Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale wins Condé Nast excellence award

December 9 - 15, 2013

Team GS 

The first Kochi-Muziris Biennale which put Kerala on the global map of contemporary art has won top prize at the Condé Nast Traveller Awards for 2013.  The special Condé Nast Traveller award was bestowed on two Malayalee artists Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari, who are from outside the travel and tourism industry, for their “pioneering efforts in founding the Kochi-Muziris Biennale”. 

Condé Nast Traveller Excellence Awards, recognised across the world as benchmarks in the travel and tourism industry, are given away on the basis of readers’ choices in online voting.  The site-specific biennale event, held from December 2012 to March 2013, was mounted in historical locations, using abandoned warehouses used for Kerala’s spice trade with the West.  It attracted some top artists like Subodh Gupta, Vivan Sundaram, Paris Vishwanadhan, Sudharshan Shetty, Atul Dodiya, Srinivas Prasad, Sheela Gowda, Jyoti Basu, K P Reji, Anita Dube, Amar Kanwar and Ernesto Neto.   

Condé Nast lauded the “pioneering efforts of the two accomplished artists” in bringing in artists, curators, critics and aficionados from around the world and creating a platform that showcased “not only brilliant contemporary art from India and around the world, but also highlighted our rich history, heritage, artistic traditions and cultural fabric”. 

Komu is quoted as having said at the award giving ceremony that, “The legacy of Kochi and Muziris revolves around the idea of travel and the idea of multiculturalism”. 

“Look at any civilisation across the world and it had made a connection with the region of Muziris in Kerala.  The multiculturalism of Muziris and Kochi is completed by travelling people from all over the world, like the early explorers and traders.  Today, Kochi has become a new Art Route, like the Spice Route in the ancient times, for India and the rest of the world”.   

The second Kochi-Muziris Biennale is scheduled to open on December 12, 2014.

India's first live-aboard yacht for scuba divers

India's first live-aboard yacht, Infiniti, was launched recently, for scuba divers to explore the Andaman waters.  A live-aboard vessel is equipped to provide comfortable accommodation in guest cabins, with dining and leisure facilities, usually for scuba diving.  It is very popular worldwide in countries that have strong sea-tourism sectors such as Maldives, Thailand, Caribbean Islands, Red Sea, Indonesia, etc.  India has 22 dive centers dotting its waters, though scuba diving is a new, but fast-growing activity.

Infiniti live-aboard has included in their itinerary a trip to the fascinating Narcondam island in the Andaman Sea.  It is a wildlife sanctuary with a strong evolutionary significance and the famous 'Narcondam Hornbill' - a type of hornbill found only there.  An extinct volcano, Narcondam was put on the diving map by diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau who was the first to dive in these waters.


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A White X'Mas in the North preferred

November 25-December 1, 2013

Team GS

North and South India were the most preferred tourist destination on the year-end, that means Christmas and New Year, Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India?) has said.  The preferred destinations include: Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul and districts of Spiti, Chamba, Kangra, Mandi, Nainital, Kullu, Manali, Mussoorie, Dalhousie, Kufri, and the Kashmir valley.  The survey also pointed out that Rajasthan, as always, will remain the favourite - places like Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner.  In the south the top destinations include Ooty, Mysore, Pondicherry, Rameswaram and Goa; Mahabaleshwar in the west.  The survey was conducted in ten major cities: Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Thiruvanathpuram and Ahmedabad; by interacting with as many as 4,500 people including frequent travellers, professionals, travel trade and the agents booking foreign tourists.

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All new flights lead to Kerala

November 4-10, 2013

Team GS

Five airlines are looking to fly to Kerala soon, among them, four are international carriers.  They are Gulf Air, RAK Airways, Air Asia and Malindo Air while the domestic carrier Air Costa intends to bring Thiruvananthapuram under its network.  Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air had in August 2010 terminated its Kerala route but is now having a relook at Kerala, so is Bahrain Air which suspended its Kerala services in February this year.

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Goa marriage on the rocks

November 11-17, 2013

Team GS

Bangkok and its nearby beach resorts and islands are host to over 200 big, fat Indians weddings this year alone.  Throw in seminars and company meets, this figure could swell to 300!  Clearly the Thais have gotten clever, very clever.  They can arrange everything for a baraat or bridegroom's ceremony, ranging from hiring a pandit to a ghori to the fire ceremony in which the bride and groom walk around a flame, to serving Indian cuisines.

Most of the resorts offer cheap honeymoon packages, which include free chopper and limousine ride and speedboat charters to islands off Phuket to the couple.  Go get married there, it’s really cheap.  It works like this: Wedding planner costs between 5,000 and 10,000 baht.  A room in a five-star hotel in Bangkok between 3,500 baht and 4,000 baht.  A buffet in a posh Bangkok hotel or restaurant around 800 baht.  A dinner buffet at the Sky Hotel's 78th floor restaurant in Bangkok costs 850 baht.  A two-hour boat ride in Bangkok and dinner on board costs around 1,400 baht.

Akbar ready to huff & puff

On October 26, at the Delhi Cantonment station, a huge steam engine was made ready to begin a proud and successful re-run of one of the last surviving steam engines in the country.  It was even named Akbar after the 16th-century Mughal emperor.
The steam engine will chug along the mainline throughout the year, pulling luxury tourist trains from Delhi to Alwar (in Rajasthan), and bring steam engine heritage tourism in India.  There are around 30 similar steam locomotives in the country, some built by the Lancashire-based British locomotive builder Vulcan Foundries and others by Chittaranjan Loco works.
Way back in 1998 the first bid to restore steam locomotives in India was made, when the world’s oldest steam locomotive built in England in 1855 (top speed: 40 km per hour) was restored.  But the Railways which lacked the vintage technology (in modern times) to maintain the steam locomotives required vintage technology, could not take this great idea forward.  Just to revive the steam locomoties, the Railways had to first restore the 120-year-old Rewari (in Rajasthan) Steam Loco Shed, which could be achieved with the help of steam railway experts from across the world.  Next, it equipped the Amritsar locomotive workshop with the technology needed to restore these engines.
The route for those interested is Delhi - Alwar - Rewari - Alwar – Delhi.
One-way train journey between Delhi & Alwar + sightseeing/stay (price per adult Rs. 8,965/ child Rs. 4,620).
One-way train journey between Delhi & Alwar only (Rs. 3,795/Rs. 2,035).
Two-way train journey between Delhi & Alwar & back (Rs. 7,315/Rs. 3,795).
One-Way train journey between Delhi & Rewari (Rs. 2,245/1,260).
One-Way train journey between Rewari & Alwar (Rs. 2,275/Rs. 1,275).
Your ticket includes all meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner with tea/coffee provided on board or in hotels.  All meals in the hotel are on buffet arrangement.  Go for it.

Abu Dhabi gets Best Family Destination award from India

Abu Dhabi got the Best Family Destination Award from India’s International Tourism Conclave & Travel Awards (ITCTA) based on industry feedback and market visibility of the destination.  In the first eight months of this year 1,07,223 Indians checked into Abu Dhabi hotels - a 23 per cent hike over the same period in 2012.  That meant 4,34,554 guest nights, up 34 per cent year-on-year with the Indian visitor staying, on an average, just over four nights.

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October 21-27, 2013

Team GS

Last Monday, Genesys International Corporation (NSE GENESYS) launched WoNoBo.com for users to search, explore and share ‘points of interest’ across the length and breadth of India. For the moment, the service will be available at 12 major Indian cities (including Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi) and later expanded to 54 cities.  Goa, not surprisingly, does not figure in the inaugural.  WoNoBo.com also offers other services.  One enables users to illustrate, using 360-degree views, the colourful lives they lead in different corners of the country.  It offers guides, created by users as well as experts, showing locals where to eat, what to shop for, where to take your children while visiting.

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