Image: Vanya Retreats.
There are some very appealing developments going on in India's hotel industry at the moment and a few of them are almost ready to open!
Perhaps, the property that's set to become the most revolutionary is Vanya Malsi Estate, in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. This wellness retreat, which aims to become the most iconic wellness retreat in the world, plans to open its doors to guests on January 4, 2014. Read More...
North East India cuisine.
Image: Greener Pastures.
It's wonderful to not only see the growing interest in North East India as a tourist destination, but also the expanding range of tours on offer there. In this regard, one of the most exciting and innovative new trips to be launched recently is Greener Pastures' eight day Exotic Cuisines and Northeast India Bliss tour.
Greener Pastures is a leading eco-tourism organization based in the North East. As the tour's name suggests, it focuses on promoting a very unique aspect of the region's culture -- the cuisine. It covers the culinary highlights of the various tribes who reside in the region. Read More...
Image: Mihir Garh, Rajasthan.
The Boutique Hotel Awards, a London-based international awards scheme dedicated to recognizing excellence among boutique hotels, recently announced the winners of its 2013 awards. In what's both exciting and commendable, this year Mihir Garh in Rajasthan was voted the World's Best Boutique Hotel. It was also mentioned as one of the World's Best Romantic Retreats.
Mihir Garh, "the Fort of the Sun", is perched dramatically on a sand dune in the Marwar region of Rajasthan, around 55 kilometers south west of Jodhpur. It was newly constructed in 2009, so it's not a heritage property as many in Rajasthan are. However, it is certainly a visionary one.
The owners, Sidarth and Rashmi Singh (who are Marwari horse breeders and who also own the acclaimed Rohet Garh nearby), designed the property themselves. Read More...
Namdapha Rainforest, tucked away in the eastern corner of Arunachal Pradesh in India's remote North East, is the country's most bio-diverse forest. It stretches for 2,000 square kilometers and is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 1,000 plants, 300 birds, 350 butterflies, and many other life forms -- astonishing! It's also one of the few national parks in India where camping is allowed inside the forest.
Now, you can explore it on a new tour launched by Kipepeo, an organization involved in sustainable and responsible tourism, and capacity building in local communities.
Kipepeo's eight night/nine day small group guided trek through Namdapha Rainforest departs from Dibrugarh, in Assam. Read More...
Chinese Fishing Nets, Kochi.
Getty Images/Martin Child.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the new socially responsible 13 day Rajasthan Unlimited tour, launched by Mumbai-based Reality Tours & Travel (the December-January tour is now fully booked but they will be running another one in February 2014).
Following on from this, Reality Tours have put together a 10 day small group trip to Kerala, starting and ending in Kochi. Named Kerala Uncovered, it's quite a mainstream trip in that the places visited are amongst Kerala's most popular tourist destinations -- Kochi, Munnar, Alleppey (backwaters) and Varkala (beach).
However, many of the activities have local and personal elements, including interacting with the fisherman at the Chinese Fishing Nets at Kochi, learning about village industries such as brick making and visiting an orphanage on the way to Munnar, and visiting a spice plantation and local fish market near Alleppey. Read More...
Image: Moustache Hostel.
Those who know me well enough will know that I've developed quite a mustache obsession since being in India (to the point that I rather like wearing a fake one from time to time)! Hence, you can imagine my excitement when I came across this article about the new Moustache Hostel in Delhi today.
Yes, that's its name -- the Moustache Hostel. And, it even has a big mustache on its front door! How cool. As you may have guessed, the owner was looking for a name that was quintessentially Indian. Of course, what could be more Indian... and trendy... than a big Rajasthani mooch (mustache). Read More...
Getty Images/Jochen Schlenker.
A reader recently asked me for an article about pet friendly accommodations in India. Good suggestion! There are many people in India who want to take their pets on vacation but not a lot of hotels that welcome pets.
Fortunately, this is changing though, particularly with the growing popularity of homestays in India. Many hosts and owners have pets themselves, and they're happy for yours to come and stay.
Check out these 10 Pet Friendly Hotels in India for some inspiration for your next pet vacation. There's even what's billed as India's first pet friendly luxury resort -- and all that your pet requires is provided! I've also listed a couple of really useful websites that you can use to find accommodations as well.
Getty Images/Patrice Hauser.
Great news for anyone wanting to get a bird's eye view of India, the government intends to develop 15 lighthouses along the coast as tourist attractions. This got underway with the reopening of Chennai lighthouse earlier in the month, on November 14, 2013.
Members of the public were initially allowed inside the lighthouse after it commenced operating in 1977. However, it was closed for security reasons in 1991 after the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. There were fears it would be the target of an attack.
The lighthouse is 46 meters tall, and is the only lighthouse in India to have a lift! Read More...
Kedarnath before the flood.
www.flickr.com user Dena v.d.Wal.
Prayers began again at Kedarnath Temple in mid September, following the horrific flood that took many lives and suspended the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. A couple of weeks later, officials decided that pilgrimages to Kedarnath could resume as well.
Sounds quite positive, right? It gives the impression that the government must've done a decent job of cleaning up the destruction to the area and removing the bodies of the thousands of people who died there.
However, the truth is quite different. It's actually so awful that it makes me feel ill. Read More...
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Fiona Caulfield, creator and author of the fabulous Love Travel Guides, in Mumbai. It was fascinating to talk to her and find out how she came up with such a brilliant concept. Yet, even better, she gave me a copy of the fourth edition of her Love Mumbai Guide, hot off the press!
Of course, I was thrilled. Fiona's Love Travel Guides for the "luxury vagabond" are packed full of the most hip and happening places in destinations across India. The recommendations come from local knowledge, collected from a wide range of people. Reading these guides feels like getting advice from a well connected friend.
You can find out more in my review of Fiona's Love Mumbai Guide and discover how the Love Travel Guides came into being.
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