixBay, Port Blair; tel: (03192) 246499; wwwandamantsghote/s.com "'SeaShell Beach Resort: Village No 2, Govindnagar Beach, Havelock; tel:' (0) 99332 39625; wwwseashellhavelock.com EAT

Seafood at Swapan's restaurant in Have/ock. SHOP

Pick up coir products from Saganka Emporium in Port B/air. SEE

Jolly Buoy Island and Red Skin Is/and at Wandoor.

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS _ DECEMBER 2010 _ 89

-"-----EXP EBJ ENG

Live

ife

MAHARAJAS' EXPRESS

ze

You haven't done it all until you have spent a week aboard Maharajas' Express. Enjoy a luxury-filled life that you have perhaps only seen in coffee table books and discover India as you chug along. BY ADITI SENGUPTA

G RUSBY PALMS. Eyes wide with curiosity. A I smile that could make him brand ambassador for toothpaste dentists across the world

prefer ... With face pressed agains.t the wide window screen, he tries to get a glimpse of a world far removed from his own. And the gaze that meets his from the other side is mine. The cacophony of a busy railway platform doesn't filter through the decorated walls of the luxurious Maharajas' Express but the train, the most expensive of its kind in India, draws the eyeballs every time it pulls into a station. The curious onlooker mentioned earlier is an urchin all of seven or eight years while the huddle of people behind him cuts across all age groups.

I draw the curtains and slump on the bed with expensive silk cover. It's been less than two hours since

I boarded the Maharajas' Express from the tiny, easy-tomiss Safdarjung Railway Station in New DeihL Shehnais, garlands, tilak, orderlies with cummerbunds-you name it and the staff had it in place to make the start of a weeklong journey auspicious. My room in the Moonga compartment (all passenger coaches in the train are named after gemstones: Katela, Firoza, Pitoniya, Heera, Gamed, Pukhraj and so on), with its twin beds, study table, flatscreen television set, closets and a cleverly designed bathroom with mogra and jasmine scented Forest Essentials toiletries, promises a comfortable stay. I find reassurance of the same in the warmth and friendliness of Sohan Singh, my valet.

A cheerful voice from the train's public address system informs that

I have reached Agra and invites me to have brunch at the Mayur Mahal restaurant before a visit to what the world comes to this city for-Taj Mahal. I quickly make my way through narrow, carpeted corridors to my first communal meal aboard. Well-groomed men in uniforms of various shades give

90 INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

GO LOCAL

me the rite of passage as I cross five compartments to reach the restaurant. Mayur Mahal takes me back to my all-time favourite Satyajit Ray classic, Nayak, where a matinee idol, on his way to receive an award in Delhi, meets a young, enterprisinq journalist. The gripping drama pans out on the once iconic Rajdhani Express and many of its scenes are shot at the dining car. Fast forward to October 2010. The dining car: Check. Journalist ('young' and 'enterprising' I cannot promise): Check. Matinee idol:

Nowhere in sight. But I find comfort in the quick, efficient service of the men in black-in sherwanis and turbans, they look as good as the peacock-hued tapestry and the decorative ceiling. A delicious beetroot soup in a heavy white-and-gold bowl keeps me suitably engaged as I run my eyes over the dining car. I find faces from different parts of the world engaged in conversation. Snatches of

a discussion on democracy in lndia draw my attention towards a table occupied by Indians. Over chicken kathi rolls and a bread and butter pudding, I do a mental roundup of the company I am in. All I need to do now is break the ice and the wondrous Taj fulfils the need beautifully ..

Out of the luxurious dining car and aboard a comfortable Volvo coach, I turn my attention to a mellowed voice addressing the contingent. The speaker is Dr. Divyabhanusinh Chavda, a man who has spent more

than three decades with the house of the Tatas. Much known for his contribution to wildlife conservation in

India, I also find him one of the best persons to initiate the tourist into the world of Indian history. How he manages to be as eloquent on the Mughals as well as the dynamics of caste politics is something' I cannot still fathom but his lectures on all the destinations we cover as part of the train's new Classical India itineraryAgra, Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Sandhavgarh, Varanasi and Lucknow-

If you choose an itinerary that includes Bandhavg8Jh, you are likely to eat delicious tiffin meal at the Monsoon Forest Resort. Run by Dhruv Singh, the resort has a table under a tree where

meals are served. The Palang Kurung Kurung (crispy fried spinach), the Kalo Dal, a spicy Afu Dum and the Chicken with Poppy Seed Paste go very well witt; the ginger rice and hot puris.

rekindle an urge to go back running to history books and remember our roots.

One look at the Taj and it leads to a collective sigh from our group of about 35 tourists. And that is the moment when we smile at each other and come together in a huddle to admire the marble mausoleum. The friendly Jeff and Jessica, Bob (who never fails to make you crack up with his chaste British accent and wry humour) and welt-turned-out Lesley, the affectionate Gillian and Ian (expect a tap on your shoulder every time he finds you fidgeting with your cellphone), young journalists Rachel and Joe, shutterbug Marian (who clicks the picture I am using as profile image on Facebook) and Abraham, cheerful Peter and Barbara, enthusiastic Bharath, entertaining Bhavnish and the gracious Tipnis-es ... Barely five minutes into the introduction and I know I am going home with an address book crammed with new entries.

Tihe conversation flows over glasses of Champagne. at the lawns of Taj Khema, a hotel bare.ly 200 metres from Shahjahan's claim to architectural fame. And continues well into the night, this time over foie gras, La! Maas and Kesar Rajbhog., served on crockery made to order in Paris. Post dinner there are some who stay back in the Rajah Lounge, with its own bar and a small collection of books, Scrabble, chess and draughts. Most of us retire to our rooms to find melt-in-the-mouth chocolates on the bed and a handmade paper card that gave weather forecast for the next day along with nuggets of history and trivia on the next destination. This is repeated through the six nights I spend on the train.

The bonhomie picks up pace in the following days as we discover sights-the palaces and the fort at Gwalior, the hauntingly beautiful, fort and temples at Orchha, the tiger haven of Bandhavgarh (where we cross paths with an irate tigress watching her litter), Ganga eerti at Varanasi's Dasashwamedh Ghat (followed by a hurricane cycle rickshaw ride through the holy city's jampacked roads) and the Residency and.Bara Imambara at Lucknow.

PHQTQGHAPHS BY AOITI S~NGIJPTAIWWW..ltJ.pIATO.pAYIMAG"S·.COM

On the last night, we celebrate Diwali at filmmaker and fashion designer Muzaffar Ali's residence in tucknow The haveli is dressed like a bride and a troupe of Kathak dancers holds us in thrall with their clever footwork and pirouettes. S.itting on the terrace we feast on otherworldly Awadhi food-Biryani, Gi/auti Kebab, Sheermal, Mutton Pasanda, Chicken Karma and carrot flavoured Shahi Tukde. Four hours later, the laughter and tete~a-tetes are far from over and that has a lot to do with the innovative vodka and wine cocktails the bartender and the sommelier keep sending our way at the Rajah Lounge. The last night is indeed a fitting finale for such a journey .•

2011 TOURS ON MAHARAJAS' EXPRESS

"Princely India: 7 nightslB days; MumbaiNadodara-UdaipurJodhpur-Bikaner-Jaipur-Ranthambhore-Agra-New Oelhi "Royal India: 7 nights/8 days; Delhi~Agra~RanthambhoreJaipur-8ikaner~Jodhpur-Udaipur-Vadodara-Mumbai "_Classicallndia: 6 nights/7 days; Delhi~Agra~GwaliorKhajuraho~8andhavgarh~ Varanasi~Lucknow~New Delhi

PRICE

Price for 2011 tours begin at US$ 5,600 (twin snsre basis). Includes all meals, soft beverages, house brands of Indian wines, beer and spirits, butler service, guided excursions off train in Volvo coaches and cars (according to room category) inclusive of entrance tee, still camera fee, transport and services of a guide.

CONTACT

Royale Indian Rail Tours Limited. tel: (022) 66904747; e-men: contactus@rirtl.com; www.rirtl.com

INDIA TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEM8E!R 201iO 93

"I PROMISE I SHALL never eat out of a golden plate and I shall never marry a queen." A roar of laughter

follows this rather proud declaration and the speaker-a bright, confident teenager clad in a kurta and cotton dhoti-waits for the buzz to die down

before he can mouth another line. He continues with the same confidence as do the 40-odd youngsters on stage. I watch in rapt attention, applauding the performers generously, as songs and dances follow. And when Charandas Chor is over, I wait for a band of young gUitarists, drummer and

singers to take over and make me equally happy to be where I am.

Lawrence School in

Sanawar is an unusual stop for a traveller who has just rolled into Kasauli from New Delhi. Even more unusual considering that the task at hand is to test drive the Nissan Micra. a newly launched hatchback that is already scoring well on the eyeball meter thanks to

a young and rising Bollywood actor as its brand ambassador. However,

a fair idea of the residential school's heritage-more than 150 years old-creates an urge to have a glimpse of the campus. What finally gets us (my two colleagues and I) an entry into the strictly guarded premises is a considerable amount of coaxing. We don't mind the anxious moments at the school office before the welcoming staff finally offer to escort us around the sprawling campus. And polite yet endearing "good evening" greetings from each student we

PAONTA SAHIB

MAP 8Y DE EP PAHWA

EXPERIENCE

come across soon make us feel. at home, At the end of thel show, which is part of the Lawrence School founders' day celebrations, we find ourselves walking down part cobblestoned, part cemented paths inside the premises, And I am vaguely reminded of postcards a cousin would send from Scotland, Gabled roofs, a memorial here and a memorial there, chimes of the bell from the school chapel, neatly trimmed trees and plants, decorated flower beds and the crisp, mildly fragrant mountain air, .. are we not happy to be here! We cram the camera memory space

with impressions of the happy faces all around us before returning to the sunlight orange Nissan Micra in the spacious parking lot of the school,

We drive back. into KasaUli,.less than half an. hour away, and long considered the secret paradise of a few Delhiites, We don't know how long Kasauli can hold out against rampant concretisation but it is still

one of the few destinations that are as close to Delhi (less than 300 km with the mountain drive starting a few kilometres after you cross Pinjore), and as quaint and calrninq, We keep a dekko at Kasauli's famed chestnut trails: and its Malls, both Upper and Lower, on our agenda for the next morning and decide to call it a day with some energyboosting nightcaps and delicious, home-style dinner,

Morning brings us to the Upper Mall, lined with shops selling everything from mamas, shawls and rnoisturisers. We walk past shopkeepers taking a quick badminton break, mothers dragging unwilling cherry-cheeked wards to school and furry canines having a free run of the place. Soon enough we find ourselves drawn to the chestnut trails along the high ridges of the town. Our Micra fills in for the tongas and ponies that the British used to tread where no roads existed". pretty, rugged paths lined with the tall trees. A bungalow here and an estate there-the territory marked

96 INO!A TODAY TRAVEL PLUS DECEMBER 2010

HIMACHAL PRADESH

TIPS FOR DRIVING THROUGH

"Stock up on mineral water: You may not find shop for long stretches. '''Avoid driving in monsoons or immediately after: Landslides are common and road repair work can cause nightmarish traffic jams,

"Keep a battery operated torch handy. "Give way to traffic going uphill, ""Avoid night journey

with rusty iron gates or moss-laden wooden fences-is all that we see for many kilometres. Speeding vehicles, often with Delhi or Chandigarh number plates, exhibit complete disregard for the soothing environs of Kasauli while squirrels, unknown (to us) songbirds and mischievous monkeys play their part in retaining our interest. Even a high-strung Sardar watching the gates of the high-brow Kasauli Club, seemingly suspicious of our movements, adds to the charm of the

place, We refrain from intruding into the strictly guarded Khushwant Singh territory, hidden behind a moderately dense green cover, and head off for Chail, our next destination on the tour-day drive.

Cha.ill'S history be.gins with an act O .. f de ... fi.ance'.lt was created by the Maharaja of Patiala who was banned

from entering Shimla, 43 km away, The handsome king soon acquired land and created his own Himalayan resort. For most part, Chail has retained its charm and you will find flocks of sheep and herds of equines-black, chestnut and white-blocking the narrow yet picturesque roads. Road repair work in full swing is indeed the only mild irritant but friendly locals at tea shops along the route blame it on the unusually heavy rains in the hills this year. The road to Chail otherwise, they claim, make you fall in love with it even before you have reached,

We reach within three hours despite everything and begin with a satisfying meal of stuffed paranthas and a curious mushroom pickle at a modest eatery in the small Chail Bazaar, An unshakeable faith in tourist brochures prompts us to make a dash tor.Kufri after lunch. The drive

gets more scenic by the minute only to end in disappointment. We reach a Kufri which is worlds away from the snow-covered, magical getaway we have seen in pictures, Overrun by tourists and annoying pony riders, Kufri even manages to block my olfactory cells with thick coatings of dust. I return to the comfort of the Micra though my hardworking colleagues continue the climb to Mahasu Peak on horseback. They return with hardly anyth.ing to write about and we gladly drive back to the paradise that Chail is. At dinner; we make an encore of the hot paranthas and add platefuls of Maggi, which doesn't taste more delicious than it does in the hills. Now it's up to you to attribute the taste to the beauty of the hills, the simplicity of its people or just the happy-to-break-free you!

Next morning, we spend an hour at the world's highest cricket ground at Chail, failing miserably at basic rope exercises that students from the Rashtriya Military School perform with ease that could put world-class acrobats to shame. What follows next is something I am not going to forget in a hurry-the road to Nahan, our next stop, is easily the worst I have been on recently. It turns out to be an acid test for my colleagues' driving skills and also Micra, which, we conclude, does pretty well (though the changing of gear is not smooth). Sadly, the destination is not worth the trouble we take to reach there. Nahan is only about a few squares and a lake that lies in a state of neglect. We take a quick walk through the crowded marketplace, feast on jalebls and g.o back to the hotel to watch the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

A craving for kada prasad and humble langar food are my incentives to stop at Paonta Sahib, an hour's drive from Nahan, One of the holiest seats for the Sikhism in India, it impresses us with its simplicity. We eat a frugal yet satisfying meal of rotis and aubergine curry before returning to traffic, cacophony and the cheerful-looking, sturdy Micra .•

TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED

New Delhi-Kasauli-Chail-Kufri· Chail·Nahan-Paonta Sahib-New Delhi: 880 km

STAY

"'Kasau!i: Kasauli Regency; \IVWW.kasauliregency.com "'Chail: The Palace; Tel: (01792) 248 141, 248 143 "'Nahan: Hotel City Heart; \IVWW.cityhearthotel.com EAT

Momos and thukpa at Kasau/i's Upper Ma//. SHOP

Mushroom pickle from Chell market. SEE

Drive to Fegu near Shim/a.

INDIA TODAYTBAVEL PLUS. DECEMBER 2010. 9 7

PHOTO ESSAY

THAILAND

Call of the

Indulge in a bout of island hopping, on a cruise, next time you are in Phuket. Thailand's most popular beach destination is surrounded by stunning, unmatched seascapes ... BY DEEP PAHWA