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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Ranvir Nayar
Editorial Director
Christine Nayagam
Editorial Advisor
Rajendra Shende
Communications Director Offbeat
June Mukherjee
Dresden, Saxony
Deputy Editor
Debasree Banerjee A Trip Down
Copy Editor Museum Lane
Varsha Singh
Editorial Team
Arachika Kapoor, Surbhi Kapila,
Shalini Dasgupta, Anne-Laure Chanteloup,
Smiti Nandi, Binita Punwani, Alexandre Clasens,
Gabrièle Brennen, Ingrid Davey, Karthik Davey,
Venkata Krishna, K V Priya, Nisha Jha,
Vasudevan Raghavachari, Laura Martinez-Rico,
Rathina Sankari, Sandeep Silas, Manjeet Singh,
Shikha D, Debanjali Biswas
Priyankar Bhargava (Art Director),
Hitesh Mehta,Vinay Kamboj
Virat Garg, Rishabh Kapoor, Pratiyush Gulati

Re-discovering Cultures
Manoj Upadhyay, Omprakash Kabira,
Alok Kumar Dubey, Aman Kanojiya
Shashi Sahai, Sudharak Olwe,

Around the World

Priyankar Bhargava,Virat Garg
Aparna (Photo Coordinator)
Corporate Communications
Marc Seviran, Sameer Mohammad, Mohd Mofid
Sales & Marketing o an average Indian, China represents a mystic northern neighbour that
AGMs: Jasleen Kaur, Shilpi Sharma
New Delhi
Srishti Saxena, Jaudat Siddiqui, Chetan Pathak
Jordan Golabkan
T is best known by all sorts of products that one can find in the Indian
markets today and whose relations with India seem troubled from time
to time.Yet few Indians realise exactly how many of their compatriots are
headed to the discovery of this mystic land and they would be even more surprised
by the rapid growth in the Indian tourists’ traffic that China has been experiencing.
Even the more learned would stumble to name cities or regions in China
Head Office
32 rue Le Peletier, 75009, Paris
beyond Beijing and Shanghai and the Great Wall. But just as India is a very large,
Tel +33-952533704 diverse and ancient culture, China too is much more than the glitzy steel and glass
New Delhi towers that one can see in its mega-metros.
1226, DLF Tower-A, Jasola District Centre, Earlier we had brought you stories from Xi’an in the Shaanxi Province of central
Jasola, New Delhi - 110025 China and this time we traverse the mountains to bring you ancient stories from
Telefax +91-11-43534818
Kolkata the Henan province, believed to be the place where the great civilisation of China
703, 7th Floor, Shubham Building, 1 Rawdon Street, originated from thousands of years ago. From understanding the essence of Kung-
Park Street Area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071 Fu and Tai Chi to exploring the history of the Shaolin Temples, from the wonder of
Tel +91-33-46038309 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites to the breathtaking landscape of the Yuntai
Mountains – this province in China is a hidden gem.
C-23, Usha Sadan, Near Colaba PO,
Mumbai - 400005 One of the several misconceptions that Indians have about China relates to
Tel +91-22-22151612 the lack of availability of vegetarian options in the cuisine. But even in an offbeat
Bengaluru place like Henan, a vegetarian can get their fill of delicious and authentic Chinese
Unit # L4-03, 3rd Floor, SKYWALK No. 5/1, cuisine. We collate the most useful information regarding the options suitable for
Assaye Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore – 560 042
Tel +91-9818437700
vegetarian and vegans.
Chennai Keeping up with the offbeat theme we also cover various volcanic routes, to
8/1 State Bank Street, Mount Road, Chennai-600002 keep things entertaining for adventure seekers. Treading even further into the
Tel/Fax +91-44-28455938 eccentric things to do, we head to the unusual museums of Saxony in Germany.
Staying on in Europe, through the Photo Feature, we showcase the idyllic villages
Published by
MEDIA INDIA GROUP of Cyprus, the tiny Mediterranean island nation, where we bring out the art de vivre
Website and ambience of the place. Keeping things exotic, we travel to Finland to showcase how this snow covered
beauty can be an ideal backdrop for honeymooners who may wish to add a dollop
Capital: 20 000 euros
of adventure to their romantic getaway.
SIREN N: 453 030 371
Press Commission: 0708 K 84914 We bring to you the unique experiences of spirituality and serenity that Bhutan
ISSN: 1767-5952 has to offer in the east and the sense of awe of Sicily in the west. We also journey
Depot Legal: July 2018 to Switzerland for a chocolaty experience and visit Buenos Aires in Argentina for a
Date of publishing:Vol 10, No. 4, July 2018 more luxurious one.
Printed at: Alcasa advertisement & Marketing Pvt. Ltd. Traversing the old and new paths to bring you the most unique experiences
Plot No. D/134, Flat No. 81, Begumpur,
is the aim of this issue of India Outbound. So take a seat, relax and read on to plan
Malviya Nagar, New Delhi - 110017
your next off the beaten track journey.
C O NTENT India Outbound July-August 2018

10 Marvel Superheroes Descend
on Disneyland Paris

Angkor Wat
A Genius of Khmer Art

The Lava Trails
Treading the Treacherous

Melt into the World of
Swiss Chocolates

10 COUNTRY FOCUS Find Love Amid Wilderness
Tracing the Origins of China 46 PHOTO FEATURE
Tian Xin, A Cultural Mosaic in the Mediterranean
Director – India
China National Tourist Office

Discovering China’s
Vegetarian Flavours

Dr Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat
Managing Director
Jordan Tourism Board

Vasudha Sondhi
Managing Director
Outbound Marketing

A Spiritual Abode 52 5 THINGS TO DO
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
30 PROMENADE The Country's New Cool Capital
Molten Shadows of Palermo

42 Buenos Aires
An Assorted Holiday

Dresden, Saxony
A Trip Down Museum Lane

Fashionable Travel
Clubbing Style with Utility

Short-Haul International Trips
Quick Fix Vacations

Ranveer Singh inaugurates

‘Ranveer on Tour’ in Switzerland
Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh
inaugurated a ‘Ranveer on Tour Train’,
which is in honour of his contribution
towards the increasing popularity
of Switzerland as the preferred
destination of Indian tourists. The
train is on the Golden Pass Line and
has been launched by Switzerland
Australia-Kolkata Tourism and the Swiss Travel System.
Dazzled by this gesture, the actor
Consulate to open after said in a statement, 'The ‘Ranveer travellers enjoy this incredible ride as
on Tour’ train is not just transport, much as I did.”
30 years
but an unforgettable journey that “The Indian market is fundamentally
Australia has decided to reopen its takes you on a tour of Switzerland. important for Switzerland Tourism. In
consulate office in Kolkata, India Looking through the huge panoramic 2017, activities to promote Switzerland
around 30 years after it exited the windows of the train is a feast in India resulted in a strong increase of
city during the mid-1980s after for the eyes as you drink in the 23.4 pc in overnights. Our campaign
militant trade unionism had led to beautiful views of tall mountains, with Ranveer Singh as our brand
closure of several corporate offices green valleys and endless vineyards. ambassador has powerfully contributed
and airlines. I still remember being completely in this recent success,” said Martin
The return of the consulate was mesmerised on my first train ride last Nydegger, CEO of Switzerland Tourism,
facilitated seeing an increase in the summer and I hope all our esteemed at the inauguration.
number of tourists and students
travelling to Australia from West
Bengal and a change in the business
climate. Portugal entices film producers
The consulate general’s office with revamped schemes
in Kolkata will take the number of
Sachs’ A Family Vacation shot in Sintra
Australian diplomatic posts in India to
and produced by Saïd Ben Saïd and Luis
four. The other Australia consulates
are in Mumbai and Chennai and
“The new scheme gives me greater
Australian high commissioner’s office
chances to work with directors such
is in New Delhi.
as Ira Sachs, but for me, it is important
Australia’s high commissioner
that the projects have an organic link
to India Harinder Sidhu said, “The
with the locations,” said Luis Urbano.
consulate general in Kolkata will
Portugal is referring itself as the
strengthen bilateral trade and
‘California of Europe’ due to its warm
investment, particularly in the
A group of international film productions climate, beaches, and long daylight
mining and resources sectors. We
is heading to Portugal, attracted by its hours. It has a booming tourism
look forward to strengthening our
unique light, landscapes and a rebuilt industry, start-up culture and high-
engagement with West Bengal and
23-30 pc cash-rebate scheme. Portugal profile events such as the Web Summit.
adjoining states.”
is competing with territories like UK, Last year, Portugal experimented
“These announcements cement
Hungary and France by its 30 pc rebate with a 20-25 pc tax rebate scheme, a
Australia’s commitment to India as a
scheme and may also expand to their minimum of EUR 1 million production
first tier partnership,” she added.
levels. Upcoming productions include Ira spend and supported four projects.

TAT launches app to promote family tourist privileges

In order to promote Thailand as a family resources, attractions, activities,
destination, the Tourism Authority infrastructure, hospitality and services
of Thailand (TAT) has launched an that are fit for all age groups, so our
application called ‘Family Fun Thailand’ country actually is a perfect destination
targeting families, from Asia, especially for families. Indians love to take short
India. family holidays and we intend to reach
The application includes several out to them and showcase the family-
deals and offers from business and friendly side of Thailand through this
tourist attractions throughout Thailand application.” Farm, Phuket, Dolphins Bay Phuket,
for those who are family tourists. Exclusive deals up to 60 pc across Flying Squirrels in Chiang Mai are
Soraya Homchuen, director, TAT said, attractions like Flying Squirrels, Yoyo being offered to tourists through this
“Thailand has a wide variety of tourism Land, Upside Down Pattaya, Vanich application.

06 India Outbound July-August 2018


Palladium Hotel Group enlists Blue Square Ski Dubai

Consultants as its Indian representative
celebrates more
Palladium Hotel, a leading Spanish hotel
chain has appointed Mumbai-based
than six years of snow
Blue Square Consultants (BSC) as its penguins
representative in India. Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping
BSC will conceptualise, implement mall, retail and leisure pioneer across
and promote PR and sales strategies the Middle East and North Africa is
for their Spanish properties in India - celebrating more than six years of
Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, Hard Rock Hotel snow penguins at Ski Dubai.
Tenerife and Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in The feathery family of 10 King and
Spain. Commenting on the appointment, 10 Gentoo Penguins arrived at their
Sergio Zertuche, chief sales & marketing as it is a highly reputed organisation new home in 2012 and since then
officer, Palladium Hotel Group said, with a strong foothold across different have proved extremely popular with
“India is turning into a strong outbound cities in India. Owing to their successful residents and tourists alike. Now with
market in the world and is ranked track record, we are confident that a colony of 28 penguins, the habitat
among our top 20. We are excited to their expertise will help us gain greater highlights how Ski Dubai’s Snow
partner with Blue Square Consultants visibility in the Indian market.” Penguin Breeding Programme has
gone from strength to strength over
the last five years, nearly tripling in size.
Atlantis, The Palm launches the Wedding Lounge Sherif Hashem, senior marketing
manager at Ski Dubai said, “We
World-class wedding destination Compared to 2016, there was an are delighted to be saying ‘Happy
Atlantis, The Palm continues to enhance increase in wedding bookings by 30 pc
its renowned credentials with the in the year 2017.
launch of the exclusive Wedding Lounge Atlantis, The Palm is one of the
that will provide the ultimate haven for Middle East’s most iconic wedding
couples to create their dream wedding. destinations, capable of hosting
celebrations of all sizes and styles.
Couples choosing this location to tie
their knot can be assured that their
wedding day will be extremely special,
with a dedicated planner on hand to
perfectly arrange every last detail of
their special day. Atlantis is not just Birthday’ to our much-loved snow
one destination, but it is a collection of penguins. The Penguin Encounter
seven individual venues, each with its is an integral part of Ski Dubai’s
own character. offering and continues to provide
many great moments for guests
every day. Over the past few years,
Warner Bros World, Abu Dhabi to open in July we’ve had over half a million guests
Warner Brothers World will open its visit our beloved penguins, so I’m
indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi to sure they will want to celebrate this
welcome the public on July 25, 2018. moment with us.
When the highly-anticipated Warner Fun aside, we also have to
Bros. World Abu Dhabi opens this acknowledge that the success of the
summer, it will feature six immersive Snow Penguin Breeding Programme
lands including DC’s Metropolis and is really a testament to the hard
Gotham City, as well as Cartoon work of our Snow Penguin Team who
Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and do great work day in, day out. We
Warner Bros. Plaza. have now built a solid foundation to
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, he added. Mohamed Al Zabi, chief continue our work in this area, and
chairman of Miral Asset Management executive, Miral stated that last year as we move forward we will strive
said, “The launch of Warner Brothers they had achieved 27 million visitors, to further support a bigger, global
World, Abu Dhabi is yet another and now with the launch of this and multi-generational research
milestone in the Emirate’s journey to theme park, they are expecting a 10 programme, benefitting penguin
further enrich its tourism offering and pc increase in tourists arrival. The 1.65 colonies around the world.”
help establish it as one of the world’s million sq ft park promises to deliver To celebrate the milestone,
leading tourist destinations.” guests with captivating experiences, Ski Dubai has released a mini-
“The park is another great addition bringing together some of the world’s documentary charting the journey of
to Yas Island’s immersive experiences most iconic characters and stories under the snow penguins since their arrival
and award-winning attractions,” one roof for the first time in the region. in the UAE.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 07


Jazeera Airways commences direct flight between Mumbai and Kuwait

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji airline, Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways, now be able to offer guests far greater
International Airport (CSIA) has which commences operations between reach and connectivity across a wider
welcomed another international the Middle Eastern country Kuwait network of destinations domestically
and India’s financial capital, and abroad.
Mumbai. The airline has A growing Indian emigrant
started operations to Mumbai population in Kuwait and strong trade
with seven flights a week, ties between India and Kuwait are
onboard its dual-class Airbus increasing demand for travel between
A320 aircraft. the two countries. Those travelling on
Jazeera has become one of business between the two countries
the largest carriers into India will enjoy maximum benefits of this
from Kuwait by commencing expanded reach that Jazeera’s flights to
operations to the CSIA. It will Mumbai will offer.

Cox & Kings launches Self-Drive 365

Self-Drive, a new trend of self-drive of the world.
holidays, powered by Cox & Kings is This new brand allows
all set to redefine travel. It aims to customisation basis experiences,
encourage travellers to discover and terrains and several enticing activities.
be a one-stop road trip planner while Self-Drive 365 allows everyone to
offering a wide array of road-trips choose their favourite route.
within India and across the globe. The Debolin Sen, Business Head,
self-drive brand will ensure a 24x7 Self-Drive 365 said, “Self-drives are experienced expert panel, round-
support crew along with some cherry- fast gaining popularity in India with the-clock assistance, hassle-free
picked destinations, experiences, enthusiasts wanting to explore foreign paperwork and series of thematic
facilities and an assortment of cars and as well as domestic destinations routes, Self-Drive 365 is set to be
bikes that will never throw a spanner in at their own pace and with their the pioneer of self-drive tours in the
the works of a road-trip be it any part favourite cars and bikes. With a highly country.”

Air India to increase New Delhi-Tel Aviv flight frequency to four times a week
Air India’s newly launched New flight frequency in light of the significant
Delhi-Tel Aviv flight services received rise in tourist arrivals from India. The
an overwhelming response due outbound numbers to Israel have grown
to which the national carrier has exponentially in the last few years and
announced an increase in frequency this introduction will help meet the
on this sector, adding a fourth flight growing demands from India. India is
a week, effective from July 14, 2018. an important market for us and I am
The airline will now fly on Saturday delighted to say that it has been one of
in addition to Tuesday, Thursday and the best performing markets in Asia with
Sunday every week on the 256-seater a 31 pc growth last year over 2016 and 31
Boeing 787 Dreamliner. pc between January and May 2018 over
Speaking about the new development, Hassan Madah, 2017. The Ministry of Tourism has consistently worked towards
director, Israel Ministry of Tourism-India & Philippines said, increasing flights and seat capacity into Israel and we are happy
“We are pleased with Air India’s move to increase weekly to see our efforts yield positive results.”

MakeMyTrip ties up with Flipkart for travel bookings

MakeMyTrip has entered into an companies in a statement.
agreement with Flipkart to allow The deal will help Flipkart Online
customers to book flight tickets and Services Pvt Ltd widen the gamut of
other travel services directly through the services it offers, and further its goal
Flipkart app. of being “a one-stop destination for all
For now, this facility will only be digital transactions online,” said Flipkart
available for customers using the chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
Flipkart app on the Android platform. As far as customers are concerned,
The partnership will start with domestic they will get one more avenue to book has placed its engine allowing bookings
flight bookings in the next few weeks, their flight tickets online. and online payments. There is a facility
followed by hotels, bus and holiday Users need to navigate through the of cancellation and receiving funds
bookings, as announced by both the drop-down menu in the app, where MMT within the app itself.

08 India Outbound July-August 2018


Twin Cities World Tourism Association to be founded at PATA Travel Mart 2018
The Pacific Asia Travel Association mission in line with our activities and
(PATA) announced that the founding PATA Travel Mart is the perfect occasion
of the Twin Cities World Tourism to launch this initiative.”
Association (TCWTA) will take place The main aim of the Twin Cities
during PATA Travel Mart 2018 (PTM World Tourism Association is to
2018) in Langkawi, Malaysia from support and increase tourism and
September 12-14, 2018. travel between twin cities, support
PATA CEO Mario Hardy said, “PATA and increase the exchange of ideas and
assists destinations around the world concepts related to tourism and travel
in the development of a responsible mutually beneficial partnerships that between sister cities, and enhance and
and sustainable tourism industry and destinations can achieve such goals. The strengthen relations between twin
it is only through cooperation and Twin Cities World Tourism Association’s sisters through tourism and travel.

79th SKAL International Kolkata to host its

World Congress first SKAL National Congress Event
Kenya will host Kolkata will witness
the 79th SKAL its first SKAL National
World Congress Congress event
in Mombasa hosted by SKAL
from 17th-21st Kolkata from August
October, 2018. 17-19, 2018.
Kenya, which The event will
is the heart of Africa, is blessed with a fantastic climate, take place in Novotel
natural wildlife reserves, amazing scenery, mountains, Kolkata Hotel and
lakes and 600km of Indian Ocean coastline. It has a unique Residences. SKAL Kolkata, one of the oldest clubs was formed
beauty, enhanced only by its warm and friendly people. on April 30, 1954, is also one of the Active SKAL Clubs in India
Mombasa is Kenya’s oldest and largest Port City, having 150-plus members who are from top management of
located on the coast, just south of the equator. Well known some of the leading organisations of the tourism industry in
explorers, Ibn Battuta and Zheng He visited here in 1331 Kolkata constituting travel agents, tour operators, hotels,
and 1412 respectively. Formerly known as the ‘Island of airlines. Sanjeev Mehra, secretary, speaking on the occasion
Mvita’, the name Manbaca was first heard in 1502. By the said, “We want to create awareness to work together to
1800s, it became Mombasa, led by phonetic derivations as enhance our vision, maximise networking opportunities and
more explorers found their way here. develop a responsible tourism industry. We want to focus our
Modern day Mombasa city is a regional cultural and efforts on the National Congress 2018 in Kolkata for which we
economic hub and a city of great diversity and life. It is hope to welcome 600-750 members.”
known for its exotic mix of cultures, rich history, Island’s The event will hold networking sessions and conferences
pace of life, and a fantastic array of leisure offering for for the members. The objective of the club is to promote West
all ages. Bengal as a MICE and tourism destination.

Cape Town chosen as the convention destination by OTOAI

The Outbound Tour Operators help us further strengthen our B2B,”
Association of India (OTOAI) has chosen commented Alpa Jani, trade relations
Cape Town city for its grand convention manager, South African Tourism - India
to be held from August 11-14, 2018. and South Asia.
The convention will be followed by a The president of OTOAI (Outbound
three-night post-convention tour for Tour Operators Association of
the members. India), Mahendra Vakharia shared his
The convention chairman Himanshu observation by concluding, “Giving
Patil said, "We expect outbound our members from Tier II and III cities
tourism from India to South Africa will an opportunity to see the beautiful
grow phenomenally after our event. “It is interesting to note that 28,000 Rainbow Nation, South Africa and
This is because our members tend to delegates from India travelled to experience a world-class product
push that particular destination after South Africa in 2017 for MICE. In the suitable for tourism for their clients, I am
having visited it. For instance, after MICE bucket, incentive travel is rapidly also looking forward to the opportunity
our convention in the Philippines, the gaining popularity amongst the Indian to let the members be updated and
country witnessed a growth of about 37 travellers and 2017 saw a 73 pc increase informed by the experts about the
pc. The convention committee is hoping in the number of incentive-led travellers advantages of digitalisation and how as
to get about 200-plus registrations for to the country. The upcoming OTOAI an SME it can be leveraged by them to
this convention." convention in South Africa would scale their business in the coming years.”

July-August 2018 India Outbound 09


Tracing the Origins of

China, also known as the ‘dragon nation’,
is well known for its large cities and tech-
friendly features. But its ancient civilisation
and natural beauty is as fascinating as its tall
skyscrapers. In the vast country, with over
5,000 years of recorded history, the roots of
this vibrant and diverse civilisation lie in the
eastern province of Henan, home to many
UNESCO World Heritage sites and incredible

Text & Photos: Christine Nayagam

10 India Outbound July-August 2018


n slow movements, an old lady lifts

I her arms and legs. Her grey hair and

wrinkle-covered face indicate that
she must be at least 75 years old.
However, her face reflects peace,
eyes appear focused, but she seems lost
in some other world. Despite the age,
she seems to be in perfect control over
her movements and without a single
hesitation she pulls and takes back
energy around her, creating harmony
between elements. She is practicing Tai
Chi, an ancient exercise combining the
mind, body and soul. It’s the beginning of summer in
Like the old woman, one can find Zhengzhou but it’s not too hot yet. We
many other Chinese citizens, of all are in Henan for a specific reason, to
ages, practicing Tai Chi in parks, streets attend the 2018 International Mayors’
or at their homes. Zen is indeed the Forum on Tourism, organised by the
word I would remember from our trip Ministry of Tourism of the People’s
to Henan, a place believed to be the Republic of China. The two-day
birthplace of the essence of Chinese conference was followed by a week-
culture: Kung Fu, Tai-Chi, acrobatics, etc. long trip that allowed us to discover the
China is also one of the few spiritual and natural wonders of this
countries in Asia that was not colonised seemingly modern-day wonder that
by the Europeans. As a consequence, China has become.
the country has retained its authentic
culture, architecture and overall The Story of Bodhidharma
landscapes. We start our journey in Dengfeng, a
place best known for its Shaolin Temple
Modern & Huge or Monastery and as the birth-place
The first thing we notice as we set for yet another Chinese martial art, the
foot in Zhengzhou, after a brief stop- Kung-Fu. Located about 90kms west of
over in Guangzhou during our flight Zhengzhou city, the Shaolin monastery
from New Delhi, is how everything is is reputed globally for its Zen Buddhism
high-tech. Large LED screens welcome and Kung-Fu training centre. The
us and all the airport processes, from immense popularity of Kung-Fu is easily
check-in to immigration and security visible as soon as you enter the Shaolin
check, use new technologies to scan, town. Streets are lined with a number
register and verify our identities, etc. of academies where thousands of
There is no paper, far fewer humans children, mainly Chinese but also several
and several robots and intelligent foreigners, learn Kung-Fu and practice it
machines doing the work here, making it in practically all the public spaces.
a uniquely seamless experience. The words Shaolin Temple can be
As we take the road towards our loosely translated to ‘the temple in thick
hotel, the sense of modernity is joined forests of Shaoshi Mountain’. Not many
in by a sense of awe. Everything around Indians or even others know about it, but
seems huge, from the roads to the the Shaolin monastery has an intricate
buildings – a sign that the city has link with India and it certainly made
built its infrastructure keeping in mind me proud when I first learnt about this
its growing population. “Zhengzhou connection. The temple was established
is amongst the fastest growing in 495 AD at the foot of the Songshan
cities of China. In just 10 years, it has Mountain by the then Emperor Xiaowen
transformed into a hub for industries, of the Northern Wei dynasty. It had been
notably in the manufacturing, internet, specially built to welcome an Indian
IT and new energy sectors,” explains monk, Buddhabhadra or Bu Tuo, as the
From top to bottom: Chinese people of all ages practicing Tai
Caroline, our guide during the one week Chinese call him. Chi; Statue of Bodhidharma; The Shaolin Temple entrance;
trip to Henan. Buddhabhadra was named the first Other statues in the temple

12 India Outbound July-August 2018


Abbot of the monastery and he devoted before he moved to the monastery. your mind. The body follows.
himself to translating the Buddhist As the new Abbot of the Shaolin The same evening, after the Kung Fu
scriptures and also preaching the monastery, Bodhidharma initiated the performance, we were treated to the
religion to his followers. Chan Buddhism and Shaolin monastery Shaolin Zen Music ritual, which is truly
At the time that Buddhabhadra became the centre of this new form of one-of-its-kind in the world.
was preaching Buddhism, thousands Buddhism. “Bodhidharma also began
of kilometres away, in southern India training his followers in martial arts, Shaolin Zen Music Ritual
lived an Indian prince, Bodhidharma, specifically Kung Fu, mainly to help The Shaolin Zen Music ritual boasts
who was the favourite of his father, the the monks defend themselves against of several firsts in the world. It is
King. However, Bodhidharma became attacks by wild animals that roamed believed to have the world’s largest light
interested in spiritual matters and the jungles around the monastery”, system with over 2,800 lights controlled
renounced the world, became a monk adds Caroline. by computers and stretching all along
and began studying Buddhism with a The setting of the monastery Mount Songshan, from the base to the
famous guru, Prajnatara. appears to be perfect for practicing summit, over 1,400m high. The stage of
Prajnatra told Bodhidharma martial arts. Shaolin is set in dense pine the show is also the biggest, covering an
to go to China after his death and forests with the backdrop of mountains area of five square kilometres.
the student followed the master’s and fresh air. Peace and calm reign The highlight of the show is the
instructions. Thus, in 527 AD, 32 years here, allowing the mind to meditate world’s largest man-made moon, also
after Buddhabhadra had founded and the body to practice martial arts. controlled by computers, which rises
the Shaolin temple, Bodhidharma The practice and the show offered to from the forest in Mount Songshan.
crossed into China through Guangdong us by the current students were quite The moon stretches over 20m across
province. He traversed through the impressive. Kung Fu, like most other in diameter in its full moon form. It is
country and reached the vicinity of the martial arts is all about how you control amazing to see monks fly and tumble
Shaolin Temple, after having crossed
the Yangtze River by using the weeds TRAVEL TIPS
in the river as his support. Once he
reached the mountains near the temple,
How to access your social media handles from mainland China
Before reaching China, many people warned us about the fact that we won’t be able to access
Bodhidharma went inside a cave and Facebook, WhatsApp etc. Indeed, the main western social media, such as Twitter, Instagram,
began meditating. Facebook, Google+, are blocked by the Chinese government.
Soon, his fame spread to the Shaolin So concretely how can you continue to use them? Buying a Chinese SIM card won’t help,
Temple and monks from the temple you’ll get internet access and will be able to receive and make calls but social media won't be
began visiting the cave, requesting him accessible. Some people use VPNs or encrypted proxy severs but it’s not safe and it’s illegal.
The secret is simply to buy an international roaming plan on your mobile. Mine cost INR 2999
to come to the temple and take charge
with Airtel and it gives 3GB Internet data, allows you to receive free incoming calls and to
as the master. However, Bodhidharma make calls at a discounted price. It wasn’t too difficult to stay connected!
spent nine years meditating in the cave

Left: A Chinese woman in traditional dress; Right: The Shaolin Zen Music Ritual

July-August 2018 India Outbound 13


2018 International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism (IMFT)

“IMFT is held every two years and it is a platform for high level dialogue
for international tourism and world tourist cities. The objectives of
the conference are not only to exchange best practices but also to
understand the role tourism can play in pushing sustainable urban
development. India is, of course, an integral part of the discussions here
and we have mayors from some Indian cities like Nagpur and Shimla
present at this event,” says Tian Xin, director of China National Tourist
Office (CNTO) in India.
In collaboration with United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO), the conference unveiled a report titled ‘The 21st Century
Maritime Silk Road: Tourism opportunities and Impacts’. The study
examines the possible implications of the 21st century maritime Silk
Road and its heritage to thematic tourism. The heritage sites that form
part of the maritime routes include those in China, India, Indonesia
and Sri Lanka. China aims to lead the project and develop new tourism
products and destinations in collaboration with these countries.
“This fifth edition of IMFT has been held in Henan, a region that has One important factor in the growth of Indian tourism to Henan will
rich cultural tourism resources and is developing towards global tourism. be the availability of Indian food or vegetarian food. “We had some
During your stay in China, you will feel the history and culture of Henan options for vegetarians in the Chinese cuisine, but we need more variety
and the diligence and wisdom of the people of Henan,” said Li Jinzao, and at some point Indians do miss the spices! I am pretty sure that
vice minister of Culture & Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, respective tourism organisations will take initiatives to overcome this in
while addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony. order to receive more Indian tourists,” noted Varun Walia, team leader
outbound holidays at
Indian Tourists in China “Mainland China has some more unexplored regions for Indian
“About 750,000 Indians visited China last year for tourism or business travellers, my personal favourites being Dali and Lijiang and we are
purposes whereas only 250,000 Chinese came to India. The outbound recommending these to our clients as well for a complete China
tourism from India to China is increasing. Indians usually go to Beijing, experience, beyond Beijing and Shanghai,” said Anil Kalsi, owner of
Shanghai, Xi'an and Guangzhou, but Henan and its unique history can be Ambe World Travels who already sends more than 300 tourists a year
of interest for Indians. We need to explore the routes and the options and sees the number increasing. “We could definitely send more,
accordingly,” says Prayesh Bandhuvar, head of outbound department at hopefully China will open the e-visa service to Indians as India gives to
Trance Holidays, a tour operator based in New Delhi. Chinese visitors,” he added.

from a height of 80m, just like in a slick Understanding Zen Buddhism was the capital during the period of late
Hollywood production. Next day, we head towards another Northern Wei dynasty and early Tang
The set, music and the costumes, historical spot, the Longmen Grottoes dynasty. The most intensive carving
all join hands to completely in Luoyang, listed as a UNESCO World happened between the end of 5th
mesmerise the viewers. In addition, Cultural Heritage site. Stretched on both century and up to mid-8th century AD.
you can see real Shaolin Kung Fu in the sides of the Yi River, the Grottoes The carving continued till early 10th
this performance. In the spectacle, comprise over 2,300 caves, carved into century, though.
hundreds of monks sing, chant and the steep limestone cliffs that stretch As you walk around, you’ll notice
pray under the instruction of the old for over a kilometre. There are over that most of them are missing the
Abbot. The spectacle has five chapters, 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, over 60 heads, believed to have been stolen and
each representing an element – water, stupas and 2,800 inscriptions carved on sold. Many of the missing pieces can be
wood, air, light and the earth. steles. According to UNESCO, Luoyang seen in various western museums, just
as is the case with a number of Indian
“Longmen means ‘Dragon Gate’ and
indeed you’ll notice that the Chinese
language employs the word ‘long’
(dragon) to define many commonplace
objects like chairs and tables as they are
believed to be descendants of dragons,”
explains our guide Caroline.
The masterpiece of the Longmen
Grottoes is the Locana Buddha, the
biggest Buddha sculpture of the site,
which was sculpted in resemblance of
the only female emperor in the Chinese
history, Wu Zetian, a powerful Empress
who founded her own dynasty, the
Zhou dynasty.
After the Longmen Grottoes, we
moved on to Wen County in Jiaozuo to
see some more marvels, both man-
The tallest statues of Longmen Grottoes made and natural. Jiauzuo is on the

14 India Outbound July-August 2018

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Left: Trekking at the Red

Rock Gorge in the Yuntai
Mountain; Right: The
Water Show in Puyang

banks of the famous Yellow River, also is a lot to see here. A great place for with no doubts about the credibility of
known as the Sorrow of China due to its trekking, you can stay for up to three this claim!
frequent devastating floods. It is home days, exploring various paths and don’t On the way back home, we took
to several attractions such as the Taiping forget to experience the Yuntai glass out a day for shopping in Guangzhou
Temple with its own grottoes as well as bridge. Hugging the mountainside and (known to be a famous manufacturing
a collection of ancient tombs. It is also crossing over gorges, the glass bridge & industrial centre). One day was clearly
here that Tai-Chi was born. hangs over 1,100m of vertiginous drop, not enough as the options are plenty! As
We went on a quest to find the true which has become a major attraction I pack my bag one last time, I remember
meaning of the Yin and the Yang. The for travellers. Henan, the beauty of the mountains
black and the white, the positive and the Yuntai is also home to a famous and mystic forests, the simplicity and
negative that describe how seemingly natural park and is an all-season strength of its people, the healthy way
opposite or contrary forces may actually destination. Depending on when you of life and of course the Zen Buddhism.
be complementary, interconnected, and reach here, you’ll discover new colours
interdependent. and landscapes. If you are short of time,
We too have a similar concept and you can opt for a two-hour trek at the
belief in the Hindu philosophy but Red Rock Gorge. The slopes have unique
what we discovered here is how the shapes; made by the different layers of
Yin and the Yang are beautified by the red rock formations. The well-indicated
practice of Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art narrow path, will lead you to incredible HENAN
that was born in the 13th century. It is waterfalls, natural rock bridges and a
all about the flow of energy that brings view on the green mountains.
the equilibrium. The nature is made of pine and maple
trees but also numerous flowers and
Scenic Landscapes of the Yuntai herbs that we have not seen before.
Mountain Many of them are believed to have Capital
After a dip into the ancient history health benefits. Cities Hebi

of China, we go towards the mountains. To see all that you’ll have to go 68m
As old as the history of the country, down (you’ll have to climb back up as Sanmenxia

they emanate mystery and zen, which is well) and indeed the best view comes HENAN Bozhou

why it was the favourite retreat of a few after the hardest trek. Pingdingshan Bozhou
Chinese sages. Zhumadian
Overhanging Jiaozuo is the Yuntai Chinese Acrobatics
Mountain, covered in a lush green forest Our journey ended with Puyang,
and littered with waterfalls of different a town known for several historical
sizes and volumes. But the first thing we figures including military strategist Wu How to Reach
notice as we get there is how incredibly Qi and statesman Shang Yang. Puyang
There are direct flights to China from Delhi,
clean it is, with proper dustbins is also very famous for its acrobatics
Mumbai, and Kolkata, operated by Cathay Pacific
distributed everywhere, including in and we watched one of its premier
Airways, Air China, China Southern Airline, Jet
the jungle. Another aspect is the total acrobatic shows, the Water Show, Airways, etc. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and
tranquillity and silence that surrounds where various acrobats perform in or Kunming are the major entry cities. You can visit
you and allows you to enjoy the scenery around water. Puyang is also known as China’s other destinations by domestic flights
without any disturbance. the cradle of Chinese acrobatics. Having or high-speed trains. The air journey is around
With about 240 sq km area, there watched the Water Show, we were left three to six hours.

16 India Outbound July-August 2018


“Hoping for the 144-hour

visa-free transit for Indians”
The India office of China Tourism has revamped its
strategy to become more focussed on promoting
Chinese history, culture and heritage to the Indian

June Mukherjee
Tian Xin
Director – India
China National Tourist Office

What is your strategy this year to and Xi’an are the most popular places
promote China in India? among Indians. Shanghai, Guangzhou
The main strategies this year to and Shenzhen are the three big cities
promote China in India will include in China that attract more business
joining the travel trade exhibitions travellers from India. They are China’s
in India in various cities such as OTM, major commercial cities as well, which
SATTE and TTF, and connect with the also attract business tourists from
industry; invite Indian outbound tour all over the world. The Indian leisure
operators and travel agents to visit tourists who are interested in China
various tourism events and festivals are more willing to explore history and
through fam trips to China; advertise culture especially to experience the
China Tourism through various mediums origins of Chinese Kung Fu, see the
in the major cities in India; and find Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors
new ways to promote China Tourism Museum, etc. Nowadays, we are also
to Indians. For the first time, we are getting Indian families who are opting
doing a photography competition for China during school vacations.
to involve travellers in promoting Indians can expect to explore the
extensive cultural exchange between splendid civilisation, colourful natural
the two countries. scenery and vitality of the modern cities
in China.
What are the tourist arrival numbers
in the last year and what increase do What should a first-time visitor
you expect this year? Which Indian explore in the big Chinese cities?

With cities give you more tourists?

Over 800,000 Indian tourists have
In Beijing one has to see the Great
Wall, Palace Museum, Temple of Heaven,

deepening travelled to China during the last

financial year. We are expecting a year-
Summer Palace and the Olympic Park.
In Shanghai, the must-sees include

cultural on-year increase of at least 10 pc in

2018. New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata
the Bund, Disneyland Park, City God
Temple, Huaihai Road and the Yuyuan

exchanges, give China more tourists because of

the direct flight connectivity to various
Garden. Someone coming to Kunming
for the first time, should not miss the
now there are Chinese cities. Stone Forest, Golden Temple, Yunnan
Nationalities Park and the Kunming
more Indian Which Chinese cities are most
popular among Indians? Do you get
Luosiwan International Trade City.

restaurants more business travellers to the big

What about the food choices
available for Indians? Do you think it
in China Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou is a challenge?

18 India Outbound July-August 2018


1 2 3

Top Pick for a First Time Tourist to China

1. The Great Wall: Counted as one of waterfront extravaganza on the west bank Warriors and Horses Museum, an astonishing
the greatest human accomplishments, of Huangpu River giving a glimpse of the collection of around 6,000 life-size figures
stretching for more than 10,000kms, the glorious architectural history on the one of warriors, chariots and war-horses, dating
Great Wall travels across nine provinces and hand and the modern skyscraper attractions back more than two millennium, one of
runs across numerous tourist attractions of the Shanghai city on other. the greatest archaeological find of the
along with impressive sceneries. 4. The Stone Forest: Located approximately 20th century.
2. The Forbidden City: With a 5,000-year 120km east of Kunming city, the nearest 6. The Giant Pandas: Chengdu has the
history written all over, officially known as international airport from India, the cuddliest residents that China is famous
the Imperial Palace Museum, the palace limestone spires make up the ‘forest’ spring for - with a population of less than 1,000
city was home to 24 Emperors of the Ming from the earth creating the illusion of a in the wild and only found in the Sichuan,
Dynasty between 1420 and 1911 and is forest made of stone and is a rare thing Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, Giant Pandas
now visited by over eight million tourists to see. are strongly protected by the Chinese laws
every year. 5. The Terracotta Army: One must not only allowing tourists to do photo-ops under
3. The Bund: The Bund is an incredible leave China without seeing the Terracotta certain controlled situations.

4 5 6

Chinese food is different but it is Sometimes, even Indian regional in the south, water towns in the east
fantastic and has mouth-watering language speaking guides are available. and deserts in the west. The unique
flavours. Our cuisine is famous all over With the development of English history that dates back to centuries and
the world. It is not difficult to find a education in China, there are more the strong culture are our advantages,
vegetarian restaurant in most of the and more people who can now speak with which we are confident to attract
cities in China. English especially in the big cities. tourists from all over the world,
With the deepening of cultural There is still a barrier in small cities, especially Indians.
and tourism exchanges in Sino-India especially for the tourists who travel by
relationship, more and more Indian themselves. But now, many translation Are you considering a relaxed Chinese
restaurants are now found in big cities apps are available for smart-phones, visa policy for the Indians to get more
of China. Chinese food customised which help foreign tourists while short-stay tourists from India?
in the Indian way is also available in communicating. We hope that the 144-hour visa-
many places. free transit policy can be implemented
What are your plans to stay afloat for Indian tourists as well. This policy
Is the language still a barrier? What amidst stiff competition from is carried out in Shanghai, Jiangsu,
is being done to overcome that? neighbours like Thailand, Malaysia Zhejiang, Liaoning as well as in
For group tourists, there isn’t any and Singapore? Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, to facilitate
language problem as when they travel China covers a large territory with international travellers to transit through
all over China, an English speaking diverse landscapes. You can explore ice China for no more than 144 hours (6
tour guide always accompanies them. and snow in north and tropical jungles days) without holding a visa.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 19


Discovering China’s Vegetarian Flavours

Widely known for its Peking duck, pork stir-fry and wontons, China is a bliss for
food lovers; however, this may not be the case for vegetarians and vegans.
Though there are vegetarian, vegan and Indian options in the country, they
come with their own set of challenges.

Arachika Kapoor

he dining table was set interconnected with food. diced pieces were soya or meat. To
with a bouquet of around Though the dishes looked complicate it further, we were not sure
10-15 well-known Chinese appetising, only some of them were if they understood when we asked for
delicacies. “People in China edible for vegetarians. As we sat around a vegetarian meal or if we correctly
serve a lot of food before the big round table, with dishes being pronounced wo bu chi rou (I don’t
their guests, as it is a way of showing served in the middle, our first meal in eat meat).
respect and welcoming people in the Xi’an, Shaanxi Province in central China, Being a vegetarian in China is peculiar
country,” Eric Wang, a resident and was quite a challenge. and it gets more complex when you try
tourist guide in China tells our group of After asking for a vegetarian to explain that you consider fish and even
eight people, as we begin to eat. meal, amongst fruits, dry fruits eggs as non-vegetarian food items, which
Of course, in a country where the tossed in oil, noodles, rice and boiled the Chinese consider to be vegetarian.
traditional phrase to greet people vegetables, we were served paomo - a The country is a major centre of
translates to 'have you eaten yet?' (ni shredded flatbread soaked in mutton Buddhism and the founding state of
chile ma), the lives of people are heavily broth. It was difficult to guess if the Taoism - two philosophies that promote

20 India Outbound July-August 2018


China has a wide variety of local street snacks that are a good option for vegetarians

vegetarianism, and so because of the hai xian), you may still be served food youtiao with a chilli sauce. Further,
growing vegetarian lifestyle in the with oyster or fish sauce. international food chains including
country, vegetarian food is available McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut,
all over... but it comes with its own What and Where to Eat amongst others, can be found across
challenges. It is hard to find a homely dish in a the country.
At most Chinese eateries, tofu, foreign land, but one food that binds Another on-the-go filler popular
boiled vegetables and potatoes form many Asian nations together is rice. amongst vegetarians in the country is
the basis for a vegetarian menu. But Rice and noodles can be found soymilk, which is often sold alongside
because of the traditional cooking style, anywhere in China, which can be the spring onion pancakes. Sweet tofu
even vegetarian dishes are fashioned combined with boiled green vegetables, is another street snack - served with
to match the flavours and aesthetics of fruits, dry fruits, bean products and sweet ginger syrup - either hot or cold,
non-vegetarian items. This is why, most vegetable oil for a complete vegetarian sometimes with toppings including red
people doubt if what is being served is meal. While some Indians may find beans, lotus seeds or peanuts.
soya or meat. these vegetarian options bland, with
A typical Chinese meal has two no salt or chilli, for others it might be Vegetarian-Friendly Indian
divisions - noodles, rice or buns with interesting, cooked with medicinal Restaurants
stir-fries, and boiled vegetables, herbs and created on the basis of For authentic Indian-style vegetarian
fish or meat. After rice, noodles and traditional Chinese medicines. options, it is best to head to the Indian
meat, vegetables are an important For pure vegetarian Chinese, stick restaurants in China. The Delhi Darbar
part of Chinese cuisine. The Chinese to the Buddhist places, especially restaurant in Yanta District of Xi’an, with
consume vegetables including cabbage, the restaurants near Buddhist Indian chefs and staff, is not very fancy
spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, and other temples. Buddhist vegetarian dishes but serves delicious food. Amongst the
leafy greens, stir-fried with sauce or often contain imitation meats made vegan and vegetarian options, their
vegetable oil, at almost every meal. from soya, so don’t hesitate if the kadhai paneer and kaali daal are not
They also cook their food using a lot menu at Buddhist restaurants offer to be missed. With Bollywood songs
of fresh vegetables like mushrooms ‘beef noodles’. playing in the background and authentic
or bamboo. China also has a wide variety of local Indian food on your platter, the
There are options for vegetarians street snacks that make for a good ambience takes you back home.
in China, but what is difficult is option for vegetarians. While the snacks Ganges Indian Restaurant with
communication. You will rarely find in south China are mainly prepared with modern setting and vibrant design
people who can converse in English – rice, those in the north are generally elements is another place that brings
though translator applications help, made with flour. “We tried the spring the Indian culinary culture to China.
and of course learning some useful onion pancakes with youtiao (Chinese With delicious food and affordable
Chinese phrases and words. ‘Wo chi sù’ fried doughnuts) made with milk, sugar, prices, the restaurant serves vegan,
means ‘I am a vegetarian’ and generally salt and flour. Other interesting street halal, vegetarian, Indian and Asian food
translates to Buddhist vegetarian food, foods in China are the dried fruits and options in Xi'an, Shanghai and Beijing.
which means your food will be bland nuts that were the staples of merchants Shanghai and Beijing are home to
and cooked without garlic and onions. because they were easily preserved,” many other Indian restaurants, including
Fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy says Suprabh, an Indian tourist and a the Indian Kitchen in Chaoyang Qu;
sauce, vinegar, root garlic, and other history lover, who visited central China Bollywood Indian Restaurant, Masala
condiments are generously used in last year. Art; and Indian Kitchen in Shanghai Shi.
dishes to offer distinct flavours and Spring onion pancakes look like Other parts of China including Lhasa
aroma. So, even if you say that you don't household Indian bread and are and Guangzhou also host a few Indian
eat meat or seafood (wo bù chi ròu huò generally consumed wrapped around restaurants for tourists.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 21


Bok Choy and Shiitake

Mushroom Stir-Fry
Embrace fresh and sweet Chinese flavours
with an easy and healthy dish from China's
cuisine. This simple recipe makes for a healthy
vegetarian/vegan snack or side-dish.

egetable stir-fries are quick and easy vegetarian
and vegan Chinese side-dish options. The savoury
shiitake mushrooms, known as ‘fragrant mushrooms’
in the Chinese language, enhance the taste of other
ingredients, such as the fresh bok choy.
These mushrooms are thinner and denser than common
mushrooms and brown quickly without releasing much liquid
while cooking. Shiitake mushrooms have a meaty flavour that
adds to the taste of bok choy and marries well with toasted
sesame oil.
Rich in fibres and vitamin D, the combination of bok choy and
shiitake mushrooms can be enjoyed as a fresh salad, light soup
or with hearty noodles or rice.

• 3-4 minced garlic cloves onions)
• 1 cup sliced shiitake • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
mushrooms • 2 teaspoons of minced/
• 2 teaspoons canola oil grated fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 chopped bok choy • 2 tablespoons sesame
• 5-6 sliced scallions (green seeds

1 Sautee the garlic and mushrooms in oil for three-five
minutes and then add soy sauce, bok choy and scallions.
Cook further for three-five minutes.

2 Reduce heat to medium-low and add vegetable broth

and ginger. Simmer for another three-five minutes.
3 Stir in the sesame oil and remove from heat.

4 Serve hot over rice or noodles, or just enjoy it as a

simple vegetable snack.

22 India Outbound July-August 2018

14th International
Travel Expo
6 – 8 September 2018

Your Gateway to Tourism in Asia


• Over 300 International Brands & Companies Exhibiting
• Buyer-Seller Meeting Contact us for more information:
• Hosted Buyer & Media Program
• Networking Function
• Seminars on Key Tourist Markets
• Pre & Post Show Tour for Hosted Buyer & Media

“Jordan Trail chosen as one

of the best experiences”
With the ease of visa-on-arrival for Indians at all Jordan
border crossings, valid for a period of 30 days, Jordan Tourism
Board continues to package its unique experiences, along
with the Dead Sea, which is a must-visit when in Jordan.

June Mukherjee
Dr Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat
Managing Director
Jordan Tourism Board

How has Jordan tourism grown in panoramic views from Mount Nebo, the Indians are very fond of their
India over the last few years? Rose Red city of Petra, the therapeutic own food even when they are
The performance in the Indian waters of the Dead Sea, Aqaba on the abroad. What options do Indians
market in the past five years has been Red Sea and Wadi Rum – a UNESCO have in Jordan?
great. We have witnessed a growth by World Heritage Site, which are well- Jordan has become one of those
double digits every year. We conducted visited throughout the year. Now we countries where tourists look forward
an aggressive marketing campaign are focussing on wellness tourism as to explore and experience gastronomy.
targeting the tourists with several we have the largest natural spa 420 We are witnessing a growth in the
consumer-based products, especially for metres below the sea level. A lot of number of tourists that come just for
the Indians who love to visit Jordan. spa treatment facilities are available food tasting. We have a lot of delicious
Jordan is famous for Petra, the there along with many luxury hotels. dishes that Indians will like to taste.
Dead Sea, the baptism sites, and other We are also introducing our adventure For example, the mansaf, which is our
Christian sites in the country. activities to the Indian market. We traditional dish, then we have ful, the
have recently launched the Jordan Trail Jordanian hummus, and also our various
What promotional strategies full of experiences that has now been salads, etc. Of course, Jordanians love
and activities helped you achieve chosen as one of the 10 best experiences Indian food, and that is why we have a
this result? in the world. lot of Indian restaurants in Jordan - in
We diversified our sales and the major cities, country-side hotels, at
marketing strategy by bringing What MICE opportunities are you the food-streets, etc. So we are very well
wedding planners to Jordan. We looking at from India? prepared to cater to the taste buds of all
conducted workshops with their We have just launched a brand kinds of Indian foodies.
counterparts to introduce the Dead new convention bureau and with
Sea, the lowest point on Earth to be a that we have succeeded to attract a Bollywood is a very lucrative sector,
destination where wedding planners lot of international congresses and what is your strategy to attract the
came to explore if they could arrange conferences to Jordan. Having such Indian film industry?
beautiful and unique weddings in the state-of-the-art facilities we can cater We hosted a lot of Bollywood
Dead Sea. We also participated in a to big events covering up to 5,000 producers in recent times through fam
lot of exhibitions, connected with the participants at a time. Other than the trips. A lot of films and television series
industry, with tour operators, travel lucrative Indian weddings, we are have been shot in the past years in
agents, MICE operators and met with also looking at medical conferences, Jordan. We are also working with the
Indian B2B counterparts resulting in annual conventions and incentive tours European Film Commission to bring
good numbers. In addition to that, from India. more filming units to Jordan.
we had training programmes and
workshops for travel agents and tour What is the current state of What is the immediate strategy for
operators in various cities to introduce air connectivity between India the Indian market?
the products from Jordan. and Jordan? In a demand-driven approach, we are
We are working with Emirates, Fly introducing different experiences like
Other than Petra and the Dead Sea, Dubai, Air Arabia and Etihad to bring history, culture, religious, adventurous,
what new tourism products are you more tourists to Jordan. We used to fly wellness, medical, etc. We are focussing
trying to introduce to the Indians? Royal Jordanian earlier and hopefully on online promotions as a major driver
Jordan’s iconic landmarks include the will convince them to operate again. for our marketing strategy.

24 India Outbound July-August 2018


+33 (0)1 80 73 98 25
Located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Parisiens a company
provides every day an intense and tasty journey along
the most beautiful of Parisian boulevards. Embark aboard
its entirely glassed-over boats for a unique cultural and
gastronomic experience.

“Anyone can open a

shop - that is the challenge”
India Outbound gets insights from the head of Outbound
Marketing, an organisation that manages portfolios of
many leading international hotels. The trend shows that at
any point of time, Indian outbound travellers pick value for
money over almost anything.
Vasudha Sondhi
Managing Director June Mukherjee
Outbound Marketing

What is the current scenario of are happy to book with Airbnb and plan international hotel in India, what are
Indian outbound industry from the the holiday themselves over the internet, the key factors you look at?
perspective of hospitality? especially for Europe and the Americas. For a business/leisure hotel, we would
India has now finally arrived as a The maximum sale is for 4-star/first class look at the business potential from India
very important source market for most hotels; however, Indians still want value for the hotel or the chain. Although for
international hotel chains and hotels. The and ‘perceived’ better price. leisure, we would take on even an offbeat
trend in bookings is changing very rapidly, location as we would promote the
from booking with the agents, to tour What are these international hotel destination along with the hotel.
operators, to online and hotel websites – chains doing to attract more Indian How do you differentiate every
the choices are multiple and diverse. customers? hotel’s brand promotion in India
We look at a broad-based distribution. The first part is to have a long-term when you have so many hotels as your
For each of the brands for whom we strategy for the market and to be clients in the kitty?
manage the sales, we identify the various convinced of the Indian business. Most It’s very simple. Each hotel has a
channels of distribution and handle hotels that are part of our sales portfolio brand identity. It’s our undertaking to
the sales accordingly. Since most of our are very active on digital media and take fully understand their objectives and
brands are first class or luxury, roughly digital marketing very seriously. We are deliver accordingly. There could be an
10 pc of our sales are through fixed also engaging with tour operators to overlap in the objectives, but the value
departure or tying up with various tour connect with their customers for brand proposition is different. As a company,
operators. The biggest segments that recall. Many of the brands we represent we allocate individual resources to each
we can manage to influence are the MICE do not have any hotels in India. Therefore, of our brands to maintain their identity
and weddings’ segments. We also work to create a brand recall is very crucial. and individuality. We do not share or pool
with corporate companies, not with the We identify the cities within India that our resources.
intention of cutting out intermediaries would work for the brand within a three-
but more to drive-up end customer’s year time frame and approach it in a What is the one big hurdle that
demand and visibility. Uber-luxury hotels phased manner. this industry is finding difficult to
still tend to shy away because their overcome?
customer bases are small and they don’t The luxury properties can afford There is not just one big hurdle, there
generally come through intermediaries. extensive promotion, but what about are several challenges, like the shortage
The sale for such products tends to be a budget hotels? Tourists still need to of trained and skilled personnel or
bit more complicated. find information about them. small agencies moving digital platforms
I don’t think so. The luxury and budget and making a business case. From my
What are the latest trends Indians are hotels have entirely different source perspective a big challenge would be
looking at when they select hotels markets and there is adequate business the non-regulatory nature of the travel
while going out of India? potential for both. If the budget hotels industry – anyone can set up a shop.
Our experience says that the identify India as a source market, they This has compounded the already
destination is selected first and hotels will make an effort to sell here. Naturally, fragmented nature of our agencies and
come second. It is very tough to their activities and marketing will vary has made it a challenge for sellers like
generalise the selections. We have every accordingly. They would also depend on us to identify the right agencies to work
type of segment travelling - right from online bookings. with. Despite all these challenges, we
the budget to uber-luxury. I look at the have to remain focussed to deliver high
millennial travelling with friends and they When you plan to promote an returns to our clients.

A Spiritual Abode
Spirituality paves and shines the boulevard of Bhutan, thus making it a place where
meditation can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Varsha Singh

ravellers have plenty of values and culture in Bhutan - the land kingdom. This might be the reason for
reasons for travelling, of mystique - touches the zenith of this country to be the happiest in Asia.
some do it for business, Buddhist flexibility. Monastery choir The Buddhism practiced here
some want to explore new and Buddhism prevail predominantly pervades nearly every aspect of
lands and others just want in Bhutan but it never leads to the the Bhutanese lifestyle. The place
to take a break and go on a holiday. growth of religious malpractice or intra- is interspersed with thousands of
However, there are few who go on a religious degradation. monuments and monasteries, dzongs,
meaningful journey to attain spirituality Bhutan is for those who seek solace, stupas, red-robed monks praying in
in order to rediscover themselves. rest and rejuvenation. Perhaps only temples and conducting rituals, and
Spiritual travellers make the journey to to preserve its uniqueness and to clusters of prayer flags accumulated
experience a variety of faiths, traditions maintain its peacefulness the kingdom on poles. People there have a belief
and practices and to gain religious sat in isolation for years, only opening that animals can hear the sound of the
understanding. its doors to visitors in the year 1974. prayer flags dancing in the mountain
Spirituality is the quintessential Religious principles have a strong winds, and in the next life they are
experience of Bhutan. The spiritual influence over life in this spiritual reborn as human beings and have a

28 India Outbound July-August 2018


better life. These rituals by the locals

stand as a testament to the importance
of Buddhism in the Bhutanese life.

A Land of Monasteries
Bhutan is known for its monasteries,
fortresses (dzongs) and spectacular
landscapes that range from sub-tropical
plains to steep mountains and valleys.
The most popular is Taktsang Palphug
Monastery or more popularly known
as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, which is
the most sacred pilgrimage site in the
Himalayan region.
It is said about Tiger’s Nest that
the Guru Rinpoche, one of the key
figures in Bhutan Buddhism, arrived
here on the back of a tigress and
meditated at this monastery and hence
it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Guru Rinpoche
is believed to bring Buddhism to
Bhutan. This monastery is famous for its
incredible art, treasures, spirituality
and Buddhism.
“Taktsang Palphug Monastery - a
white building, with gold plated dome
and prayer wheels enchanted me with
its perfect architectural details and
above all the jaw dropping beauty
Above: People praying while walking around Memorial Chorten in Thimpu; Below: Tashichho Dzong
of the surrounding valley ignited my monastery in Thimpu
mind. Chagri Dorjeden Monastery,
also called Cheri Monastery in Thimpu, another renowned tourist destination in the rock as spiritual gifts to visitors
capital city of Bhutan lured me and in Bhutan. Clusters of colourful flags and pilgrims. There are innumerable
I was astonished to see the learning flutter in the wind where 108 memorial sacred places in Bhutan that are known
procedures of the monks through chortens or stupas known as ‘Druk to have a powerful influence with which
which they show the significance of Wangyal Chortens’ have been built to transform the visitors’ mind. They
absolute redemption and sacrificial by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the believe that a pilgrimage to a sacred
tendencies. Apart from these I explored eldest Queen Mother. site will transform the three doors-of
Tango monastery, Memorial Chorten, “The spiritualism of Bhutan is body, speech and mind. Pilgrims offer
which depicts the saga of Buddhism noteworthy. One can easily say about one stick of incense and a single butter
and the learning of Buddhist culture Bhutan's spiritualism as this country lamp at the sacred place because they
meticulously, which has definite and showcases its tourism by monasteries. believe that it is equal to the merit
differentiated values from all other One will surely fall in love with the of offering a thousand incense sticks
religions. Religious values and culture breathtaking landscape and rich or lamps in any ordinary place due to
are not dogmatic but it is astute and spiritualism that Bhutan owns,” says the positive energy left behind by the
astounding in the heavenly country of Agnibha Majumder, an avid traveller and enlightened masters.
Bhutan,” says Utsab Dey, a traveller a passionate photographer, who works “Bhutan is a place where one can
from Kolkata. in a leading travel group of Kolkata. seek solace, rest and recuperation.
Another famous attraction of the A place famous for medication and
mountainous kingdom to seek spiritual Sacred Sites peace retreats away from the hustle of
solace is Punakha Dzong. Located in Locals believe that many sacred a city life. The people in Bhutan lead a
western Bhutan, this place is often places in the region remain intact calm and simple lifestyle and are super
considered the most beautiful and most because of great Buddhist saints sensitive towards their religion. Religion
important Dzong in Bhutanese history. and sages who lived, meditated is a way of life here and they have
It is said to be the best architectural and transformed these places into happily imbibed this as a part of their
fortresses of the country. Dochula Pass, a spiritual haven by leaving spiritual daily duties,” says Dwaipayan Majumder,
located 10,000 feet above sea level is remnants such as foot or hand prints group head - fiction, Zee Sarthak.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 29


Molten Shadows of Palermo

The quiet and shadowy lanes of Palermo in Sicily are ideal for strolling as
every twist and turn offers something new and vivid, which brings out the
authentic feeling of a Sicilian way of life.

Debanjali Biswas

am in Palermo, ungraciously biting wonder where fully costumed corpses powers for the simple gift of food.
into some Cannoli. I put my journal hang on the wall, some of their faces
down and excitedly asked the peeling away and yet some wearing A Place of Empires
American with whom I was sharing laces and silks across centuries. The Palermo sits on the north shore of
my table on this bustling Sicilian astounding gallery were looked Sicily where many empires rose and fell.
morning, “What word connects a long- after by the Capuchin friars since Greeks, Carthaginians, Phoenicians,
tailed monkey, a frothy beverage and 16th century and tunnels resembled Romans, Normans, Moors, Spaniards,
an order of monks?” He was not in the the cluttered city streets above the and Italians influenced life, cuisine,
mood for word games. We both stared ground. That afternoon, I met death in architecture and Palermo built more
out over Via Giuseppe Pitrè, a road many shapes and skeletons, peering at new walls leaving behind ruins. A
named after a renowned folklorist- a void or possibly us. A man moaned, unique example of Arab and Norman
physician. I knew if we had walked on most stopped talking completely, so architecture is the tiny church of San
this road, turned left and stopped in profound was the effect of such an Cataldo on Piazza Bellini, from 1160.
front of a yellow building, we would experience. The bare stone interiors were never
know the answer. It was Capuchin, Later in the evening I strolled decorated because the founder Maio of
named after the Franciscan Order into Pasticceria Capello for a cestino Bari was assassinated. For many years,
of Friars Minor Capuchin – it lent its con fragoline - a tart with cream and the church served as a post office. The
name to a range of south and central strawberry and tried a settevelli – a three crimson domes on the top are
American monkeys and one of the seven layered hazelnut cake. I decided reminiscent of the Arab influence in
most popular drink in the world, the that was dinner. The shop near my the region. In contrast, the church of La
cappuccino. hostel was still open with locals sitting Martorana next door founded by the
The building, where I later went in on the sidewalk smoking cigarettes Greek admiral George of Antioch was
the afternoon, had catacombs that and eating arancino. I sat well into an amalgamation of Baroque, Byzantine
housed thousands of embalmed figures the summer night, an arancino filled and Romanesque traditions; it belongs
of humans or mummies. This was with ragu sauce, peas and mozzarella to a diocese of Albanian communities of
both a site of pilgrimage and macabre clasped in my palms, thanking unseen Sicily and carries inscriptions in Arabic

30 India Outbound July-August 2018


From left to right: Murals at the Cappella Palatina; Picturesque alleys; Vibrant local markets

on the pillars – a cohesion of styles! was a large hall generously gilded in

The interior cupola gleams in gold and
Sicilian history lives gold - stones and ceramic stacked to
colour with frescoes from Christian not only in churches shape mosaics of saints, angels and
iconography. kings. This is what magnificence meant
and palaces but in in art, one whole room that was shaped
Of Puppets and Alleys grilled balconies and by Christian patrons and iconography
The day grew warmer and I walked immersed in Fatimid, Mediterranean
towards the old port or La Cala. Boats
layers of desserts and Byzantine techniques and chiselled
and yachts were parked at the Marina, into place by Muslim artisans. It is a
looking like a painting against an mermaids, monks, and warriors. three-nave longitudinal room divided
azure sky. A small lane behind the Stepping out I concluded I was by granite columns; the vaulted roof
Biblioteca led to one of the most famished despite my mind being is carved in wood and painted. Each
fascinating museums I have ever visited. nourished. Next to Villa Garibaldi there saint on the walls is named and every
It was home to many performers from were small restaurants where lunch composition framed in ornamental
Opera dei Pupi or puppets! I had was being prepared. I waited for a design. Under my feet colourful mosaic
grown up with puppets in Kolkata sfincione - made from softened pizza were set in geometrical and floral
where my father and his friends dough, topped with caciocavallo cheese, shapes. The motifs continued from
performed with my grandfather’s anchovies, chopped tomatoes and a Christ’s life to warrior saints illustrating
puppet theatre. As I walked through small schiacciata or squashed bread the various protectors of the island
the corridors of the museum, I could packed with ground meat and flavoured of Sicily.
almost touch my childhood. with fennel. Through the high Italian arches,
Sicilian marionettes were popular I took a long winding walk through people hurry home. My rucksack
among the working classes. Stories the alleys that went out of Via Vittorio and I trudge towards the station to
were based on medieval literature Emanuele. Buildings had a strange board a bus to Catania. Behind me,
and the singing embedded in French symmetry to them crowded with Palermo readies itself for the evening,
troubadour traditions, which were doors and windows. Billowing laundry embracing its gilded past as well as
performed in front of hand-painted, were hung out to dry, their swooshing the shadows.
intricate scenes. The research team of adding sound to the otherwise quiet
the museum have painstakingly put neighbourhoods. Occasionally children
How to Reach
together information and gathered ran past, or someone asked for money A connecting flight to Palermo can be taken from
marionettes not only from Palermo, and retreated. There were signs of international airports in major cities like Mumbai,
Catania and Napoli but also Vietnamese isolation and decay - the long shadows Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru or Ahemdabad.
water puppets, Burmese wire puppets, reminded me of the grasp the Cosa
shadow figures from India, and many Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia had on Where to Stay
others from Congo, Mali, Japan and Palermo, and I knew the Mafiosi was not
Palermo, being the capital of Sicily, has a number
Java. In one room, two scenes from two completely gone. of hotels and B&Bs to choose from. On the
operas have been strung up, as if a show My status as a postgraduate luxurious side they have palaces turned to hotels
could begin any minute. On another researcher in the arts granted me a free and various boutique hotels; for the budget-
floor, rows of string marionettes hang ticket to Cappella Palatina, a chapel in friendly, they have many B&Bs that do not
from the ceiling creating a labyrinth of the Norman King Roger’s palace. This compromise on style or views.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 31


Descend on
Disneyland Paris
In a bid to attract more tourists,
Disneyland Paris has unveiled a
new show ‘Marvel: Super Heroes
United’. The special spectacle
will be staged at Walt Disney
Studios Park, Paris from June 10
to September 30.
Christine Nayagam

hrills are never too far away Disney Parks and Resorts. park as compared to about just three
in an entertainment park, The 20-minute show at the Walt years ago when I first visited Disneyland
especially one like Disneyland; Disney Studios’ theatre did not Paris with my family,” adds Kaul. Indians,
but even for regulars at disappoint action lovers. Every character besides Chinese tourists, are a key focus
Disneyland Paris, the evening had its moment of glory where they of several French and Parisian tourism
of June 9 was a special one. For they, could demonstrate their superpowers. players, with a healthy double digit
along with over 150 leading media The entire show revolves around ‘unity’ growth in arrivals from India for over a
and tourism influencers from around and fans cheered as they joined hands decade now.
the world, witnessed a spectacle with to fight together against the enemy. “For any Indian family visiting Paris
leading superheroes – Captain America, “It’s almost like watching a movie but or Europe, Disneyland is a mandatory
Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Black Widow, here the characters are real and the stop over. The experience is unlike any
Star-Lord and Gamora – rappelling down special effects are making it feel like other park, and the new marvel show
from a helicopter, making a grand entry we have really entered their world! I am and themed attractions will certainly
amongst the thousands of spectators, very fortunate to be here to witness the attract more Indians as we have millions
who screamed with joy. premiere,” says Nitibha Kaul, ex-Big Boss of Marvel fans and it keeps growing,”
“This is the first time ever that we participant-turned-lifestyle-and-travel says Amit Kishore, co-founder of Think
have all Marvel superheroes united and influencer. Kaul and India Outbound were Strawberries, a travel representation
we are extremely happy to inaugurate the only two Indian influencers and company in India that promotes
this at Disneyland Paris,” said Catherine media present at the grand opening. Disneyland Paris in India.
Powel, president of Disneyland Paris The entire area around the Grand Disneyland Paris is celebrating its
Parks and Resort. Theatre has been decorated with giant 25th anniversary this year and the
The opening of the summer show was statues of Incredible Hulk, Black Panther Marvel show comes as part of a greater
organised a few weeks after the release and Iron Man. To make the experience project of extending the Walt Disney
of the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe more interactive, two stages have been Studio Park. The show at the grand
(MCU) franchise’s film, Avengers: Infinity added for live, open air performances. theatre is a seasonal event, but the
War, which shattered the box office The spectacle has been made even more Marvel universe is meant to stay at
records around the world and even in thrilling by Tony Stark’s revolutionary Disney.
India. This is the first Hollywood film to invention, an ‘Arc Reactor’ that “We will soon have a unique roller
rake in over INR 2 billion in box offices in generates green energy and a stage coaster attraction related to Marvel
India, which made India one of the top that offers dancing sessions with the and our current New York Hotel that
five markets for the film. Guardians of the Galaxy. welcomes park visitors will also be
“The Marvel stories and superheroes With over 320 million visits since renovated to become the first Marvel
attract all ages from a five-year-old to a its creation in 1992, Disneyland Paris Hotel in the world that showcases the
75-year-old. It is cutting across genders, is Europe’s leading tourist destination world of the Avengers, Spider-Man and
boundaries and age-groups. The movies and boasts two spectacular theme other superheroes. We are very excited
have certainly created a buzz and the parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney about the project and we hope that it
show comes at a timely moment," says Studios Park) and seven themed Disney will start rolling out in 2021,” says Christi
Ryan Gallego, senior project manager at hotels. “It was quite surprising and Erwin-Donnan, communication director
Marvel Themed Entertainment for Walt exciting to see so many Indians in the at Disneyland Paris.

32 India Outbound July-August 2018


Angkor Wat
A Genius of Khmer Art
The beautiful Angkor Wat temple is considered to be a symbolic
representation of Hindu cosmology. The place is a major site exemplifying
religious, cultural and symbolic values, and has rich architectural,
archaeological and artistic significance.

Varsha Singh

ngkor Wat, the largest The temple is at the top of the high moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was
religious monument classical style of Khmer architecture. cared for by Buddhist monks. The place
in the world, is the The monument has become a symbol is the largest Hindu temple complex in
ultimate expression of of Cambodia and a national pride thus the world. Prior to this time the temple
Khmer genius. It is one appearing on its national flag. It is was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara
of the most famous and important also the country’s major attraction Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the title of
archaeological sites in south-east Asia. for tourism. its founder.
Roughly constructed between 1113 AD The name Angkor Wat means ‘City
and 1150 AD in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Temple’; Angkor is a vernacular form of Grandeur & Harmony
the historical site is dedicated to the the word nokor, which comes from the The Cambodia Tourism website
Hindu God Vishnu. The monument was Sanskrit word nagar. Wat is the Khmer describes that the architecture in
built by King Suryavarman II as his state form of the Pali word vatthu, meaning Angkor Wat combines two basic plans
temple and capital city. As the best- ‘temple grounds’, which was supposedly of Khmer temple architecture - the
preserved temple at the site, it is the added to the then capital city Angkor temple mountain and the later galleried
only one to have remained a significant when it became a Theravada Buddhist temple, based on early south Indian
religious centre since its foundation monument, most likely in the 16th Hindu architecture. It is designed to
– first Hindu and then Buddhist. century. After 1432 when the capital represent Mount Meru, home of devas

34 India Outbound July-August 2018


Left: An aerial view of Angkor Wat temple; Top right: Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom; Bottom right: No visit to Cambodia is complete without attending its
traditional dance - Apsara Khmer

(gods), within a moat and an outer wall bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat, representing architecture of the ruins of the temple,
that is 3.6 kilometres long are three eight different Hindu stories. which is magnificent; and also to be a
rectangular galleries, each raised above The most important story part of the enriching history and stories
the next. At the centre of the temple represented at Angkor Wat is the that have been left behind and will
stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike samudra manthan (churning of ocean), continue to stay as a legacy is a unique
most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat a story about the victory of good over experience,” adds Roy.
is oriented to the west; scholars are evil. In the story that is depicted on the It is said of the architecture of
divided as to the significance of this. wall, 88 devas are fighting 92 asuras Angkor Wat that it is a miniature
The temple is admired for the grandeur (demons) in order to reclaim order and replica of the universe in stone and
and harmony of the architecture, power for the gods who have lost the represents an earthly model of the
its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the battle. Therefore to reclaim peace, cosmic world. The central tower rises
numerous devatas (gods) adorning the elixir of immortality, amrit (nectar) from the monument, symbolising the
its walls. needs to be released from the Earth; mythical mountain, Meru, situated at
“This is a temple that is not only but the only way for the elixir to be the centre of the universe. The five
unique in its architecture but also its released is for the gods and demons towers correspond to the peaks of
vast history. The thing that caught my to first work together. Both sides are Meru and the outer wall corresponds
eyes more that the temple was the aware that once the amrit is released to the mountains at the edge of the
fact that it was built as a Vishnu temple there will be a fierce battle to attain world, whereas the surrounding moat
for Hindus and later transformed for it. Several events happen while the represents the oceans beyond.
Buddhists, and thus has an architecture samudra manthan (churning of ocean) “The Angkor Wat temple located
that is a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist takes place, one being the birth of in the Siem Reap province is the most
styles. The temple was made 2,500 apsaras (celestial maidens) who are important archaeological site in
years ago with huge sandstone blocks carved in relief throughout Angkor south-east Asia. Visitors also come
and the most surprising thing is that Wat. Once the amrit is released, Indra (a here for the experience of adventure
back in those days the blocks were Vedic deity in Hinduism) descends from with activities like trekking, riding an
brought on rafts all the way from heaven to catch it and save the world elephant and kayaking along the river
Phnom Kulen mountain to the temple from the destruction of the demons. and also to have an experience with the
compound, which was 50km away, This story has been beautifully depicted local community and the people living
down the Siem Reap river,” says Raktim through the carvings at the cultural site. in the jungles,” Thoura Lor, director of
Roy, managing director of a travel “It has been an intense experience Marketing and Promotion, Cambodia
group based in Kolkata. visiting a place that we have always Tourism, tells India Outbound.
The tourists are often struck by its read about in our history books. It is Known for its rich cultural heritage
imposing grandeur. This place holds a definitely a must-visit, not only because in the most captivating form, this
special place for Hindu architecture as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site magnificent site lures the visitors with
there are 1,200 square metres of carved but also to gaze at the awe-inspiring its bucolic beauty.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 35


The Lava Trails

Treading the Treacherous
While hiking and climbing may set your heart racing, a trip along the volcanic
trails makes for a bright red cherry on top of a challenging cake.

Shalini Dasgupta

Mount Maelifell
Picture a perfectly conical volcano, lusciously green, sitting
majestically on a flat black ash desert. What tourists dub as a surreal
destination, the Maelifell Volcanic tour comes with other equally
fascinating activities. An iconic view is of the huge Mýrdalsjökull
glacier plunging into the black ashes of the Maelifellsandur along
foothills. Mýrdalsjökull is also famous for its glacier park. The
melting of the surrounding glaciers gives rise to small waterways
that crisscross this vast desert adding a vibrant aspect to this
landscape. Most tourists enjoy the journey to Mount Maelifell
Volcano in 4x4 super jeeps, which are specially modified for
the volcanic trail. Another interesting aspect of the trail is the
occurrence of hot springs. The naturally occurring hot springs are
relaxing as one overlooks the vastness of the natural extravaganza
and soaks in the calmness of the surroundings while enjoying a
time-lapse of clouds piercing through a clear sky.

36 India Outbound July-August 2018


This popular volcanic island in Indonesia is located between the larger islands of Sumatra
and Java. The 1883 Krakatoa eruption was devastating and took several lives; and till
today, the active volcanoes of the island are considered to be one of the most dangerous,
thus spiking a boom in tourist interest. While the site itself is heralded for its beauty and
miniscule volcanic happenings, the surrounding rainbow reefs and pristine waters add
to the natural serenity. A visit to Krakatoa can be a day-trip or a two-day-one-night tour
depending on the schedule. Most tour operators also provide a direct pick-up facility from
Jakarta airport by car to take you to the meeting point - Carita Beach. Throughout the
trip, a guide is a must to show you around the destination. It takes about three-and-a-half-
hours from Jakarta to Carita Beach. For those making a quick visit, can hike the volcanic
mountain to reach the peak or snorkel around Rakata Island. Those opting for the more
flexible visit can additionally camp on Krakatoa for the evening and go for hiking later.

Mount Etna
This active volcano in the City of Catania is considered to be the highest active
volcano in Europe, its eruptions and lava flows have always spiked the interest of
scientists and the curiosity of visitors. It is especially popular as a summer destination
wherein hikers engage in visits to the active craters. In winters hikers can enjoy an
array of sports from ski mountaineering to trekking. Adventure junkies can also
enjoy biking in the terrains of Pista Alto Montana. Tourists opting for walking tours
climb along the trails of Etna Park, through forests and fruit orchards, up to higher
altitudes with views of lunar landscapes, centuries’ old lava flows, caves and active
fumaroles. In 2013 Mount Etna was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
for being “one of the most emblematic and active volcanoes in the world and the
most important in activity – since 2,700 years – in Europe”.

United States of America
A volcano that was active as recent as May, Kīlauea is a shield volcano in the Hawaiian
Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of
Hawaii. The Kilauea Volcano tour commences around afternoon, thus giving tourists a
perfectly glowing view of the volcano at sunset, earning it the nickname - The Twilight
Trail. One of the best options for touring the twilight trail is opting for the Kilauea Lava
Glow Tours. This tour starts off with a full afternoon of exploring Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park, highlights, including the Steam Vents, Nahuku Lava Tube, Devastation
Trail, Kilauea Iki Overlook and Jaggar Museum. One will be taken for a walk through
native rainforests, along crater rims and across cooled lava fields. Then, tourists are
taken to the edge of Kilauea Caldera, where they can see the dramatic glow from the
active lava lake within Halemaumau Crater at dusk. The red lava is not visible, but each
evening at dusk, the glow from the lake paints the crater walls and rising steam plume
in gorgeous shades of pink, orange and gold.

Piton de la Fournaise
Reunion Island
The red-hot lava emitting Piton de la Fournaise in Reunion Island is one of the major
attractions of this French territory in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Considered by scientists
as one of the most active volcanoes in the world, every year the volcanic trail witnesses
eager tourists trekking the island to view the waves crashing against the base to the summit
caressed by clouds. Owing to its modest height, hikers can cover the trail by foot and even
have professional photographers by their side to capture the myriad moments throughout
the course of the journey. However, tourists are no longer allowed to walk round the main
crater, known as Dolomieu, since its collapse in 2007 but the alternative routes are equally
breathtaking. One of the best walks is the inside of the Enclos Fouqué, the heart of the volcano
or around the outside. There are also routes starting close to the volcano’s forest path.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 37


Chocolate is more than just a sweet temptation, it has been a part of the Swiss
culture for more than 200 years; this is evident from the many chocolate museums,
special tours and famous chocolate shops that you can visit in Switzerland.

Binita Punwani

he history of chocolates passing through Europe to begin the By the end of the 19th century, Frey
in Switzerland dates processing of chocolates. In the year Brothers, Philippe Suchard, Jean Tobler
back to the 17th century. 1875, Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter and a few others contributed in making
Chocolates weren’t a was the first one to add powdered Switzerland the home of the world’s
delicious confection then. It milk in the grainy solid chocolate, richest and best chocolates.
was merely chewy and gravelly, slowly creating milk chocolates, which is a
becoming unpalatable. huge industry now. In 1879, Rodolphe A Worthy Souvenir
It began in the region of Ticino, Lindt, came up with the process We all have relatives or friends who
located near Switzerland’s southern of conching- a process of mixing visit Switzerland and always get the world
border with Italy - the Swiss used their that is still relevant today in the famous Swiss chocolates as a souvenir.
transit position strategically for goods manufacturing of chocolates. Not just that, there are a number

38 India Outbound July-August 2018



Paris Merveilles
Created and directed by FRANCO DRAGONE
Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris 8e -
T. +33 (0)1 40 76 56 49 -

There are numerous exhibitions, tours, and chocolate tasting events for chocolate lovers in Switzerland

The Most Famous Swiss Chocolates There are factories that

one should not miss
Lindt & Sprüngli: One of the in Bern, Switzerland in 1908. It is a and in some places you
most renowned chocolate brands distinctive triangular shaped milk
throughout the world, Lindt & chocolate including nougat, almonds
can also make your
Sprüngli, or commonly known as and honey. The word Toblerone is a own chocolates
Lindt, has its company headquartered combination of Tobler’s name with
in Kilchberg, Switzerland. Lindt the Italian word torrone (a type of
tempering, making ganache and other
acquired American chocolatier nougat). Toblerone is one of the
things through chocolate workshops
Ghirardelli in the year 1998 as a most famous Swiss chocolates and is
held here.
wholly-owned subsidiary. It acquired exported to many countries.
“We recently visited Switzerland
American candy maker Russel Teuscher: The expert chocolatier
and experienced heaven on Earth. The
Stover in the year 2014, whose Dolf Teuscher created Teuscher
best part about the trip was our visit
brands include Whitman’s chocolate. in the Swiss Alps during the early
to the sweetest place on the paradise:
Lindt has a chocolate exhibit at the 1940s. It is famous worldwide for
The Lindt Swiss chocolate heaven!
Jungfraujoch and a Lindt Chocolate their widely distributed network of
The entire trip would have remained
Experience at the Swiss Museum of stylish chocolate shops located in
incomplete if I had not brought back
Transport in Luzern. New York, Abu Dhabi, Singapore,
the famous Swiss chocolates home.
Cailler: The oldest chocolate Beverly Hills and over 20 locations
Not only does this shop sell chocolates
manufacturer in Switzerland, Cailler throughout the world; although, it
but also exhibits the chocolate-making
is known as one of the world’s has only two stores in Switzerland,
process and history of Lindt in the
finest chocolates. Frigor and Cailler one in Zurich and one in Geneva. The
country of snow. Believe me when
are its brands that are made in the highlight of Teuscher chocolates is
I say that we had the best taste of
company’s factory in Broc. Cailler is that they are made using natural
chocolates and nothing beats Swiss
not widely exported, hence it is not ingredients - no chemicals, additives,
chocolates after all,” says Riddhi Roy,
as famous as Lindt or Toblerone. It or preservatives.
operations manager in a Kolkata based
is available on Amazon, but people Frey: The best-selling and
Travel company.
make it a point to buy it from acclaimed chocolate in Switzerland,
Switzerland has the world’s
Switzerland, whenever they visit, to Frey was started by the Frey
highest per capita rate of chocolate
get the different varieties. It is one of brothers in the year 1887. It was
consumption, that is, 25.6 lbs per year.
the few brands of milk chocolate that later purchased in 1950 by the Swiss
One of the major sources of revenue
is made with slightly condensed milk, supermarket chain Migros. Frey
of the Swiss economy is the chocolate
instead of powdered milk. claims to be the only major brand
industry that is an extremely important
Toblerone: Toblerone was created of chocolate that is solely produced
sector in the food industry. The annual
by Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann within Switzerland.
revenue of chocolate production in
Switzerland is about USD 1.5 billion. The
Swiss produces about 180,000 tonnes
of exhibitions, tours, and chocolate There are chocolate factories that of chocolate per year, of which, about
tastings for visitors who love one should not miss when they visit 39 pc is sold in Switzerland, and the rest
chocolates. “Anything is good if it is Switzerland as there is a provision to 61 pc is sold all over the world.
made of chocolate” - goes a famous create your own version of chocolates. If you are a chocolate lover,
quote by British comedian Jo Brand. Visitors get a chance to learn the art of Switzerland is the ideal place for you.

40 India Outbound July-August 2018

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Find Love Amid Wilderness

With its snow-covered trees, pink sunsets, picturesque hideouts and adorable
reindeers, Finland makes for an ideal ‘Do Not Disturb’
location for honeymooners.

Shikha D

42 India Outbound July-August 2018


very couple has their own Here are some ways you can lose
definition of romance - yourself in the beauty of this ‘Jewel of
something that sparks the the North’ that inspires one and all to
flame and sets the mood. find love amid unspoilt nature.
However, if you are looking
for an ideal balance of contrasting Sleep in a Glass Igloo
experiences, instead of just relaxation What can possibly be more romantic
and downtime, Finland is the place for than snuggling up with your partner in
you. Situated in the slightly overlooked the middle of the Finnish wilderness, all
corner of Europe, bordering Sweden, comfortable, warm and toasty in your
Norway and Russia, Finland is all about private glass igloo, staring up at the
otherworldly experiences that are starry Arctic sky and the incredible reds,
straight out of a dream. With endless greens, purples and blues of the Aurora
stretches of pristine white snow, colder Borealis or Northern Lights? Located
months in the country bring the need in Finnish Lapland, a 15-minute drive
to cuddle with your significant other from the Kittilä airport, glass-ceilinged
for warmth, giving you intimate, quality Levin Iglut igloos rest on the fell slope
time to bond with each other. During and are designed in such a way that
the summer season, it's a completely they won't frost over. Located at an
different picture altogether, painted altitude of about 340 metres, these
with all imaginable shades of green domed igloos offer understated luxury
and blue. The forested landscape is amid breathtaking, rugged landscapes.
dotted with patches of glittering water. Here, winter lasts for half the year and
In fact, the lakes are so numerous that you can often see the Northern Lights
they have earned Finland the nickname on clear nights. At their restaurant
‘the land of a thousand lakes’. Warmer Aurora Sky, consider sampling some
months are the perfect time to enjoy Scandinavian flavours with a European
vibrant cityscapes and electrifying twist.
urban scenes; appreciate world- Tip: Though it's impossible to predict
renowned Finnish design, music, and if you will actually witness the Northern
architecture; enjoy a beer at one of the Lights on a particular day, the bright,
quirky bars in the capital city of Helsinki; entrancing lights of the Aurora are
smell the fragrance of blooming typically visible on cold, cloudless days
flowers; and pick freshest berries from during the winter months of November
the forests. to March. You can also try putting

From left to right: Admire the starry Arctic sky from your very own glass igloo; Experience a traditional Finnish sauna session with your partner; In Finland, enjoy
nature’s most spectacular light show - the Aurora Borealis

July-August 2018 India Outbound 43


Clockwise from top left: Northern Lights appear on more than 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland; Combat extreme winter temperatures with a cup of hot chocolate
along with toasted marshmallows; Go berry picking to uncover delicious, healthy forest treats; Reindeer Stew is a must have

your faith in a downloadable app that starts to warm up. Between steams, surprised to see these friendly dogs
promises to sound the alarm when the crack open a bottle of cold beer, have wagging their tails and barking at you
lights spring into view. a wonderful conversation with your enthusiastically. Yes, these sled dogs
partner, warm-up around a fireplace are used to the Arctic outdoors and
Let Traditional Finnish Sauna or cover yourself with a fresh bunch are doing what they love to do the
Rejuvenate You of birch leaves to soften your skin. most - going out on a mushing trip and
As the outside temperatures The idea is to leave feeling relaxed making a lot of noise before they get
plummet below zero, leave your and rejuvenated! going. You can steer your own sledge
inhibitions behind, strip-off, and sweat Tip: Located at Hernesaarenranta 4, and change drivers halfway through the
it out in a dimly-lit, pine-clad room Helsinki, Löyly offers public saunas, a journey. As you ride on the 12kms silent,
together. Let the smoke softly envelope traditional smoke sauna and a wood- snowy, remote route, make sure to take
your body and the pleasant fragrance of burning sauna - all under one roof. The a deep breath and take in the beautiful
birch transport your mind to the forest. breathtaking seashore setting only adds surroundings. The experience will be
For Finns, the most quintessential to the sauna bathing experience. etched in your memory for a long time!
way to combat the frosty sub-zero After experiencing the thrill, get
temperatures is the löyly (meaning the Befriend Huskies and Reindeers cosy by an open fire, sip on a glass of
steam that emanates when you throw The Arctic has a vast array of animal comforting, hot berry juice or spend
water on hot stones in a sauna). species not found anywhere else on some time playing with your huskies.
Finland invented the sauna and, Earth. When here, visit a local reindeer Situated right by the Arctic Circle,
surely, nobody does it better. Among farm where you can meet the young the ‘official’ residence of Santa Claus,
a population of 5.4 million, there are owners who are happy to give you Rovaniemi makes for a great base to
3.3 million saunas; most houses in the a sneak-peak into the local life of organise various activities and trips with
country have an in-built sauna. Here, reindeer herders. The reindeers are the Arctic animals. Moreover, it boasts
you can still find people who were born semi-domesticated and every animal of an eclectic array of museums and
in the sauna. This says how essential is owned by a herder. In northern ample riverside shelters that can be
sauna is to Finnish culture and national Lapland, reindeer husbandry is still a freely used to roast sausages over an
identity. Your sauna session can be major source of income for many. You open fire or enjoy other outdoor snacks.
followed by a joyous leap into an icy can feed the reindeers, pat them and Dominated by Jätkänkynttilä Bridge, the
lake. It might sound shocking but take play with them before harnessing one river landscape makes for an impressive
the plunge together. Quite simply, the and letting it pull you through eerily sight when illuminated at night.
secret of dipping into icy water lies in beautiful, snow-covered Lappish forest. When in Rovaniemi, what you truly
the feeling that surges through your Looking for something a bit more can't miss is meeting Santa; and for your
body once you get out of the water... adventurous? Go dashing across loved ones back home, you can also
as soon as you’re back on dry land, the fells with your team of huskies send a mail stamped with the special
your circulation kicks in and your body who clearly adore running. Don't be Arctic Circle postmark. Have it delivered

44 India Outbound July-August 2018


Seasons in Finland
For a great part of the year, Finland is covered
in frost and snow. The snow season begins
in November and lasts at least until May.
Summer roughly lasts from June to August.
Summer is the season of the midnight sun,
when the nights are bright. In Lapland, the sun
never sets for two months, from June to July.
Summer ends with autumnal reds, browns and
yellows that are especially beautiful on the
fells of Lapland.

Lapland in Finland
Lapland is Finland's sparsely-populated
northern-most region. It's known for its
untouched subarctic wilderness, ski resorts
and the magical Northern Lights. Also known
for its extremes – ‘night-less’ nights in the
summer, when the sun does not sink beneath
the horizon at all, and short days in the winter,
when the period of darkness prevails.

Left: The luxurious and comfortable interiors of glass-ceilinged Levin Iglut igloos; Right: Enjoy a reindeer
sleigh ride in a snowy forest to experience the Arctic wilderness

right away or just before Christmas! they often feel like they can have the
slopes pretty much to themselves.
Ski Through Silvery Forests There's zero waiting time at the lifts,
For many Finnish couples, escaping miles of empty runs, boundless fresh
to nature is the perfect way to relax powder and spacious mountaintop Capital
and celebrate their new life together. bars! Other ways to spend time amid Cities Kolari
So, why not do it their way? If you're wilderness are snowmobiling, ice
an active duo, think about kayaking, fishing, snowshoeing, horse trekking Rovaniemi

canoeing, or hiking in one of the and ice karting. Oulu

national parks during summer months. When you are getting an opportunity
There are ample marked trails that to breathe the cleanest air in the FINLAND
make it easy for inexperienced hikers inhabited world, you have to get out
to explore parks, while the wilderness and make the most of it. On sunny days, Savonlinna
areas are perfect for longer and more the air visibly sparkles! Go around the
demanding hikes. To appreciate nature, compact town centre for everything Helsinki

spend a night in one of the huts and from Lappish delicacies, music and
you can observe bears and elks in their souvenirs to outdoor rental clothing How to Reach
very own surroundings, deep inside and equipment. You can also head to
Finnair offers direct flights from New Delhi to
the forest. King Crab House for delicious Arctic
Helsinki-Vantaa international airport. Kittilä
Winter has its own charm as snow seafood. Every fish and crab served
airport is a 15-minute drive away from Levi's
blankets the pines and lakes freeze here is brought straight from the Arctic
mountain village. Helsinki-Kittilä flights run
over. The best way to banish the frosty Sea. Reindeer stew, seafood chowder all year round, almost daily during the winter
sub-zero temperatures is to involve and freshly-baked, homemade bread season.
yourself in physical exercise. With are the must-tries! Nili-Poro, popular
ski runs that plunge into beautiful for its reindeer specialties, is another Where to Stay
woodlands encased in snow, the favourite among locals and visitors.
European resort of Levi is no less than Want to spend some time indoors? Looking for a luxury experience in the heart of
Finland? Hotel Kämp is the oldest and the first
a fantasy land you may have envisioned Plan a visit to the Christmas-themed
luxury hotel in Finland. Since 1887, it has hosted
through fables. You may need some Tonttula Elves Hideaway, your gateway
many prominent figures in Finnish culture,
extra layers as soon as you step off to the fairytale land and the world of science, and economy, as well as important
the plane on the icy runway at Kittilä ancient beliefs. Try your hand at making visitors from abroad. When here, experience
airport. The piste of Levi are a favourite gingerbread and enjoy the therapeutic 19th-century luxury in a historic setting and
among hottest alpine stars as well as smell of baking or relax in a 100-year- browse through beautiful artwork that adorns
amateur skiers and snowboarders as old log sauna by the Ounasjoki River.. the hotel's rooms, hallways and lobbies.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 45


A Cultural Mosaic
in the Mediterranean
Visiting a country, to a large extent, is about understanding its culture.
Live like the locals, eat like them and enjoy like them. With a large
rural and hilly area, Cyprus is indeed best discovered through its
villages. Here is a tour depicting the art de vivre and ambience of a
few villages on the island.

Text & Photos: Christine Nayagam

ith almost 10,000 years of permanently instilling the island’s Greek roots.
recorded history, Cyprus is Many other cultures followed thereafter, including
a small island situated at that of the Egyptians, Romans, Ottomans and
the intersection of three British, who all left behind visible remnants of
continents – Europe, Asia their passage, and have created a mosaic of
and Africa. As a consequence it has played a different cultures.
strategic role since the antiquity – notably for With the Troodos Mountains in the background,
commerce. Its prehistoric inhabitants were joined we head toward the villages of Lemesos. The
3,500 years ago by the Mycenaean Greeks, who region is also known for its winemaking as
introduced and established their civilisation, thus testified by the large vineyards. Several of its

July-August 2018 India Outbound 47


1 2

4 5
Just like in India,
everywhere in
Cyprus you’ll
find a reference 6
to god
churches also figure on the UNESCO
World Heritage list and indeed most of
them are pretty well conserved.
Just like in India, everywhere in
Cyprus you’ll find a reference to god
in the form of a statue, a church, a
painting, etc. Greek Cypriots, who
represent the island’s largest ethno-
linguistic community, are mainly Eastern
Orthodox Christians. The Orthodox
Church is one of the three main
Christian groups, the other two being
the Roman Catholic and Protestant.
At a bend, in the village of

48 India Outbound July-August 2018


7 8

1. Baking with the locals wearing traditional attire in

Choirokoita village
2. The byzantine church of Ayios Nikolaus tis Segis is a
UNESCO World Heritage site
3. An old man sunbathing on the terrace of a café
4, 5, 6. The Orthodox Church is one of the three main
Christian groups
7. Pretty old routes in Choirokoita
8. Traditional breads baked in the village oven

July-August 2018 India Outbound 49


If you want to
know a country
head towards
its villages
2 Choirokoitia, I was enchanted by
the unique Mediterranean style,
architecture and the art de vivre. The
houses and their gardens are pretty
and we also noticed that most of the
houses were not locked, displaying
a complete faith in their safety and
Hanging on the doors of most of
the houses, we see braids of garlic,
pretty much like a decoration. Garlic is
believed to ward off demons and evil
Often added at the entrance to
every house is the ‘Evil Eye’. The belief
was popular in ancient Greece and
Rome and is also commonly found in
Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and
Christian cultures. The idea is that if
you act in such a way that people begin

3 4

50 India Outbound July-August 2018


1. The houses are painted in vivid colours,
especially blue
2. Villages are handicraft hubs for textile, wood
and silver work
3. Braid of garlic on a door
4. The local barber shop
5 5. The rural way of life
6. An old machine used to make olive oil
7. Traditional cutlery made of silver
8 8. Old black and white portraits of villagers
9. Basketry made traditionally
10. Almost all villagers have ducks and chicken
at home

to envy you, their thoughts of envy will

bring about the ‘evil eye’ and begin to
bring misfortune into your life.
With their authentic local products,
9 these villages are the perfect place
to sample the local gastronomy. We
tried baking flaounes, the traditional
cheese-filled pastry prepared for Easter
by the Christian Orthodox. It is also a
traditional pastry consumed by Muslim
Turkish Cypriots during Ramadan.
The owner of the cafe says the
photograph is of his grandparents and
family - they are wearing traditional
dresses. People here live simple but
peaceful lives. Most of the villagers say
that they would never like to migrate to
10 cities for all the gold in the world.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 51



Although Rotterdam is built on trade, it has great museums and art
galleries with many Dutch architectural gems that have enriched its
landscape. Being the second largest city of the Netherlands, it offers
a plethora of attractions in architecture, interesting parks and spaces,
art, shopping and food, making this large port city worth a trip.

Smiti Nandi

Landscape of Museums, Art & Trade and Transport

Architectural Delight

After the Second World War, the rebuilt modern

architectural gems of Rotterdam include
buildings with incredible cantilevers thrusting
out in all directions - like a game of architectural
misfits. The Wilhelminakade along river Meuse
is a famous pier in Rotterdam, which has the
latest sustainable techniques and designs. De
Rotterdam, a 44-storey building was awarded
the ‘best tall building in Europe’ in 2014.
Euromast, the highest tower in Rotterdam,
with its 100m height is great for abseiling.
Rotterdam’s city hall in Coolsingel expresses
the history of the port of Rotterdam through
several sculptures and images. The cube houses Being the hub of trade and transport,
with their 45-degree asymmetric, tilted, cube Rotterdam Transport Company runs buses,
roofs, which were designed by Piet Blom, make trams, and metros. Rental taxis and bikes are
for an interesting experience. The Boijmans also an economical way to roam around the city.
Van Beuningen Museum, one of the top art One can travel for a day in EUR 7, EUR 10.50
museums, in Museumpark displays field of arts, for two days and EUR 14 for three days. Being
designs and a collection of drawings of Dutch a port city, water based transports like taxis,
and European art. buses, and ferries offer quick services. On World
Port Days, September 7- 9, Rotterdammers
pay homage to their port, with boat parades,
fireworks, naval activities, ship tours,
demonstrations, exhibitions and celebrate at
trendy bars. Cruise Ship ‘De Rotterdam’ is the
‘Grande Dame’ of Rotterdam that signifies
Dutch craftsmanship and is the biggest
passenger ship that gives a complete tour of
Rotterdam. One can experience the authentic
real-life impression of life aboard ship by visiting
the bow, bridge, wheelhouse, sports decks,
cards room, radio room and captain’s cabin.

52 India Outbound July-August 2018


Dutch Tulips & Windmills

More than seven million tulip bulbs bloom in the months of

April and May at Keukenhof lies in Lisse, between Amsterdam
and the Hauge. The largest spring flower park has a
mesmerising collection of blooming tulips, daffodils, orchids,
hyacinths, roses, irises, lilies, etc. These 32 hectares of land is
also a great source of herbs. Rotterdam is also known for its
historic Dutch windmills. One of the most iconic attractions
in the Netherlands is a windmill in a polder. Kinderdijk, a
village east of Rotterdam has 19 mills that were built in 1740
having a complex water management system including dykes,
reservoirs and pumping stations.

Shop Till You Drop Food Safari in Rotterdam

Rotterdam offers great places to go

shopping - from high-end luxury goods to
local crafts and souvenirs. The Nieuwe Markt
and Meent are famous markets that start
close to Central Station and lead to the Dam
Square. It is occupied by shops dedicated
to clothing, sportswear, music and gift
shops. The Oude Binnenweg and Nieuwe
Binnenweg offer antiques, old record
stores, fashion boutiques, interior design
stores, cafés and restaurants. The streets
Van Oldenbarneveldtstraat and Witte de
Withstraat have shops like Van Dijk and
SHPPR that offer high-end fashion, while Rotterdam’s culinary scene is as diverse as the
the shopping mall De Bijenkorf provides city itself. Discover Spanish, French, Italian,
an exceptional shopping experience. The Chinese and even Surinamese cuisine at
Alexandrium is one of the best shopping Markthal, which is considered to be the holy
areas, while Blaak Markt is an excellent ground for food in Rotterdam. Markthal is
street shopping site for clothes, food and the first indoor food market in Holland with
wonderful displays of flowers. impressive interiors, 96 fresh produce units, 15
food shops and eight restaurants. The market
attracts 4.5-7 million visitors a year. The recent
revival of farmers’ market Fenix Food Factory
in Katendrecht celebrates the efforts of local
producers of vegetables, cheese, cider, craft
beer, etc. One can enjoy artisanal food and drinks
like beer from Kaapse Brouwers, cheese from
Booij Kaasmakers, meat from Firma Bijten, bread
from Jordy’s Bakery and fruits and vegetables
from Rechtstreex. Witte de Withstraat, a big
outdoor café terrace, is one of Rotterdam’s
hottest restaurants that use local ingredients to
offer innovative dishes like tomato and cucumber
with roasted tomato foam.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 53


Buenos Aires
An Assorted
French and Italian style buildings,
along with colourful streets set Buenos
Aires apart from any other metropolis
around the world. A tango session
at the end of street or a steak party
at another end, further hint at how
exotic and exciting this city really
is and how it can offer an assorted
holiday experience.

Surbhi Kapila

diverse country in terms me over. Amid all the luxury offerings, other city around the world, offering
of landscapes, history, the city's heritage that is evident in everything from musicals to ballet and
culture, tradition, its beautiful architecture, added a comedy to circuses.
food and modern different charm," shares Medha Sampat, Part of the city's cultural and
offerings, Argentina is an director, Knack Marketing in Mumbai. modern offerings also include old
assortment of a destination in South bookstores and new cultural centres;
America. Its capital Buenos Aires, the An à La Carte Place museums and art galleries; handicraft
first point of entry into the country, "Your mind, your body and your fairs and modern shopping centres;
has an authentic Latin vibe clubbed courage can take you to far off places historical coffee houses and bars
with an upbeat rhythm, which flows in Buenos Aires. Be bold, be innovative featuring tango and milonga shows;
through this metropolitan, making it and you will be able to create an discos and pubs with international
perfect for various travellers. electrifying holiday experience," music; multi-cuisine restaurants;
Buenos Aires comprises of the says Sampat. From cultural tours to casinos; and venues to witness the
Province and the Autonomous City clubbing, the city's offerings are all most passionate of football games.
of Buenos Aires. Its picture-perfect assorted after all. Most football fans throng to The
old neighbourhoods are dotted For those on a cultural expedition, La Bombonera stadium. The stadium
with romantic restaurants and the Buenos Aires is home to the Teatro is famous for its unusual ‘D’ shape and
city boasts of a thumping nightlife. Colon or the Colón Theatre, one of steep sides, giving it great acoustics.
Cafes, bars, and nightclubs in a Latin the most well-known opera houses in Of course, trips to stadiums to watch
environment are a treat, catching the the world. Its history, acoustics and matches can be very lively and exciting.
fancies of tourists with eclectic tastes. architectural features share rank with However, if you are not a sports
This huge capital is in fact known the likes of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, enthusiast and would rather spend a
for its wide cultural and recreational the Paris Opera House, Vienna State day strolling and shopping about, head
offerings, which range from art hubs to Opera, the Royal Opera House in to La Boca.
discos and pubs. London, and the Metropolitan Opera Buenos Aires' open-air ‘museum’,
"Buenos Aires offers a majestic mix House in New York. It is a place you the La Boca is famous for its brightly
of elements that will totally consume can look forward to for a fancy and coloured houses and tango. You can
you. From my first moment there I felt glamorous evening. But if you are casual stroll about the place on your own
an energy that charged me up. The in style, small experimental theatres - or opt for a walking tour. La Boca
scenery, luxury hotels, gourmet meals most of them located on Corrientes is an ideal place to visit during the
alongside tango performances, fine Avenue - are a great option. There are day and have lunch in the pleasant
wines and Argentina’s hospitality won over 280 theatres, more than in any surroundings. For a more thrilling and

54 India Outbound July-August 2018


(Clockwise from left): The Congressional Plaza; Recoleta Cemetery; The D-shaped football stadium; People performing tango; San Telmo Market

eccentric experience however, head to tango lessons at some cafes, making for
Shopping: Whether it’s quality
the Recoleta Cemetery! a jolly start to one's evening. This can
leather goods, bargain antiques
As odd as it might come across, the be followed by grand dinners coupled
or souvenir football shirts, there is
Recoleta Cemetery is a popular tourist with Malbec or Bonarda wine at the
no shortage of shopping options
spot in Buenos Aires, attracting visitors tanguerías (tango houses). In Buenos
in Buenos Aires. San Telmo is the
from all over the world, who come here Aires, dinner is late and so is bedtime.
best for antiques, souvenirs and
to understand the local cultural norms After dinner (often ending after
vintage clothing and Palermo Soho
and photograph its architecturally midnight) people head out for a drink,
for the latest trends in fashion and
creative tombs! and then hit the nightclubs around
furniture design. Retiro is ideal
For those who would like to keep 3:00am.
for quality leather products while
it typically touristy, other than the Palermo is the city’s trendiest
Recoleta for high-end boutique
traditional and culturally significant gastronomic centre, but one can find
and malls. The other main shopping
spots, a glimpse of the various more traditional cafes and eateries
areas are: Florida Street and Santa
monuments can be an enticing and in the central neighbourhoods and
Fe Avenue, among others.
knowledgeable experience. San Telmo; with more high-end and
Quick getaways near Buenos
Tourists often head to La Casa contemporary options in Recoleta and
Aires: For a countryside experience,
Rosada or the Pink House. It is the Puerto Madero. Grilled steaks are a
visit the estancias - large cattle
executive mansion and office of the speciality and you can find parrilla or a
ranches. A famous town for such a
President of Argentina and is famous steakhouse in practically every corner.
visit is San Antonio de Arco, which is
for its Presidential balcony. Palacio del
around 120kms from Buenos Aires
Congreso, the Palace of the Argentine How to Reach
and can be reached by road within
National Congress is another political
two hours. You can travel via the Middle East or the
monument worth seeing. Built in a
About 25kms from Buenos European carriers. Direct flights from New
neoclassical style, largely made of white
Aires is Tigre, a laid-back city on an Delhi and Mumbai head to the capital city of
marble with elaborately furnished
island in the Paraná River Delta. Argentina.
interiors, it is crowned by a bronze
Its surrounding delta region is a Commute: Buenos Aires is designed in a grid
plated dome, now weathered down to a format or blocks, making it easy to get around
popular weekend getaway and can
green colour. and find one's way even on foot! Bicycle lanes
be easily reached by bus or train.
and pedestrian walkways in the city are a good
The town sits on an island created
Cafe and Culture option. The city has a large public transport
by several small streams and rivers.
It takes two to tango and for a real network of taxis and buses. Locally known as
All along the shoreline are signs
taste of the dance - a trip to Argentina bondis, buses are the cheapest way of getting
of water-related activities such as around Buenos Aires. The underground train
is a must. With this energetic dance
kayaking, wakeboarding, canoeing network subte is the oldest and the quickest way
form, the country has given perhaps
and sculling. People could visit to get around.
its most precious cultural asset to the
the naval museum, which has a
world. Regarded as one of the most
sensual dance forms, bustling with
collection of model ships, dine by Where to stay
the riverside, or rent a boat and
energy, tango can be enjoyed and even There are over 480 hotels ranging from B&Bs to
cruise the private canals.
learned by visitors. Tourists can take luxury hotels.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 55


Dresden, Saxony
A Trip Down Museum Lane
Historically speaking, Saxony was perhaps one of the wealthiest states in
Germany before the Second World War, while Dresden was the richest city
and centre for art and culture. There are hundreds of museums in Dresden,
but during our visit we found that some of the museums were out of the
ordinary, which helped us understand Saxonians better.

Text & photos:

Nisha Jha & Vasudevan Raghavachari

e are not museum culture of Saxonians, then and now, their quality, aesthetics and originality
people per se. than the usual museums. suffered. Multiple companies were
However, during our merged to form a single entity to
100 days in Europe we Glashütte Original Watch Factory and further enforce common socialistic
had our fair share of Museum objectives.
museums. Hidden amongst them were If Saxony had not gone the Only after unification in the early
a few museums that are unique in their communist way, the Swiss watch nineties watchmaking was privatised.
own way and quite unusual. companies would have faced a And thus, Glashütte Original was born.
Saxony, Germany, is often called, tough competition from Glashütte, We were greeted with gongs
amongst other things, the ‘museum a small town in Saxony where every from a grand grandfather clock,
state’ and more lately the ‘state of the household was a watch factory - such when we entered the museum that
arts’! There are hundreds of museums was the workmanship of Glashütte looked like a mansion from outside
catering to various types of arts, like watchmakers. but used to be the school for
painting, sculptures, music and so on. During the communist era, however, watchmakers. We were awed by
Fact of the matter is, visits to the watch makers were forced to rooms after rooms, floors after floors
these unique museums give you a produce low cost, assembly-like of watches and clocks of exquisite
better understanding of the life and watches for the masses and slowly designs right from their humble

July-August 2018 India Outbound 57


Clockwise from top left: The German Watch Museum; The Museum of Military History; Stasi Prison; Terra Mineralia Museum; The Nutcracker Toy Museum;
Ore Mountain Museum

beginning in 1843 to the current times. Saxony, the ‘museum Most houses are adorned with
Glashütte also started attracting the Seiffen wooden creation of the
young apprentices to learn the skills state’ hosts hundreds angel and the miner, depicting the
of watchmaking. In WW2 it was largely of museums catering local ethos.
unaffected until the end of war, when Once upon a time there used to be
it was bombed with extensive damage to arts like painting, a thriving silver and tin mining industry
to life and property. If not for the grit
of the people, the watchmaking here
sculptures, music, etc. near the town of Seiffen. Seiffen also
had a rich Christmas tradition and the
would have been a thing of past. They bordering on comic. miners used to create wooden toys
decided to manufacture every little The Seiffener Volkskunst (folk art) is as hobby. In due course, around 400
part here itself, thus controlling cost even more spectacular. Apart from the years back, mining industry died but
and improving quality. ubiquitous nutcrackers of all sizes, there the miners converted their hobby into
Our guide Seema Prakash says, is a plethora of other toys and figurines, a profession of manufacturing wooden
while we watch an expert watchmaker like the pyramids (with a fan on top), toys as Christmas presents.
at work, the Glashütte watches are now smoker, angels, miners and the intricate
regaining much of its lost glory and wood chip trees. The lively workshop Ore Mountain Open Air Museum
the museum bears a testimony to the was full of artisans chipping, turning, Erzgebirgisches Freilicht museum,
difficult times. Even the watchmaking cutting and painting hundreds of toys as it is called in German, is an open sky
school is very much operational. every day. museum with a collection of replica
The Spielzeugmuseum or the toy houses from the ore mountains region,
The Nutcracker and the Toy Museum museum has over 5,000 exhibits, like dating back to a couple of centuries.
& Seiffen a toy replica of Noah’s Ark (with 300 There are houses of blacksmiths,
A nutcracker, the size of a cottage, animals), a carousel, doll houses and weavers, farmers with their
welcomes us with his large jaw ready so many other beautiful things. It is granaries and for each house there
to crack open the largest of the said that Ore Mountain region or the is information on how they lived,
nuts when we enter the gates of Erzgebirge, as it is called in Germany, their tools of trade, vessels, etc.,
Nussknacker Museum (the nutcracker is the birthplace of the nutcracker tracing the history of the region. In
museum) in the small town of and other wooden toys. In particular, some of the houses, there were live
Neuhausen a few minutes from Seiffen. the town of Seiffen looks like it is artisans showing their skills. We again
Though huge, his expression is cheerful celebrating Christmas all year-round. saw wooden toy making in one of the

58 India Outbound July-August 2018


This fascinating journey through war museums as it hardly eulogises war

treasures of the Earth is made possible and the military. There are no latest
because of the passion and drive of Dr missiles or tanks showing the might of
HC Erika Pohl-Ströher. While collecting the German army. In fact, it is quite the
gems and minerals was her interest contrary. It has captured all the ills of
during younger years, she took to war and its impact on the people. Even
serious collecting for the last 60 years the building is slightly redesigned so
or so and built up an inventory of that you can now see a gigantic wedge
around 90,000 specimens. During her plunged into the building, denoting
time, she ensured that young minds how wars cast a permanent wedge into
would get involved in this discovery the social fabric.
through various educational and A word of advice: this museum is
research programmes. Her collection huge and would take more than half
has been permanently loaned to the a day.
state of Saxony.

Stasi Museum
This is indeed the memory of darkest
period of Germany after WW2. In an
unflattering cuboid building, not too far
from Elbe River was the State Security
Remand Prison, of the erstwhile
German Democratic Republic (GDR),
abbreviated to Stasi.
One of the primary activities of Stasi
was to spy on its own people by turning
citizens against other citizens, by Museums

smaller wooden-shingled cottages. coercion, threats and so on. There were

There is also a small model showing Stasi officers posted in major factories
how hydro-power was used in many to report any underground activities.
of the farming activities. When Every apartment block had a Stasi SAXONY
electricity became available, a small officer posing as a tenant and reporting Stasi Museum Museum of Military History
Glashütte Museum
sub-station was built on one of the back the activities of the other tenants. Freiberg Minerals & Crystals Museum
The Nutcracker & the Toy
Museum & Seiffen
taller structures as well. Advent of Any rebellion or protests were dealt
electricity ensured the development with covert and overt measures. Ore Mountain
Open Air Museum
progressed faster. Stasi prison was used to hold the
We would say we had a lot of fun citizens accused of the so-called
here getting in and out of cottages crime against the nation, which was
and enjoying the fine weather outside in reality a protest against German
in the fields. The air had instantly communist party. How to Reach
renewed our energy. It is in exactly the same condition
as it was then, a grim reminder of that The best way is to fly Lufthansa Airlines to
Frankfurt or Munich and then take a local flight
Freiberg Minerals and Crystals period. All the records are exactly
or train to Dresden, which could be a base for
Museum as it was and anyone interested in
further explorations.
As we went through the main gates researching lost citizens are provided Indians require the Schengen Visa from the
of Freudenstein Castle, in the mining help to find them. A look around the German Embassy or Consulate situated in major
town of Freiberg, our respective jaws holding prison, with the interrogation Indian cities.
would not close when we entered room, judgment room and other areas
the Terra Mineralia Museum. Room gave us goosebumps. Where to Stay
after room was filled with the rarest At the time of German unification,
Dresden offers accommodation options for all
collection of gem stones, minerals and there were more than 90,000
budgets - from hostels to luxurious hotels.
meteorites of every imaginable colour employees and 180,000 citizen
Amedia Plaza in the heart of the old city of
and shape and a few unimaginable informants! At one point it was said that Dresden is one of the best value for money
ones too. The collection is divided into there was one informer to 6.5 citizens. hotels, especially known for its location.
halls in terms of continents. Out of Radisson Blu and Hilton are other top hotels
the 3,500 plus exhibits over 1,400 are Museum of Military History that may be considered. Melia and Best Western
from Asia. This museum is different from other offer great mid-priced segment hotels.

July-August 2018 India Outbound 59


Fashionable Travel
Clubbing Style with Utility
In an age when journals are maintained on Instagram/blogs and not in
notebooks, travelling well is associated with not just exotic locations but also
looking good in them. For a fashionable travel that does not compromise on
comfort, here are some items.
Surbhi Kapila

Convertible Bags
While travelling, packing all your
bags in a suitcase might not be
the best option as they might
occupy a lot of space. Having an all
purpose bag can be a great idea.
There are aplenty of international
brands selling convertible bags
online. Clever in design, they look
smart with leather and denim
being some materials they are
available in. You can convert a tote
into a backpack, a backpack into
a cross body and so on. So, log in
and find your perfect match!
Price: INR 1,200 onwards

Well-Stocked Toiletry Cases

Even though washrooms in
hotels come stocked with basic
toiletries, a number of essentials
are still required to maintain
one’s look and style. Sunscreens,
make-up and even fabric cleaners,
are the latest essentials. Not to
mention the fact that different
Multipurpose Apparel
climates require different types
It can get cold on to the road,
of products. Items like fabric
and of course in the flight. An
cleaners, satin solutions, crease
apparel that works as a cozy
removers, stain removers, etc.,
blanket and a stylish shawl
come in handy to maintain a
or poncho then becomes an
photo-worthy look. For these
essential. Hybrid apparels
reasons, a toiletry case that will
are an online fad, and an item
help you carry more products
of utility to look into. There
while also being organised, is
are also reversible dresses,
jackets, pants and even socks!
Price: INR 500 onwards
Price: INR 1,500 onwards

60 India Outbound July-August 2018


Shoe Organisers
Walking shoes for outdoors, slippers for
lounging, stilettos for parties, we are
only talking essential footwear here. A
fashionista might have a longer list. Carrying
and organising pairs of shoes can be a
problem while travelling but one cannot
afford to not have the right shoes for the
right outfits. An organiser comes in handy
while travelling or driving to distant places.
Price: INR 500 onwards

Walking Shoes
Shoes need to be comfortable but they
should definitely not be boring. Many
shoe brands are now offering some
of the most creative footwear, with
designs inspired from destinations to
art, among other things of interest.
Imagine a Caribbean inspired pair of
shoes with tropical settings printed
Slip Dresses and Slippers on it! However, if you'd rather go for
Easy, stylish and comfortable, a slip something plain yet happening and
dress is a must have. You can have one funky, try some trendy colours like
for the beach and one for a fancy, night millennial pink and cadmium yellow.
out. Doesn't matter what body type you
Price: INR 4,500 onwards
are, a slip dress is a good choice for a
holiday. Slippers for footwear are another
wearable item of solace, and if you're
hooked to the idea of being fancy along
with feeling at ease, faux fur slippers are
the trend to follow. They work well for
outdoors and even laidback lounging.
Price: INR 1,000 onwards

Eye Masks
Eye masks are highly
recommended for long
journeys. Your options could Vintage Suitcases
range from a 3D eye mask to a For those who wish to travel in style, a
silk one, depending on whether vintage style suitcase can be a requirement.
you are looking for utility or Although an actual old bag would not be a
style. A 3D mask doesn’t just feasible or durable idea, suitcases inspired
gives the comfort that ordinary from old travelling styles is what we are
ones don't, it is also specially talking about. In metal and leather casings,
designed to prevent dark-circles. vintage inspired suitcases are in vogue.
A silk eye mask on the other Although a classic tan brown is unlikely to
hand lets one make a fashion go out of trend, designers have also come
statement, even while sleeping! up with other quirky and colourful options
Price: INR 500 onwards to choose from.
Price: INR 2,000 onwards

July-August 2018 India Outbound 61


The Tao of Travel

K V Priya

t is not uncommon for us to observation. For instance, in the
fall back on travel guidebooks chapter about his visit to China,
that offer detailed information he writes: “I saw a distant figure in
required for travelling to certain front of a tumbledown watchtower
destinations. This is often followed on that almost 9,000 kilometres
by other nitty-gritty pertaining to defensive wall known in the land of
lodging and dining options as well. its makers, as Wanli Chang Cheng - the
Then there are travelogues that ‘unbelievably Long Wall’ - but which
vividly describe vacation and travel the rest of mankind calls the Great
experiences. Wall of China,” or “I saw a stream
However, there are a few of hundreds and hundreds of silver
extraordinary writers for whom travel salmon against the currents through
is not just a holiday. They are the barely ankle-deep river water one
ones who have taken travelogue to radiant October day, in the Canadian
higher realms of literature. Atlas of an province of Ontario”.
Anxious Man by Christoph Ransmayr Such a description in the opening
falls under this category. sentence of the chapter grips the
Before we explore the book, it is readers’ attention and holds it till the
pertinent to mention that Ransmayr end, engaging them in the places,
was recently in the news when his characters and emotions mentioned.
work, The Flying Mountain found a His observations are honest when
place in the long list of Man Booker he meets a man studying songbirds
International Prize this year. This in China or when he describes the
Title: Atlas of an Anxious Man global prize celebrates the finest bullfights of Spain or when he
Author: Christoph Ransmayr works of translated fiction from explores the life and death of salmon
Pages: 337 around the world. in Canada.
Austrian writer, Ransmayr, who Crafted with the skill of a fine
Price: INR 599
writes in German, has several books short-story writer, each episode is
Publisher: Seagull Books composed on a set of memories that
to his credit. Notable among them are
ISBN: 9780857426314 The Terrors of Ice and Darkness (1991) take him to far reaches, off the beaten
and The Dog King (1997). He has won track, to locations accessed on foot, or
several literary awards, including the by bicycle, assorted boats, tour buses,
Franz Kafka Prize (1995) the Bertolt rental vehicles and more. He explores
Brecht Literature Prize (2004) the history, lifts his telescope to the
Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best heavens, and encounters politically
Foreign Book Prize) (2015). tense environments. Yet, no two
Spread over 70 chapters, the author entries are the same.
takes readers on an unforgettable There are more reasons than
journey across the globe with each one for the success of the literary
piece. All the stories in the Atlas are cartography of Atlas. The vivid
exclusively about places the author has descriptions by the author - be it of
lived in or visited or travelled to, and plants or insects, trees or stars or the
about the people he had met; people histories of places, have added spice
who helped, protected, threatened, to the stories. More significantly,
rescued or loved him. The 337 pages Ransmayr’s translator, Simon Pare
of the volume transport readers from - who translated the Flying Mountain-
the shadows of Java’s volcanoes to the has done a great job of translating
rapids of rivers Mekong and Danube; Atlas from German to English, in terms
from the drift ice of the Arctic Circle to of mood and treatment.
the Himalayan passes, right on to the Introducing the book, Ransmayr
disenchanted Islands of the Pacific. writes: “Stories do not occur; they are
Each episode begins with an told.” There hangs a tale for all of us.

62 India Outbound July-August 2018


International Trips
Quick Fix Vacations
Owing to economic air
travel options, direct flights,
favourable visa policies and
more, Indians are now taking
short international trips instead
of travelling domestically.
Arachika Kapoor

" very year we wait for summers to
go on a family holiday. Last year we
travelled to Leh (Jammu & Kashmir),
but this time we wanted to make our
trip memorable as the holiday was
especially to celebrate my parents’ 25th wedding
anniversary. We started looking for packages and
in the process came across many international
destinations, and visiting them was almost as
economical as holidaying in India. So, we visited
Pattaya and Bangkok (Thailand) for a week,” says
Yuvan Kumar, a VFX student in New Delhi.
Known for its beaches, animal safaris, street
food and the famous marine world, Thailand is one

More and more Indians are travelling to international destinations in Asia for quick getaways – like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, etc.

64 India Outbound July-August 2018


of the best pocket-friendly international next 17 months. The new routes will
destinations from India. “Even after include 18 short-haul destinations in Off the Beaten Path
the fact that THB 1 equals around South-East Asia, China and the Middle Bhutan for Backpackers
INR 2.15, the place is full of budget East. Moreover, between March and Also known as the ‘land of the thunder
accommodations, shopping places and October this year, the airline will connect dragons’ Bhutan boasts of unexplored
other experiences for Indians. Tuk-tuks Indian cities to destinations like Bhutan, monasteries and mountain views. Though
in Thailand are otherwise cheap but in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Bahrain, the country may seem expensive because
the tourist areas, they charge more than Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) and of the minimum tariff tourists have to
double sometimes. So for us, metro was the UAE (Abu Dhabi). pay per day, this fee is all-inclusive –
the best way to commute,” he adds. Vistara too, is set to start its short- accommodation, food, transport and an
Floating markets, scuba diving and haul international operations connecting official guide. The best way to experience
water sports, Pattaya walking street, south Asian destinations and other Asian the country is either by foot or by road so
and Thailand’s famous som tam (papaya destinations that are two-four hours don’t forget to pack your walking shoes.
salad) are some attractions that away followed by ones that are three- Timeless Charm of Vietnam
are worth an experience when in five hours away. Round air trip to the country can cost as
the country. Further, in comparison to flight fares low as INR 15,000 per person, only when
As the sun shines brighter in India, a last year, average international fares planned at least four months in advance.
trip to the mountains in the country is have dropped by around 19 pc. This, plus Major cities like Hanoi, Nha Trang, Ho Chi
one of the first things an average Indian additional discounts offered by travel Minh and others host economic hostels,
thinks of during the summer season. portals enable travellers dormitory rooms and hotels. The best
However of late, more and more Indians to plan outbound trips even on way to save time and money is to enjoy a
are taking their week-long breaks smaller budgets. boat cruise besides visiting local markets,
outside the country, even if it is under Famous for being one of the best islands and wildlife sanctuaries.
similar weather conditions owing to the backpacking destinations, Sri Lanka is
Culturally Diverse Indonesia
availability of budget accommodations, one such budget-friendly destination.
Apart from Bali, Indonesia is home to
discounted air travel, and other factors. “We got a six-day package to Sri Lanka
other rich spectacles as well - Java,
Other than Thailand, another such from a travel agency in 2016. From
Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Sumatra and more!
place is Singapore. Here you can shop at mountains and forests to beaches, you
Enjoy the many spa treatments, water
both local and international stores along can experience these different worlds
sports, volcano trails, and indulge in the
Orchard Road, or enjoy some musical within just four hours,” says Gurmehar
local street food for as little as INR 150 per
trees in Gardens by the Bay. According to Sodhi, a media graduate from New Delhi.
meal. When in Indonesia, it is best to visit
the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI), Indian “It sure is light on the pocket.
selected cities as budget accommodation
travellers are repeatedly travelling to Travelling on public transport is both fun
can be limited and flying from one island
short-haul destinations in the Asia Pacific and cheap. But for people who can’t do
to another is expensive.
region, especially to Singapore. without Indian food, it’s a little tough.
“The hawker centre in Chinatown There’s Sri Lankan food, seafood and Enjoy Hong Kong’s Skyline
is the place to have a meal – it is both continental everywhere but not Indian, While Hong Kong is generally expensive,
delicious and budget-friendly. We could even in hotels; at least in Kandy, Nuwara it offers plenty of bargains - eat noodles
buy a complete meal for a little more Eliya and Bentota,” she adds. and dumplings at the food market for
than INR 1,000 for three people,” says Another ideal neighbour surrounded less than INR 100 at the KwongWa Street,
Shreya Joshi, who visited Singapore in by hilly villages and Buddhist prayer flags hike on the Dragon’s back trail, or visit the
June this year. is Nepal - one of the best budget-friendly Hong Kong Museum of Art (free entry on
For a shoestring traveller, the international trips for Indians with Wednesdays). Temple Street Night Market
Mustafa Centre is open 24 hours and the Indian Rupee dominating over the is one of the best shopping areas – just
sells everything from groceries and Nepalese Rupee. say ‘Tai Gwai la’ (it is too expensive), for a
electronics to gold at good prices. From Hostels in places like Kathmandu start better bargain.
its street food and the famous Marina from as low as INR 500 for one night
Bay Sands, to artificially built waterfalls per person while a 4-star hotel would street food, think Malaysia – one of
and flower gardens - Singapore has been also not cost too much – around INR the major tourist hubs in South-East
a famous holiday destination for Indians 3,000/night on an average. Nagarkot, Asia. Enjoy a meal along the Singapore
looking for a quick trip. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Pokhara, River, day tour to Elephant Orphanage
Witnessing the rise in Indians Chitwan National Park, and the gorge of Sanctuary, visit the Batu Caves and
spending on short-haul foreign trips, Seti River, are some of the attractions in temple or the Petronas Towers – this
airlines are also looking at directly the country. Nepal is also the best bet place has everything for each type of
connecting to these destinations. Low- if you want cooler temperatures on traveller. Just learn some basic words
cost airline Indigo is working to include a budget. and phrases, and smile all the time while
24 international destinations over the For the love of shopping and amazing visiting these neighbouring countries!

July-August 2018 India Outbound 65


Trails of Tranquillity
little less than a month ago I visited what is called
the 'beauty in the heart of Europe', thus ticking off
Switzerland from my bucket list. Surrounded by
beautiful lakes amidst the snow-capped Alps, this
country truly is a timeless beauty.
The broad roads and long tunnels carved out of mountains
made the journey all the more beautiful and it was satiating
to enjoy the breeze that blows across the face as we made
our way to a beautiful town called Engelberg, situated on the
foot of Mount Titlis.
There surely can be no better way to start a day than
to wake up to the sound of church bells and to the view of
the sun rising on the mountain top just from your room.
Just when I was content to my heart of seeing my dream not to exert ourselves because of the altitude difference. Not
destination, little did I know that I was yet to cover Jungfrau - only does the Jungfraujoch has a spectacular view but it also
the top of Europe. has much to see indoors as well.
Jungfraujoch is a glacial pass between the Jungfrau The excursions on the top can surely take your breath
mountain and the Monch mountain around the great Aletsch away. Here are some of the features to look out for:
glacier making it a UNESCO world natural heritage site. It • Sphinx terrace, which is a viewing platform of the
is the highest train station in Europe at 3,454 metres with largest glacier of Europe - the Aletsch glacier. The lift
surreal view and experiences of the alpine region. that takes tourists to the mesmerising view is
Our trip began as we boarded the cogwheel train from Switzerland’s fastest lift.
Grindelwald Grund, a popular railway station for tourists • Snow fun is where you can actually ski and do all sorts
wanting to reach Jungfraujoch to Kleine Scheidegg. On our of activities with snowboard, zip line or cable car on the
way to Kleine Scheidegg, we were treated to the view of the Altesch glacier.
snow-capped mountains of the alpine region from the wide • Alpine sensation presents light and music of the past and
windows of our train. As we arrived at Kleine Scheidegg, present journey of Jungfrau tourism and the efforts of
everything was covered in snow. constructing Jungfrau railways.
We finally boarded the Jungfrau train and began our final • Ice palace is the best experience I have ever had - even
ascent to Jungfraujoch. We were handed over Jungfrau the floors are made of ice, which were a little slippery
railway passports, which we can stamp and keep as a souvenir with the temperature in glacial ice cave around -2 degree
of setting foot on the highest point of Europe. As the train Celsius. The entire cave is carved out of ice from the
goes in the tunnel through the mountains, you can hear very mountains and so are all the animal figurines like eagles,
soft bells ringing in the train, and it goes very slowly so as to penguins, etc.
acclimatise the body to the height of the mountain and the • Glacier plateau is where you actually fall in love with the
difference in oxygen pressure. The train makes two stops on place and get to play with the snow. It is all the more
the way - one at Eiger (2,685m) and then at Eismeer (3,010m) exciting for people who hardly get to see snow. The
to take pictures through windows. snowfall came to us like a cherry on the cake.
After a 45-minute train journey we reach Jungfrau where
the snow crunches under the feet and it feels like a different Riddhi Roy, is a passionate traveller and Operations
world altogether. We had been advised to walk slowly and Manager in a Kolkata-based travel company

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66 India Outbound July-August 2018