What is Tourism?

Although many of us have been "tourists" at some point in our lives, defining what tourism actually is can be difficult. Tourism is the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes. Tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to constantly adapt to customers' changing needs and desires, as the customer’s satisfaction, safety and enjoyment are particularly the focus of tourism businesses. Types Tourism encompasses: Outbound Tourism Outbound tourism is what you may be most familiar with. It involves the business of people going from British Columbia to other provinces, territories or countries. For example, going to Hawaii in February is considered outbound tourism. Inbound Tourism BC competes in a global market to attract tourists from the United States, Japan, Germany and many other countries. We also implement marketing campaigns aimed at attracting travellers from other parts of Canada. The tourists coming to BC from other places are called inbound tourists.

Sectors The tourism industry is divided into five different sectors:
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Accommodation Food and Beverage Services Recreation and Entertainment Transportation Travel Services

The diversity of these five sectors shows that the career options in the tourism industry are unlimited. Depending on your interests and skills, you can work indoors or out, nine to five or midnight to noon. You can work in an office, an airport or out of your home. You can have one career in the winter and another in the summer. In short, you can make your career fit the lifestyle you want.

Introduction - What is Tourism? Online Lesson Since the beginning of time humans have traveled. Food, water, safety or acquisition of resources (trade) were the early travel motivations. But the idea of travel for pleasure or exploration soon emerged. Travel has always depended upon technology to provide the means or mode of travel. The earliest travelers walked or rode domesticated animals. The invention of the wheel and the sail provided new modes of transportation. Each improvement in technology increased individuals' opportunities to travel. As roads were improved and governments stabilized, interest in travel increased for education, sightseeing, and religious purposes. One of the earliest travel guides was written by Pausanias, a Greek, which was a 10 volume Guide to Greece, for Roman tourists in 170 A.D.. Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries that delivers a travel experience, including transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses, activity facilities and other hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) claims that tourism is currently the worlds largest industry with annual revenues of over $3 trillion dollars. Tourism provides over six million jobs in the United States, making it the country's largest employer.

Definition of Tourism Mathieson and Wall (1982) created a good working definition of tourism as "the temporary movement of people to destinations outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destinations, and the facilities created to cater to their needs." According to Macintosh and Goeldner (1986) tourism is "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host governments and host communities in the process of attracting and hosting these tourists and other visitors." Other terms of interest are: Excurionist: Persons traveling for pleasure in a period less than 24 hours (Macintosh and Goeldner, 1986).

Foreign Tourist: Any person visiting a country, other than that in which he/she usually resides, for a period of at least 24 hours (Committee of Statistical Experts of the League of Nations, 1937). Travel: The act of moving outside one's home community for business or pleasure but not for commuting or traveling to or from school (Macintosh and Goeldner, 1986).

Visitor: Any person visiting a country other than that in which he/she has his/her usual place of residence, for any reason other than following an occupation remunerated from within the country visited (United Nations Conference on International Travel and Tourism, 1963).

Transportation Systems The type and availability of transportation will determine travel destinations. The development of accommodations were likewise determined by the development of transportation systems. These systems are listed below. Stagecoach (1500 A.D.) Invented in Hungary. Railroads (1825)First passenger train was in England. Boats & Ships (early 400 B.C., but first ocean liner 1840) Automobile (1908) Henry Ford's Model T Air Travel (1919) by what is now know as Lufthansa Airline Space Travel (2015) estimated date for passenger travel into suborbital space.

Grand Canyon Railroad Williams, AZ

Dimensions of Tourism

All tourism activities are related to one or more of the following dimensions of tourism. Attractions: Are the primary motivation for traveling. They may be a primary destination such as Disney World or secondary destination which are interesting places to visit on the way to your primary destination. Most tourist traveling from the east to go to Las Vegas will stopover at the Grand Canyon national Park on the way. Attractions usually focus on natural resources, culture, ethnicity or entertainment. N at u r al R es o u rc es : N at u r al re so u rc es a re th e c o m bi n at io n of p

Buffalo Dancers Sedona, AZ

h ys ic al fe at u re s ( Y os e m it e N at io n al P a r k, C al if o r ni a) , th e cl i m at e ( V ai l, C ol

o r a d o) , a n d th e n at u r al b e a ut y of th e a re a ( A c a di a N at io n al P a r k, M ai n e)

. T h e c h al le n g e to m a n a gi n g n at u r al re so u rc es b as e d to u ri s m is to p re se r v e

th e n at u r al re so u rc e fr o m th e i m p a ct of th e to u ri st 's. Culture: A way of life which is observed through a peoples religion, history, government and traditions. Ethnicity: To visit family and friends. Entertainment: Tourism developments of all sizes from Disney World, Universal Studios, Las Vegas to local community Special Events and Festivals such as the Bloomsday Road Race in Spokane, Washington. X-treme Tourism: Tourism based on high adventure activities (See Whirlwind Tourism) Facilities: When tourists arrive at attractions they require facilities to provide services. Lodging: Represent a variety of services from campgrounds, RV parks, motels and five star resorts. Food & Beverage: Not only provide basic sustenance for tourists but an important

factor in the overall tourism experience. Support Services: Usually are represented by small retail businesses providing souvenirs and personal services. Shopping is an integral part of the travel experience. Tourists seek unique and novel items which represent the area and cultures they visit. Infrastructure: The basic services on which all tourism depends. These systems include water and sewer systems, communication networks, medical facilities, electricity, police and fire protection and roads.

Transportation

Time and Money: This is the critical component to tourism, the ability to get from Point A to Point B and back, or to Point C, D, E.... The variables of Time, how long it takes to get to a specific destination, and Money, how much it costs to get to your destination. Tourism developments are dependent on the ease of access and types of transportation available.

Hospitality Hospitality: The community's attitude which permeates every tourism location that makes the tourist feel welcome and safe. It is the result of the interaction between the tourist and the local population.

Essential Requirements for Tourism A. Time, as the hours for leisure increase so does the opportunity for travel. Changes in work days or hours, school calendars will affect how and when people can travel. The overall travel pattern has moved from a two week vacation to 6-8 three or four day mini-vacations per year. B. Money, the majority of travel requires discretionary income. Discretionary income is money left over after all monetary obligations (food, rent and taxes) have been paid. C. Mobility, is the access to transportation (car, bus, plane, train or ship) and the hours required to get to their destination.

D. Motivation, is the reason people travel. Motivations may include seeking novelty, education, meet new people, adventure or stress reduction.

Types of Tourism All types of tourism in India have registered phenomenal growth in the last decade ever since the Indian government decided to boost revenues from the tourism sector by projecting India as the ultimate tourist spot. The reason why India has been doing well in all types of tourism in India is that India has always been known for its hospitality, uniqueness, and charm – attributes that have been attracting foreign travelers to India in hordes. The Indian government, in order to boost tourism of various kinds in India, has set up the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. This ministry recently launched a campaign called ‘Incredible India!’ in order to encourage different types of tourism in India. The result was that in 2004, foreign tourists spent around US$ 15.4 billion during their trips to India. Being a country with tremendous diversity, India has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and related activities. The diversity that India is famous for, ensures that there is something to do for all tourists in India, no matter what their interests.

The different types of tourism in India are as follows:

Heritage Tourism India has always been famous for its rich heritage and ancient culture. So the onset of heritage tourism in India was long anticipated. India’s glorious past and cultural diversity make a potent blend which attracts millions of tourists each year to its heritage tourist attractions. The government of India and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture encourage heritage tourism in India by offering several benefits to the Indian states that are particularly famous for attracting tourists. India's rich heritage is amply reflected in the various temples, palaces, monuments, and forts that can be found everywhere in the country. This has led to the increase in India's heritage tourism. The most popular heritage tourism destinations in India are:
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Taj Mahal in Agra Mandawa castle in Rajasthan Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu Madurai in Tamil Nadu Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh Delhi, the Indian capital

Taj Mahal was built by a grief stricken Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal.A world-renowned wonder, Taj Mahal Sits pretty on the northern side of this green paradise. It looks the same from all the four sides! The Quranic inscriptions on its four entrances are carved in such subtle increase in size that may appear to be of the same size from top to bottom! Shahjahan invited master craftsmen from as far as Italy and Persia to help design his ambitious tribute to love.The Taj Mahal is phenomenal not in the beauty alone that shines forth, but in the deep planning and design that went into its making, and the ethereal idea of immortalizing love. Delicate carvings in marble vie with gorgeous pietra dura for attention. Lapiz, Lazuli, Carnation, Mother of pearl, Agate and Emerald are inlayed in floral and geometrical patterns in the

marble itself. This enchanting mausoleum, on the bank of river Yamuna started in 1631 it took 22 years to complete with the help of an estimated 20000 workers.The Mandawa castle in Rajasthan, built in 1775 reflects India's rich heritage and attracts thousands of tourists each year to Rajasthan which seems especially popular for its antique paintings, jade jewelry, palaces, and costumes. Mahabalipuram has sculptural and architectural sites which are considered the greatest in India. Mahabalipuram has cave temples that have been carved from granite blocks and belong to the 7th century. This is the primary reason why many heritage tourists in India visit this place. The tourism of heritage in India has also increased due to the interest of many foreigners in the temples of India. Madurai is known as the ‘temple city’ due to the presence of a large number of temples in the city. And for this reason, many tourists go and visit the place each year. The most important temple in Madurai is the Meenakshi temple. Heritage tourism India has also been popularized because a lot of tourists go to Delhi which is not only the capital of India but also has many heritage sites. The most famous heritage sites in Delhi are the Red fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun's tomb, and Tughlaqabad fort. Heritage tourism India has grown in recent years but there is scope for further development which can be attained only through combined efforts of the government of India and the tourism boards.

Ecotourism Ecotourism India has developed recently, for the concept itself is a relatively new one. Ecotourism entails traveling to places that are renowned for their natural beauty and social culture, while making sure not to damage the ecological balance. Ecotourism pertains to a conscious and responsible effort to preserve the diversity of a naturally endowed region and sustaining its beauty and local culture. Indians have been known since ages to worship and conserve nature. So the growth of ecotourism in India is but natural. Also the government of India has set up the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to promote ecotourism in India alongside other types of tourism. Ecotourism in India has grown significantly in recent years in India since the country has a diverse geography which led to the development of many tourists destinations. These various destinations not only de-stress the tourists but also rejuvenate them. There are various ways in which tourists can enjoy nature in India. And this has given ecotourism in India a major boost. Places such as Kerala, Lakshdweep Islands, the Himalayan region, north-east India, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are some destinations in India where tourists can participate in ecotourism-related activities. In Kerala, Thenmala

is a planned ecotourism spot and is the first of its kind in India. Great care has gone into the care and preservation of Thenmala so that it caters to nature lovers and eco- tourists. Eco-tourists have been thronging India in large numbers for it has a rich source of flora and fauna. A great number of endangered and rare species are also to be found in the various national parks in India. The major national parks in India for ecotourism are:
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Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan

Ecotourism India has increased in the last few years. The government of India and Ministry of Tourism need to make concerted efforts to ensure that ecotourism in India is able to keep pace with ecotourism destinations across the world and making sustainable tourism a priority. Adventure Tourism Adventure tourism has recently grown in India. This involves exploration of remote areas and exotic locales and engaging in various activities. For adventure tourism in India, tourists prefer to go for trekking to places like Ladakh, Sikkim and Himalaya. Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are popular for the skiing facilities they offer. Whitewater rafting is also catching on in India and tourists flock to places such as Uttranchal, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh for this adrenalin-packed activity. Wildlife Tourism India has a rich forest cover which has some beautiful and exotic species of wildlife – some of which that are even endangered and very rare. This has boosted wildlife tourism in India. The places where a foreign tourist can go for wildlife tourism in India are the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, and Corbett National Park. Pilgrimage Tourism India is probably the ultimate destination of all kinds of pilgrims following any faith around the world. The great religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism are the integral part of Indian culture and heritage whose values and faiths are mingled with the air, soil and the sky of India. You can feel the blissful serenity of the Indian atmosphere where Lord Buddha, Mahabir Jain, Shri Sathya Sai Baba and Guru Nanak once walked turning the Indian soil pious and blessed at the different circle of time wheel. There are numerous destinations in India which are considered sacred by people following different faith because of their religious importance. A visit to the Kedarnath or Badrinath will take you to the Himalayas which is believed to be the abode of 330 million gods and goddesses and you can feel the immense divinity in the air itself. It is widely believed that after breathing in the holy atmosphere of Varanasi or Haridwar or taking a dip into the sacred Pushkar Lake or river Ganges washes away the sins and helps one to attain nirvana (salvation). The divine Buddha pilgrimages, Bodhgaya and Sarnath are the destinations of thousands of Buddhist

pilgrims every year coming from each and every corner of the earth.

Famous Pilgrimage
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ajmer Pushkar Haridwar Amarnath Badrinath Gangotri Kedarnath Yamunotri Chardham Yatra Rishikesh Manikaran Paonta Sahib Rewalsar Omkareshwar Ajmer Sharief Rameswaram Mathura Vrindavan Puri Guruvayur Shirdi Saibaba Amarnath Cave Vaishno Devi Jagannath Temple Konark Sun Temple Tirupati Temple

Pilgrimage Places
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Himachal Pradesh Rajasthan Uttranchal Kerala Maharashtra Tamil Nadu Jammu And Kashmir Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh Karnataka Andhra Pradesh Temples Mosques Gurudwaras Churches

What is Atithi Devo Bhavah? A pioneer initiative by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India that will help tap into the full potential of tourism in India. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has introduced “Atithi Devo Bhavah Program”- A nation wide campaign that aims at sensitising key stakeholders towards tourists, through a process of training and orientation. The endeavour is to boost tourism in India, which in turn would act as a catalyst for India’s economic growth. To launch a national level initiative that works at many levels to address all the above issues. Atithi Devo Bhava aims at creating awareness about the effects of tourism and sensitizing people about preservation of our rich heritage & culture, cleanliness and warm hospitality. It also re-instills a sense of responsibility towards tourists and re-enforces the confidence of foreign tourist towards India as a preferred holiday destination. The entire concept is designed to complement the ‘Incredible India’ Campaign. Why Atithi Devo Bhavah? Last year we had 3.3 million visitors, but when you consider that Singapore gets 7 million a year. Thailand 9.6 million a year. Malaysia 11.5 million. There is no reason why we can’t aim to increase our numbers by 100%. And that too would be just a beginning. However to do this we need to change our attitude towards those who visit us. Often tourists are Mistreated, Cheated and rudely dealt with. It’s simple logic, if someone in a house is rude to you, as a guest, you don’t encourage your friends and relations to go there. This is perhaps the reason why in spite of an incredible wealth of Tourist spots, Cultural Attractions, Natural Wonders and Destinations for the soul, India still isn’t amongst the top 15 tourist destinations Of the world. The time has definitely come to get together to change this. To change our attitude. We’ve lost touch with the hospitality we were famous for. Now it’s a time that we make a effort to make it a part of us again. Inspiration behind Atithi Devo Bhavah ? Respect has always been an integral part of the Indian soul. From time immemorial we have always respected - Our teachers, our elders, our parents And our guests Perhaps this is why a great Indian Emperor once observed

'In Hindustan our manner is very respectful and our hearts are always open' In many ways, at that time India was the ultimate destination for the enlightened travelers. Now, thousands of years later, we can bring that golden age back again. This inspired us to go back to those years, when Indian hospitality set the standard for the world And we found the keystone of what we want to do Or guest is blessed. Our visitor is God. That how we arrive at our mission called 'Atithi Devo Bhavah'

The seven point Atithi Devo Bhavah Program Atithi Devo Bhavah is a 7 point program of hospitality and training Samvedan Sheelta or SesitisationHere we will sensitise the various sections of the tourism industry about how each of them to contribute for the growth of the tourism industry and how they will benefit from it. Prashikshan or Training and Induction This involves explaining to them the needs and expectation of the tourist, how they should respond and behave in order to satisfy them needs and meet those expectations. Prerna or Motivation This is motivation to participate in this program through various measures e.g. awards for the best worker in the segment. Because when you are enthused you can do wonders. Pramani Karan or Certification Certification to ensure standards shall be done at an appropriate stage in the training program Pratipushti or Feedback Feedback shall be obtained from tourists about the Service they have received and the experience they had, in order to improve the training program on a continuous basis

Samanya Bodh or General Awareness The mass media communication campaign will be undertaken to create general

awareness among the public about the necessity and the benefits of the Atithi Devo Bhavah programme. Swamitwa or OwnershipThe Atithi Devo Bhavah programme is a movement we will urge all segments of the Indian society to adopt, and look upon as their own.

The Charter of Atithi Devo Bhavah Training Program Hygiene & Cleanliness : Hygiene & Cleanliness shall cover the areas of product for e.g. vehicles like taxies, hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, etc., personal hygiene & cleanliness of the person providing the service and cleanliness of the monuments / places of tourist interest. Conduct and Behavior: The person concerned for e.g. the taxi driver / hotel employee shall behave in courteous and polite manner towards tourists. Integrity and Honesty : The person providing service to the foreign tourists should display honesty and integrity. Safety and Security: The safety and security of the tourists shall be ensured.

Components of the Atithi Devo Bhavah Program Training In this we are going to train key stakeholders (of the tourism industry) in terms of changing their attitude and behaviour towards foreign tourists. The programme shall cover 4 areas: Hygiene - This include personal hygiene of the person and also that of the product / service. Conduct and behaviour - Politeness and basic courtesies in interacting with the foreign tourists. Integrity - This implies that the person does not cheat the tourists and charges him a fair price for the service. Safety and security - Person look after safety and security of the foreign tourists. Key stakeholders being covered in the training include taxi drivers, baggage handlers at airport, tourist guides, hotel staff, employees of tour operators, immigration and customs officials etc.. Since these segments have diverse backgrounds, education and levels of sophistication, the training is divided into 2 categories: Level 1 : Covers taxi drives, tourist guides and baggage handlers and porters. Level 2 : The tour operators, shop owners / staff, hotel staff, immigration and customs officials. This training program is initiated at the following places - Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Agra, Aurangabad, and Goa. In the next financial year this

programme will be rolled out to other important cities in India. These people will be given certificates which shall be valid for about 6 months after which they have to come and get themselves re-trained. Till 31st March 2005, we plan to train about 26,000 people. From April 2005 to March 2006 these 26,000 people will be retrained and another substantially large number of people will be trained. Once a threshold level in terms of number of people trained is achieved (likely by October 2005), we shall introduce Atithi Devo Bhavah as a symbol of quality. Foreign tourists will be told to look out for the Atithi Devo Bhavah badge / sticker which will mean that the service is of certain minimum quality. PR Road Shows Besides training we are also undertaking PR Road shows with the tourism trade in order to get their active participation and ownership of the Atithi Devo Bhavah programme. Right now the contact programmes are being conducted in 7 cities mentioned earlier. After April 2005 contact programmes will be conducted in other cities in conjugation with the roll out of the training programme. Mass Media Communication We shall also be carrying out mass media communication in newspapers, TV, cinema and outdoors to create general awareness about the Atithi Devo Bhavah programme and to communicate to key stakeholders as to how it is in their own interest that foreign tourists be treated well and should go back happily from our country. Role of the India Tourism Offices The India Tourism offices of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Goa and Hydrabad have a crucial role to play in the campaign. They act as nodal agencies to facilitate and coordinate the essential part of the program ie. Training. The nodal offices as we term it will have the following roles: a) Provide their cooperation and support to make the training programs run in an effective manner b) Registering the stakeholders who are contacting them for the purpose of training and deciphering the information to us, so that they can be contacted and made a part of the training program c) Re-registration of the stakeholders who underwent a training program after six months, the stakeholders will approach them for the purpose of re-training and re-certification

ATITHI DEVO BHAVAH 'Atithi Devo Bhavah' is a Social Awareness Campaign aimed at providing the inbound tourist a sense of being welcomed to the country. The campaign targets the general public as a whole, while focusing mainly on the stakeholders of the tourism industry. The main components of the campaign are training and orientation to taxi drivers, guides, immigration officers, tourist police and other personnel directly interacting with the tourists, while simultaneously creating a brand equity for the trained persons. "Atithi Devo Bhavah" involves Sensitisation, Screening, Induction, Training & Orientation, Certification and Feedback of key stakeholders of the Tourism industry in India. As Smt. Renuka Chowdhury, the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent charge) says 'Atithi Devo Bhavah' is a nationwide campaign aimed at sensitising people about India's rich cultural heritage, its preservation, cleanliness, hospitality and bringing out an attitudinal shift among the masses towards tourists. It is a symbolic representation of India's age old hospitality and with this campaign, we are trying to re-install in the stakeholders a sense of pride and responsibility towards tourists, while positioning India as a popular tourist destination worldwide." The Ministry of Tourism is thus looking at both the macro and micro perspective by promoting destinations on the one hand and bringing about a sea change in the mindset and behaviour of people, on the other.

About Us The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency for the development and promotion of Tourism in India. Formulating national policies and programmes Co-ordinating and supplementing the efforts and activities of various Central Government Agencies, State /Union Territories Governments Catalysing private investments Strengthening promotional and marketing efforts Providing trained manpower resources Developing infrastructure Conducting research and analysis The Ministry of Tourism is headed by the Minister for Tourism & culture The administrative head of the Ministry of Tourism is the Secretary (Tourism). The Secretary also acts as the Director General (DG) Tourism. The office of the Director General of Tourism {now merged with the office of Secretary (Tourism)} provides executive directions for the implementation of various policies and programmes. The Directorate General of Tourism has a network of 20 offices within the country and 13 offices abroad. The overseas offices are primarily responsible for tourism promotion and marketing in their respective areas and the field offices in India are responsible for providing information service to tourists and monitoring the progress of field projects. The Ministry of Tourism also controls a public sector undertaking, the India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, and the following autonomous institutions: Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) and the

Institutes under its control National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM) Ministry of Tourism, Transport Bhavan, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: 91 +011 +23711995. Fax: 91 +011 +23710518. Email: contactus@incredibleindia.org , URL : http://www.incredibleindia.org

India is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest, youngest and still evolving mountain chain on the planet. The subcontinent as it is rightly called, touches three large water bodies and is immediately recognizable on any world map. This thick, roughly triangular peninsula defines the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian sea to the west, and the India Ocean to the south. India holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something for everyone. From north to south India extends a good 2000 miles (3200 km), where the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be squeezed out of India like a great tear, the synapse forming the Gulf of Mannar. Himalayas, the world's highest mountain chain and Nepal as its Neighbouring country dominate India's northern border. Following the sweeping mountains to the northeast, its borders narrow to a small channel that passes between Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, then spreads out again to meet Burma in the "eastern triangle." Apart from the Arabian Sea, its western border is defined exclusively by Pakistan.

North India is the country's largest region begins with Jammu and Kashmir, with terrain varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests near Srinagar and Jammu. Moving south along the Indus river, the North becomes flatter and more hospitable, widening into the fertile plains of Punjab to the west and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh and the Ganges river valley to the East. Cramped between these two states is the capital city, Delhi. The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh constitute West India. Extending from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, the west coast is lined with some of India's best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush with rainforests. The Western Ghats separate the verdant coast from the Vindya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland.

India is the home of the sacred River Ganges and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begins with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last gulp of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border. India reaches its peninsular tip with South India, which begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Cape Comorin. The states in South India are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, a favourite leisure destination. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range---the Eastern Ghats.

Art & Culture Classical Dance and Music Classical Dance Music Indian Folk and Tribal Dances

Classical Dance and Music Indian Classical Dance "..abstraction of Upanishadic thought which is assiduously translated in to well designed concrete language of artistic media." It all started with Natya Shastra Said to be written 2000 years ago by Bharata Muni, it is the seminal source book for dancers and performers. The mammoth book covers all technical and aesthetic aspects of the art of the Indian Theatre and Dance. From the purpose of natya, to the architectural format, stage rituals, Rasa, Bhava, Abhinaya, gestic communication, music, types of instruments. 37 chapters that together form the nucleus of this fascinating performing art. Later century works like Abhinaya Darpana, Abhinaya Chandrike, also have great relevance to the dancer today. To Top Legend has it that the Devas (Gods) had vanquished the Asuras (Evil) and were relating the happenings to Brahma, the God of Creation. The Asuras thought this was a renewed attack and retaliated. Brahma intervened - "This is only a performance, hence forth it will only be held on earth". And Brahma passed on all the information on Dance and Drama to Bharata Muni who compiled it as the Natya Shastra. Sculpture Comes To Life Temples were raised to the house the Gods and became the focal point for the community. They also became centres of learning and contributed to the advancement of such arts as sculpture, painting, music and dance. Mostly built by Kings, who were also the patrons of arts, encouraging a continuity and enriching rituals of worship, the earliest basis of the classical performing arts. It was from the temple that the Devdasi cult (Temple Dancers who performed for the Lord) began. Once a practice countrywide - the Kulvantalu in Andhra Pradesh, the Maibi in Manipur, the Devdasi in Tamil Nadu and the Mahari in Orissa, all trace their roots to the temple. The countless sculptures of dance poses in the temples, hint at the potency of dance as a path to spiritual exaltation and lays out a complete lexicon of dance techniques. For instance, it is said that the greater part of vocabulary of Odissi dance is preserved in

stone. A rich heritage to be brought alive by the artist.

Indian Folk and Tribal Dances Indian folk and tribal dances are simple , and performed to express joy. Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movements. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels. The northeast part of the country is the home for over 60 tribes. Each tribe has its own range of tribal dances. The exciting dances of the Nagas and the Bihus of Assam, are performed to celebrate spring and harvesting. The chief folk dance of Gujarat, the Dandiya, is performed using sticks. Each performer holds two sticks, which they strike alternately to the right and left while the group dances. They also move diagonally, clockwise, anti-clockwise, as they strike the sticks. The Bhangra dance of Punjab is performed by men, to the rhythm of the drum. The dance includes a wide range of leaps and jumps. Dancers stand on each other's shoulder while dancing to the music. There are hundreds of Indian folk and tribal dances. Each region of India has its own folk dance. Both men and women perform the bamboo dance of Mizoram. While the men hold the bamboo, the women folk dance between the bamboo. In this performance, the sound of the bamboo hitting each other is the rhythm. Though dangerous if a rhythm is missed, these experienced dancers perform with grace and with care. In the south, the dummy horse dance or the Poikalkuthirai, is very famous. Dancers fit dummy legs to their legs and dance to the tune of the music. Both men and women perform this form of art. In Tamil Nadu, dancers place a karagam or a decorated jug, on their head and dance while balancing the karagam. While there are numerous folk and tribal dances, they are constantly improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance. Bharat Natyam, one of the oldest Indian Classical dance forms is an essence of dedicatory dance. This was performed by Devadasis in the temples, primarily in Tamil Nadu and to lesser extent in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Bharat Natyam is compounded from 'bha' for bhava or emotional projection, 'ra' for raga or melody and 'ta' for tala rhythm. Natyam means the art of dance. The Sangam Age from 500 B.C to 500 AD marks the evolution of this dance form. The

early part of the present century saw the resurgence of this dance form. The key posture of this dance form requires the upper part of the body to be erect, the legs bent halfway down with the knees spread out, and the feet positioned like a half open fan. Practically every part of the body has its distinct movement. The songs used are composed from the poetic literature of Tamil, Telegu, and Sanskrit and to some extent Kannada. The accompanying music is in pure Carnatic style. Today, Bharat Natyam is not a dance style but a dance technique -

KUCHIPUDI The art form takes its name from the village of its birth, in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi was the result of the Bhakti Movement in the 6th Century, Siddendra Yogi, the progenitor of the form, presented a dance drama with boys from the village of Kuchipudi. Consciously they raised the form above the reach of Devdasi. The boys were committed to an annual presentation of the form and they passed on the techniques to the next generation. So a tradition and a form were born. The performer has to express through the language of gestures, speech and song. The Kuchipudi artiste, apart from being a dancer and an actor has to have a high proficiency in Sanskrit and Telegu languages, music and the texts of performance. Kuchipudi plays are performed in the open air on improvised stages at night. The sutradhar, or master of ceremonies plays an integral role introducing characters, providing humour and tying together the show. The fast paced nature of the form has made it a popular dramatic form. It is better known as a solo form today but the wheel has come full circle with group work, with experimental choreography much in demand.

MOHINI ATTAM Mohini Attam is one of the youngest Indian Classical dances. This form of dance came into its own by the 16th Century and was evolved under the patronage of Maharaja Swati Thirunal of Travancore (present day south Kerala).

Mohini means a maiden who excites desire and her dance is known as Mohini Attam. From the inception itself, Mohini Attam was conceived as a form of social diversion. The themes of the songs were both religious and social. In the matter of technical format, there are many similarities between Mohini Attam and Bharat Natyam and also the central motif of adavus (gestures) being the same. It is essentially a solo dance and performed by women with tender and graceful body movements belonging to the lasya style. The hand gestures play an important part as a communication medium. The costume comprises a white sari with gold ornaments on the neck, waist, wrists and a typical hair bun with flowers on the left side of the head. The dominant emotion in Mohini Attam is of shringara (love).

KATHAKALI Kerala presents to the country one of the most imposing and colourful spectacles of dance Kathakali. It is heroic, majestic and epic in character.

Though this form of art is not more than 300 years old, the actual roots can be traced to 1500 years earlier. It symbolises the blending of the Aryan and Dravidian cultures and is presumed to have evolved out of the various ancient theatre traditions of the region like Krishnattam, Ramanattam, Koodiyattam, Mudiyyetu and Teyyam. Mahakavi Vallathol of Cherutoorthi (Palakkad) contributed greatly in the revival of this art by forming Kalamandalam, the famous teaching institution, set up in the thirties.

Mostly based on the mythology and the themes of Ramayana and Mahabharata, a Kathakali performance opens with the thunder of drums, which invites the audiences. The performance lasts night long and till recently only men were allowed to perform even in female roles. Nowadays, though, many women have made their mark in this art form As a form of art, Kathakali is a sophisticated spectacle of the supernatural. ODISSI A dance form born in the state of Orissa, manifested in temple sculptures from 2nd century BC, practiced and enriched by the Devadasis or maharis (as the temple dancing girls are called in Orissa). With the construction of the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century, the practice of dedicating maharis in the service of the temple was initiated and continues to this day. At once sensuous and spiritual, it has the ability to portray erotic sentiments in a deeply reverential manner. Odissi is a highly stylised dance with tribhanga or the three-bend attitude of Hindu sculpture. The bhava or feeling is chaste and orthodox, with flashes of heightened dramatization. The accompanying music is pure and classical, with graces of both the Hindustani and the Carnatic styles. The instruments traditionally used are the mandala-drums, gini-small cymbals and the flute. Odissi has been restored to its rightful place only in the last few decades with the tireless work of Gurus like Pankaj Charan and Deba Prasad Das, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Mayadhar Raut .

MANIPURI The Manipuris have song and dance woven in to their lives and regard themselves as the descendents of the Gandharvas. Their love for dance reflects their rich lore of legend and mythology.

There is no authoritative record of the history of Manipur's dance and music prior to the 18th Century AD. However the lasting developments in technique and methods took place during the time of Jai Singh (1764-1789), who was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and a follower of Vaishnavism. Among the legendary and mythological tales, the Rasa Lila, dance performed by Shiva and Parvati and Lai Haraoba of Khamba and Thoibi the celebrated lovers, deserves special mention. In the Ras Lila, the movements are extremely graceful coupled with soft and light steps in which the heels never touch down. The dancers have a fixed angelic expression on their face. The costume is extremely colourful and glittering. Lai Haraoba is the oldest dance form of Manipur and belongs to the pre Vaishnava period. The dance style is diffused and meandering. The dancers make stylised hand and body movements, but the face remains blank. The steps are gentle yet powerful. Even today dancing remains a key element in the art and daily ritual of Manipur. KATHAK Kathaks were originally story tellers who used to dance to illustrate 'Kathas' or stories. They were attached to the temples of North India.

With the advent of Muslim rule, Kathak went from the temple to the courts. Consequently Kathak flowered as a form in the Hindu courts of Rajasthan and the Muslims courts of Delhi, Agra and Lucknow. Court patronage evolved Kathak into a highly technical and stylished art with emphasis on the solo performers and their virtuosity. Gradually, the two schools became distinctively different the Jaipur Gharana focussed on layakari, or rhythmic wizardly, while the Lucknow Gharana expounded bhava or moods and emotions. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was instrumental in the Lucknow Gharana's growth, ( Satyajit Ray's film Shatranj Ke Khilari, deals with the period). However, both schools have Radha & Krishna as their central theme. Rhythm, timing and so footwork are the main planks of Kathak. The musical accompaniment to the 200 ghungrus or bells on the dancer's feet, are the sarangi and the tabla. Kathak is a true fusion of the Hindu and Muslim genius in art and it the only Classical dance of North India.

CHHAU The etymoligal root of the word Chhau is traced to the Sanskrit Chhaya or shade, referring to the mask used by the dancers. Others aver, it is derived from the word 'Chauuni' where the pharikhanda (shield & sword) soldiers stayed.

The technique of the dance, infact, draws on steps and gait which have stemmed from the 'Pharikhanda System'. It is basically a martial dance where the mask holds the dominant Rasa while the body creates, projects, and develops the moods. Chhau has three schools as such, coming from Seraikella in Bihar, Mayurbhanj in Orissa and Purulia in West Bengal. While all the three Chhau forms are danced by men, Mayurbhanj uses no masks but the others do. The themes are based on mythology, everyday life, aspects of nature or just a mood or emotion. Purulia Chhau, however, has a single focus - good triumphs over evil. The music is based on Hindustani Ragas and the Accompaniment is with a Nagara, a huge kettledrum, Dhol, a cylindrical drum, and Shehnai or reed pipes. The strenuous nature of the dance restricts performances to brief periods, but in Purulia Chhau a single item could be a forty minutes and a performance, night long.

People and Lifestyles

In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian. According to five thousand years of recorded history. From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography. The food, clothing and habits of an Indian differ in accordance to the place of origin. Indians believe in sharing happiness and sorrow. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. The whole community or neighbourhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. A lot of festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id, Christmas, Mahaveer Jayanthi are all celebrated by sharing sweets and pleasantries with family, neighbours and friends. An Indian wedding is an occasion that calls for participation of the family and friends. Similarly, neighbours and friends always help out a family in times of need. Ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, eat the most diverse varieties of food all of which add to the rich Indian culture.The beauty of the Indian people lies in the spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a composition of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colours and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to the garden - India!

The Colourful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs - as diverse as the land, is an eternal expression of the spirit of celebration. Observed with enthusiasm and gaiety, festivals are like gems ornamenting the crown of Indian Culture. They are round the year vibrant interludes in the mundane routine of life. Every season brings along new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of the rich traditions followed for time immemorial. That's not all! The birthdays of Gods and Goddesses, saints and prophets, great historical happenings and the advent of the New Year, all find expression in colourful festivities. The same festival, though celebrated differently in the various parts of the country, exhibits an eternal harmony of the spirit of celebration. Packed with fun and excitement, festivals serve as an occasion to clean and decorate houses, to get together with friends and relatives and to exchange gifts. New attire, dance, music and rituals- all add to their joyful rhythm. It is a time for prayer, for pageantry and procession… a time to rejoice, in celebration of life. Fairs and Festivals Baisakhi - Punjab (April 14th) A rural festival of North India, marking the beginning of the solar year (New year), celebrated in Punjab with great fervour. For the Sikhs the day is a collective celebration of New Year along with the commemoration of the founding of the Khalsa Panth (Sikh brotherhood) by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. It also signifies the end of harvest of the main crop. During Baisakhi the farmers give 'thanks' to the Lord Almighty for their fortune and pray for a better crop the next year. Baisakhi involves a lot of socialising where friends and relatives are invited and delicious meals are served. The holy book of the Sikhs, 'Granth Sahib' is taken in a procession, led by the 'Panj Pyaras' (five senior Sikhs) who are symbolic of the original leaders. The occasion is celebrated with great gusto at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib and in the Golden temple in Amritsar. On Baisakhi day, water is drawn from all the sacred rivers of India and poured in to the huge tank surrounding the golden temple.

Fairs and Festivals Christmas - All Over India Christmas the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ, is celebrated in India with great fervor all over India by the Christians. People decorate their houses, erect Christmas trees, make cribs with figures of baby Jesus, Mother Mary, Joseph, the three kings who come to visit the baby and shepherd boys and their herds grazing around depicting the scenes of Jesus's Birth in the Bible. They decorate the Christmas tree, hang stars, gifts and illuminate them. On the Christmas day, people enjoy a sumptuous Christmas lunch. Christmas cakes and wine are served to visitors and exchanged as gifts among friends and relatives. Christmas celebrations vary in different parts of India. In some parts, small clay oilburning lamps, mango leaves etc are used as Christmas decorations and mango and banana trees are decorated. All the major Indian cities wear a festive look. Shops and bazaars are decorated for the occasion and offer attractive bargains. Carol singing, get-togethers and the exchanging of gifts enhance the Christmas spirit. Christmas parties launch off celebrations for the New year, thus retaining the festive mood for at least a week.

Fairs and Festivals

Dussehra - All over India

Dussehra This Hindu festival is celebrated all over India to mark the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. Dussehra symbolises the triumph of good over evil. The 'Ramlila' - an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day, larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son and brother -Meghnath and Kumbhakarna, are set alight. In Himachal Pradesh, a week -long fair in the hill town of Kullu, is a part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in procession to the 'maidan' in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji. In Mysore, South India the Mysore palace is illuminated for a whole month during Dusshera and caparisoned elephants lead a colourful procession through the gaily-decorated streets of the city. A torch light parade and dance and musical events enliven the tranquil city.

Diwali Diwali, or Deepavali, perhaps the best-known Hindu festival, marks the end of the season that opens with Dussehra. Diwali is celebrated throughout India, as well as in Indian communities throughout the diaspora. It usually takes place eighteen days after Dusshera in October/November. Diwali is called the "festival of lights", and the name itself means an array of lamps (Deep = Lamp, Vali =Array). Indeed, illumination is characteristic of Diwali. The array of lamps are symbolic of welcoming Lord Rama back to Ayodhya after his 14 years of exile, and the common practice is to light small oil lamps, diyas, and place them around the house. Diwali is celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs. The first day is Dhanteras. The word dhan means wealth, and as such, this day has special significance for the rich mercantile community (especially of Western India). Believing this day to be auspicious, women purchase some gold or silver or new utensils. The second day is Narka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. This commemorates the victory

of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasur, or the divine over the mundane. A traditional oil bath before sunrise is a must, especially in Maharashtra. The third day is the most important day of Lakshmi Puja or Chopda Puja. This day is regarded as the most auspicious. It is believed that on this day Lakshmi walks around and showers her blessings on man for plenty and prosperity. One of the most curious customs, especially in North India, is the practice of gambling on a large scale. It is believed that goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiva, on this day and she decreed that whoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuring year. The fourth day is Padwa or Varshapratipada, which marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya. Vikram Samvat, the Hindu calender, was started from this day. This day is regarded as the start of a new year according to the Hindu calendar. This day is looked upon as the most auspicious day to start any new venture. The fifth and final day is called Bhaiya Duj in the Hindi-speaking belt and Bhau Beej in the Marathi-speaking community. Like Raksha Bandhan, it is a day for brothers and sisters, and on this day, brothers go to their sisters' houses for a special meal. In South India and in the business community, Diwali is more associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and the consort of Lord Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu pantheon. In rural areas, it is celebrated mainly as a harvest festival. If there is one occasion that is full of joy and jubilation for all, it is Deepavali. Homes are spring-cleaned and decorated. Even the humblest of huts is lit by a row of earthen lamps. Celebration is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. Multi-coloured rangoli designs and floral decorations adorn the entrance of most homes. South Indians start their day with an oil bath. Diwali has the same importance for Hindus as Christmas does for Christians.

Ganesh Chaturthi - Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala

Ganesh Chaturthi Ganesh or Vinayaka Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh (son of Shiva), the elephant -headed god of all good beginnings and success. The festival celebrated as the birth day of Lord Ganesha, held annually in South India especially with great fervor in Maharashtra, is a ten day long event. On the occasion of the Ganapati festival, a large number of idols are made of clay or metal in all possible sizes sometimes even up to twenty feet. People buy them and install them in their houses and worship the idol for one to ten days, after which the idol are taken out ceremoniously, carried in a procession through the streets of the town (especially in Maharashtra) and immersed into the river, sea or well. The sea front at Mumbai, packed with people, is a spectacular sight. A cultural feast is held to coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra especially at Pune. Classical dance, music performances, poetry recitations, folk dances, theatre and film festival are the main features of this festival. Goa Carnival - Goa February heralds the carnival at Goa. For three days and nights the streets come alive with colour. Held in mid February the weeklong event is a time for lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, graceful dances and of non-stop festivity. One of the more famous of the Indian Carnivals the Goa Festival is a complete sell out in terms of tourism capacities. Fairs and Festivals Holi - All over India Holi, the most lively of all Hindu festivals is observed all over North India, which falls on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (March) according to the Hindu Lunar calendar. It heralds the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring and marks the rekindling of the spirit of life. It is a festival of joy when all is forgiven and it is a time to break free.

The night before full moon, crowds of people gather together and light huge bonfires to burn the residual dried leaves and twigs of the winter. People throw coloured powders at each other and make merry. People, young and old are drenched with colours being poured from atop the houses, bursting balloons, or long pistons. Singing and dancing add to the gaiety of the occasion. In Anandpur Sahib, Sikhs celebrate a special festivalHola Mohalla on the day after Holi. The display of ancient martial arts and mock battles, are part of this unique Sikh festival. The Holi celebrations in Mathura and the small towns of Braj Bhoomi - the land of Sri Krishna, are spectacular. The Rang Gulal Festival is celebrated for over a week with exuberant processions, songs and music. Especially famous is the Lathmaar Holi of Barsana and Nandgaon.

Independence Day - All over India Commemorating the day India attained freedom (15th August), Independence Day is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes in the state capitals.

The Prime Minister's speech at the Red Fort in Delhi is the major highlight. The Delhi skylinen gets dotted with thousands of kites taking to the sky this very day. Fairs and Festivals Navaratri - All over India

Navratri / Dassera Navaratri is the longest Hindu festival celebrated all over India for nine consecutive nights in praise of Lord Rama (Hero of the Epic Ramayana) and Goddess Durga. Continuous chanting from the great epic 'Ramayana', along with evening performances from the episodes of his life are held for nine days. On the 10th day falls Vijayadashami or Dussehra. Navaratri is a combination of many concepts, with the common theme of the victory of good over evil. One concept is that Vijayadashami or Dusshera is celebrated on the day Rama kills Ravana. Another concept is that, Durga, goddesses of power and vitality who is believed to have nine forms called Navadurga, takes a new form on each of the nine days (celebrated as Durga Puja) with the arsenal of weapons to ride a lion and fight the demon Mahishasura. The 10th day on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil. Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the goddesses, seeking her blessing in order to overpower the evil force of Ravana, the abductor of his beloved Sita. The most joyous celebration of Navaratri is seen in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Bengal. In Gujarat, every night people gather in courtyards to dance the Garba and Dandiya Raas, a community dance in which men and women dressed in festive clothes dancing in pairs with Dandiya or painted wooden sticks.

Pushkar Fair - Pushkar, Rajasthan

Pushkar Mela This fair is held at Pushkar town, 11 km from Ajmer in Rajasthan for twelve days annually. This cultural and trade cum religious fair is an attractive and lively spectacle with Rajasthani men and women in their colourful traditional attire, saffron-robed and ash smeared Sadhus (holy men) and thousands of bulls, cows, sheep, goats, horses and camels in richly decorated saddles. Perhaps the largest cattle fair in the world, it attracts more than one lakh people, from all over Rajasthan as well as tourists from different parts of India and abroad.

Pushkar Mela

Trading of cattle, camel races and dazzling displays of bangles, brassware, clothes, camel saddles and halters make the fair colourful. Necklaces of glass beads from Naguar, pottery, printed textiles from Jodhpur and Ajmer are all on sale here. Farmers, cattle traders and breeders buy and sell their animals, leather whips, saddles etc. There are facilities for camel rides also. This livestock fair coincides with the climaxing of a religious celebration. Pushkar is among the five main places of pilgrimage mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. It has a large number of temples including one of the only two temples dedicated to Lord Brahma in India. Hundreds of thousands of devotees take a ritual dip in the holy Pushkar lake on the day of the Kartik Purnima (full moon night of the Kartika month) and worship at the Brahma temple (Jagat Pita Shri Brahma Mandir). Pilgrims flock from all over India to be in Pushkar at this auspicious time. They also believe that all the 330 million Gods and Goddesses are present at Pushkar Lake during the occasion. Apart from the religious rituals and trading, people participate in a number of cultural and sporting events. The sweeping expanse of the desert becomes dotted with thousands of camels, stalls and camping families. The Rajasthan tourism Development Corporation has taken adequate measures to facilitate convenient access of the fair site and to accommodate the fairgoers.

The Indian cuisine boasts of an immense variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala - a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stewtype dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice. Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs sharply from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but the same can be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation. The unique and strong flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavour. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices. In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavour and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.

Languages

India is a land of a variety of linguistic communities, each of which share a common language and culture. Though there could be fifteen principal languages there are hundreds of thousands dialects that add to the vividness of the country. 18 languages are officially recognized in India of which Sanskrit and Tamil share a long history of more than 5,000 and 3,000 years respectively. The population of people speaking each language varies drastically. For example Hindi has 250 million speakers, while Andamanese is spoken by relatively fewer people. Tribal or Aboriginal language speaking population in India may be more than some of the European languages. For instance Bhili and Santali both tribal languages have more than 4 million speakers. The vividness can be ascertained by the fact that schools in India teach more than 50 different languages; there are Films in 15 languages, Newspapers in 90 or more languages and radio programmes in 71 languages! Indian languages come from four distinct families, which are: Indo-European, Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of Indian population uses Indo-European and Dravidian languages. The language families divide India geographically too. Indo-European languages dominate the northern and central India while in south India; mainly languages of Dravidian origin are spoken. In eastern India languages of MonKhmer group is popular. Sino Tibetan languages are spoken in the northern Himalayas and close to Burmese border. In terms of percentage, 75% of Indian population speaks languages of Indo-European family, 23% speak languages of Dravidian origin and about 2% of the population speaks Mon-Khmer languages and Sino-Tibetan languages.

Adventure Sports

Blessed with snow-clad peaks, crystal glaciers, rolling meadows and ski slopes, beautiful valleys, meandering and roaring rivers, gushing waterfalls, thick forests rich in wildlife, swampy deltas, long coastlines and magical moonscapes - India has something for everyone looking for adventure. Adventure< Water Sports The Himalayas offer you some of the toughest and most exciting river runs in the world. River sports in the rapids are the most popular, throughout the summers and can really get your adrenaline pumping. The innumerable fresh water streams and lakes in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are ideal for angling and trout fishing. The coastal regions provide excellent opportunities for water sports like water skiing, wind surfing, yachting, snorkelling and scuba diving. Further south you can enjoy water adventures along both the west and the east coasts of India. The islands of Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Indian Ocean are virtually untouched and are some of the best spots for scuba diving and snorkelling. The beaches of Goa and Kerala also offer other sporting opportunities like water skiing, wind surfing and sailing. The West coast offers sailing in Mumbai, Goa and the lakes around Pune. White Water Rafting, Kayaking, Snorkelling or Scuba Diving if there is a concept of water sport in Adventure you can find it in this country. Along the length and breadth of the country the water bodies be it the rivers, lakes or the seas, present themselves as treasure troves of adventure waiting to be explored.

Rafting and Kayaking White Water Rafting - Many a river in the country specially the North Indian Rivers present themselves as a collection of the best white water in the world within a small geographical location (taking in to account only North India). A number of Lakes in the Kumaon Region and The Ganga with its upper tributaries (Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and various other smaller tributaries) can be hailed as the Queen of the White Water Rafting Industry. The Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters (IAPRO - website www.iapro.org) is the nodal body that coordinates and controls the white water rafting operations in the country with the help and support of active white water rafting outfitters in the country. All rafting outfitters must have a mandatory permission from the state tourism departments for running operations on any river in the country. White Water rafting in India can be broadly classified in to two categories namely, Day trips (a few hours of fun) or Multiple Day / Expedition runs. Day trips are offered on the following rivers Ganga - Uttaranchal Beas - Himachal Pradesh Braham Putra - Assam Teesta - Sikkim Kaveri - Karnataka

The rivers for expeditions in the country are classified as follows Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Maha Kali, Sarda, Saryu, Yamuna - Uttaranchal Sutlej - Himachal Pradesh Zanskar, Indus - J&K Brahamputra - Assam Teesta - Sikkim Lohit - Arunanchal Pradesh Please check out the IAPRO website to locate an outfitter to help you with planning and executing the program. Apart from these rivers many other rivers are also available for expeditions but a lot depends on the available resources with the outfitters. Chenab in J&K and Pindar in Uttaranchal are some of the other rivers that fit the expedition bill just waiting to hit it bigtime. Kayaking White Water Kayaking & White water kayaking courses - Most licensed outfitters can organise an introductory course on White Water Kayaking at their riverside camps on the Ganges. Rishikesh is your best bet if you want to learn with good instructors and good

equipment as majority of the knowledge base in the white water scenarios is concentrated in Rishikesh and nearby reaches of 40 odd Kilometers upstream on the Ganges. Still water Kayaking in lakes - Many a lakes in Kumaon Region are well suited for Lake Kayaking.

Wildlife In India

East South

West Central

North Project Tiger

India is home to a rich diversity of wildlife supplemented by an equally rich variety of flora and fauna. The sight and sounds of a majestic elephant, a peacock’s dance, the stride of a camel, the roar of a tiger are unparalleled experiences in themselves. Watching birds and animals in their natural habitats is an experience in itself. The country offers immense opportunities for wildlife tourism. The immense heritage of wildlife in India comprises of more than 70 national parks and about 400 wildlife sanctuaries including the bird sanctuaries. A paradise for the nature lovers, these forest areas are also crucial for the conversation of the endangered species like the Leopard, Lion, Asiatic Elephant, the Bengal tiger and Siberian Crane. Spread across the length and breadth of India, these reserves and forest areas, right from the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to the Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar, from the foothills of Himalayas, the Jim Corbett National Park to six national parks in Andaman; the Indian Wildlife circuit is an Incredible treat, unmatched by any other experience. Elephant, Deer, Panther, Wild buffalo, Wild ass, the one horned Rhinoceros, Porcupine, Snow leopards etc are some of the animals you can sport in The Himalayan region. India harbours eighty percent of the entire population of the one horned rhinoceros in the world. The Kaziranga Game Sanctuary is an ideal habitat for the rhino and a popular destination with the naturalists and environmentalists as well as the wildlife traveller.

The Great Indian Bustard and blackbuck of the Karera Sanctuary also attract a lot of tourists. The Madhav National Park originally called the Shivpuri National Park is

another rich habitat for the wildlife in close proximity to the historical town of Gwalior and being close to a often visited cultural and heritage destination enjoys its fare share of tourism inflow. The Corbett National Park one of the most popular National Parks in the northern region for the wildlife enthusiast as well as the holiday makers is changing the way wildlife tourism. These National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are promoters of wildlife tourism in India. To Top India has its fair share of Tiger Reserves. India’s National Animal, the tiger happens to be a symbol of strength and speed. India boasts of two-dozen Tiger Reserves. The fastest mammal on Earth, the tiger happens to be the joy and pride of India. The Royal Bengal tiger is amongst the most majestic species of the tiger. Sixty percent of the total population of the wild tigers in the world resides in India. Amongst the best-known tiger reserves in India is the Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. It is often referred to as the crown in the wildlife heritage of India. Tourists at Bandhavgarh can spot Royal Bengal Tigers, cheetals, leopard, gaur, sambhar, and many more faunal species. The highly successful Project Tiger has shown once again that man can only undo in small ways the loss and destruction of natural habitat due to continuous growth and expansion of the population. Indian wildlife has its share of native birds along with the migratory birds. Several hundred species of birds can be spotted across India. The Himalayan region is well known to be the natural habitat for the Pheasant, griffon vulture and ravens. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park popularly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in the Indian state of Rajasthan, in close proximity of Delhi, is home to indigenous water birds, waterside birds, migratory water birds, land migratory birds, and domestic land species. Tourists from far and wide are attracted to the Bird Sanctuary. At the Dudhwa wildlife reserve migratory birds like Egrets, herons, storks and cormorants share space with the ducks, gees and teals. The region of Andaman is home for the rare species of birds like the Narcondum hornbill, Nicobar Pigeon and the Megapode.

Caving

Caving is not yet a popular sport in India. But that doesn't mean there aren't good sites to explore. Many places in Central and Northern and North Eastern India allow safe caving experiences. The scientific activity of studying, exploring and mapping caves is called Speleology. The recreational pursuit is called caving in Australia but is called potholing and spelunking in other parts of the world. It is a very popular pastime, which allows cavers to safely experience the underground world. Caves are very sensitive and fragile environments. Thus cavers need to take the utmost care when entering caves to view and experience the amazing structures such as stalagmites and stalactites, columns, shawls, straws and flowstones. Meghalaya, in the North East of India has immense opportunities for the enthusiasts. There are around 780 caves near Cherrapunji and Shillong and in the Garo and Jaintia

Trekking You can trek for one day or one month; backpack all your gear and wonder off in the wilderness or stroll comfortably with just a shoulder bag, water bottle and camera whilst animals transport your camping gear, heavy baggage and logistic loads. You may set a challenging pace and go over difficult grades and high passes or just amble along, enjoying the wild flowers, magnificent scenery, uncomplicated lives of people staying close to nature, stopping when you please, chatting with your companions, forging new relationships and hoarding a fund of fascinating memories to cherish. India is the ultimate destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short and easy excursions to the long challenges of the snowy peaks, invoking visions of the spectacular Himalayas, the lush meadows, green woodland and fragrant orchards. The captivating landscape, with an incomparable diversity of flora and fauna: India is regarded as the 'trekkers' paradise' and, indeed, is a refreshing treat to the trekkers. Make sure you do enough research and are adequately prepared for the trek. A good guide on unknown routes is much of a blessing. Many agencies will organise treks and complete logistics if you plan with them a little in advance and an organised trek leaves one time to enjoy the trek in totality. The following table by no means and exhaustive one gives a brief insight in to the trekking possibilities in the Indian Himalaya and other places in India

State

Names of Treks offered

Sonamarg - Wangat, Srinagar- Daksum- Kishtwar, Pahalgam To Kolahoi Glacier & Tar Sar, Panikhar To Heniskot Via The Kanji LaPahalgam To Sumbal Kashmir Via Sonamous Pass, Pahalgam - Sonamarg,Pahalgam To Suru Valley (Ladakh) Via Boktol Pass, Sonamarg - Amarnath The Kuari Pass, Gaumukh and Tapovan, Har ki Doon and Ruinsara Tal, Rupin Pass and Kinnaur, Roop Kund and Hom Kund, Dodital and Yamunotri, Kalhindi Khal (Trans Himalayan), Valley of Flowers, Kaakbhishyundi Tal, Uttaranchal Pindari, Kafni and Sunderdunga Glaciers, Chandra Shilla Summit, Milam Glacier and Nanda Devi Sanctuary, Darma Valley (Trans Himalayan), Chotta Kailash, Bander Poonch Peak, Khatling Glacier, Vasuki Tal, Panch Kedar Hampta Pass and Lahaul, Deo Tibba Base, Chandrakhani Pass and Malana, Pin Parvati and Spiti, Bara Bhangal, Indrahaar Pass, Kareri lake, Mani Himachal PradeshMahesh Kailash, Kugti Pass and Lahaul, Chandratal and Baralacha La, Tarik La and Kinnaur, Bachleo Pass, Kinner Kailash Leh & Ladakh Markha Valley, Hidden Valleys of Laddakh, Singge La and Lamayuru, Remote Zanskar, Phugtal Gompa and Shingo La, Phitse La and Baralacha La, Kang La and Miyar Glacier, Umasi La, Kanji La and Shilakong Gorge, Padum to Leh via Cha Cha La, Rubrang La & Markha Valley, Padum to Daracha via Shingo la, Padum to Daracha via Phitse La & Baralacha La, Padum To Lamayuru Via Singge La, Padum to Manali via Umasi La, Lamayuru to Chilling via Dung Dung La, Padum-Thonde-Zangla-Karsha Gompa- Padum Roundtrip, Spitok to Hemis via the Markha Valley, Padum - Phutchal Gompa, Chadar Ice Trek, Indus Valley Trek, Spiti To Ladakh, The Rupshu Trek, The Great Salt Lakes Of Changtang,

The Nubra Valley Trek, Manali Ladakh Trek

Sikkim/ Darjeeling Karnataka Maharashtra Orissa Kerala

Dzongri and Guicha La, Singalila Ridge and Phalut Kudremukh, Yana caves Trekking in Sahayadris, Trekking in Waki Woods, Trekking in in Karla Caves Gandhamardan Hill Trek, Mahendragiri Hill Trek, Nilgiri Hill Trek Agastyarkoodam, Chembra Peak, Pythal Mala

Mountaineering

Mountaineering Expeditions

Training

The Himalayas, a dream for any mountaineer and the most cherished mountain system in the world that also is the home to the highest peak on the planet runs from the extreme north of the country and extends all the way up to the eastern most state, Arunachal Pradesh. The biggest adventure playground in the world -the Himalaya provides ample opportunities for the adventure enthusiast from all over the world to try their luck and immortalise their names by climbing some of the toughest and highest peaks. With more

than 100 peaks above 6000 mtrs (some of them yet unclimbed) the Himalaya promises every climber their share of adventure, which lures them to the mountains. Mountaineering is a serious activity undertaken with the primary goal of reaching a mountain's summit. Unlike trekking or hiking it requires a high degree of fitness and experience especially above the permanent snowline (i.e. above 5200 m). Even more than other adventure sporting enthusiasts, mountaineers recognise that they run a high level of risk of personal injury. The Himalayan mountain range is home to some of the highest mountains of the world and many serious climbers seek to conquer peaks each year. Starting from Delhi, Lucknow, Calcutta or Bombay, the mountain road heads in Garhwal and Kumaon can be usually reached within two to five days. In view of the height and distance of the Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas, many available peaks can be attempted within a period of four to five weeks from Delhi. Seasons : The mountaineering season tends to be concentrated during April-November. A number of climbs are also being attempted in winter. Grade : Mountaineering routes are graded according to the degree of difficulty and accessibility. Prior medical examination is essential. The permanent snow line generally being in the region of 5,250 m, the degree of difficulty of mountaineering routes can broadly be defined as :

Moderate : Requiring knowledge of basic mountaineering techniques. < Advanced : For this category of peaks it is necessary to be in high-grade physical condition and to possess advanced mountaineering skills. Within this category further demarcation is possible till the highest degrees of difficulty. The difference between the various grades of difficulty is thus based essentially on the required techniques concerning rock, snow, ice and rescue. Equipments : Can be hired from clubs or purchased from one of the agencies selling it. Places where equipment is available for hiring: Muni-ki-Reti, UttarKashi, Joshimath Gangotri, Purola, Chopta, Ukhimath Ghuttu. Peak booking fees, Inner Line restrictions, import of equipment, camera permits, insurance, medical attention and evacuation procedure have been laid down in detail by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation based in Delhi. This is the national apex coordinating body for the sport in India. Mountaineering Expeditions All expeditions have to be cleared by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. Expeditions

are graded according to level of difficulty and must be accompanied by a liaison officer provided by the government, at the expedition's expense. Applications must be submitted at least six months in advance to the Indian government. The IMF also maintains a list of available peaks, peak booking fees, access restrictions, medical aid, rescue, weather forecasting and other information pertinent to climbing a peak. The IMF office is at the University of Delhi's south campus. It also has a reference library, documentation centre, museum and climbing wall.

Aero Sports

Just like on the land, there are numerous adventure opportunities in the air too. Man has for times immemorial, yearned to glide and soar like a bird in the sky. Parasailing and Paragliding are indeed, experiences that combine the wonder of smooth sailing in the air and the thrill of soaring high above the ground. Once in the air, you experience the ethereal serenity of the sport. It is an experience that is, surprisingly, thrilling as well as becalming. In India some of the major aero sports that adventure lovers would love to indulge in include,Ballooning, Para Gliding and Hang Gliding. Even amateurs can indulge in these sports, with a proper orientation. There are many government sports institutes and sports clubs in India that organize training courses for Para gliding and hand gliding. Tourism organizations in various states of India also organize sports events and competitions to promote these air sports. Be it ballooning, hang gliding or para gliding, India offers excellent locations and facilities at Kangra, Dasauli, Dharamasala, Shimla, Pune, Mhow, Indore, Mysore, Udhagamandalam and Shillong. Float over the mountains ... soar higher on every current of air... hang-glide in the mountains and valleys of Kashmirand Himachal Pradesh, the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu, the Chamudi hills of Karnataka and the hills of Shillongin Meghalaya. Except for the monsoon season, Para Gliding and Hang Gliding are safe throughout the year.

Camel Safaris Camel Safaris

Important Tips

Fundamental facts

Bikaner

Mandawa

Rajasthan, India's westernmost state is the very essence of exotic India. You can see Rajasthan on a jeep safari. Or, if you've a penchant for the high life, aboard the "Palace on Wheels", the luxury train. But to really get a hands-on feel of the desert state, nothing comes close to a camel safari. Climb up on one of these seemingly ungainly beasts, hang on for dear life, and let the good times roll, for the Ship of the Desert walks in a way which would certainly remind any sailor of a rolling, pitching deck in turbulent waters! When to go - Winters are the best time for a camel safari. Rajasthan's summers are almost unbearably hot and dry, so going on a camel safari during this time is virtually impossible. November to March, when days are cool (and nights cold!) is when most camel safaris are organised. What to bring - Woollens are a necessary part of packing. Desert nights can get very cold, so it's essential to take along warm sweaters and jackets. Although mattresses are usually provided by whoever's organising the camel safari, you'll need to carry bedding - a warm sleeping bag is recommended. During the daytime, the sun can be blistering, so make sure you get your hat, a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen lotion. Carry a first aid kit along with you, as well as any other essentials you might need - out there in the desert, trying to find a shop can be a problem. It's a good idea to carry along extra blankets to cover the wooden saddle, which you'll probably be sitting on. Blankets are excellent padding, and can protect you from a sore bottom after a hard day's riding. Getting there - Most camel safaris start from Jaisalmer, which is connected by air, train and road to the rest of India. Rajasthan's capital, Jaipur, is also a convenient base for exploring the state, whether on camel or otherwise. Jaipur has a well-connected airport, as well as regular train and bus links to a number of cities across India. All camel-safari towns in Rajasthan, such as Bikaner and Mandawa, are connected by road to Jaipur. Buses run between all the major towns of the state, and private cars or taxis can be hired to do the trip. Fundamental facts A large number of travel agents and tour operators in Rajasthan organise camel safaris. Most of these are in the vicinity of Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Ossian and Khimsar, and stretch

from anywhere between 2 to 7 days, with longer ones of up to a month. Shorter, daylong camel safaris, which just about give you a glimpse of the desert, are also organised. The majority of camel safaris start from the desert fort town of Jaisalmer. In most cases, one camel is provided per person, and a camel cart accompanies the entourage, laden with food, utensils and other supplies; it's also an option for anyone who gets sick of sitting on a lurching camel. Tents, food, mineral water, mattresses and an escort are invariably provided, and most operators will also make sure you get a full dose of local entertainment in the evenings. For longer camel safaris, which cover a few days, camps are usually set up at night in the vicinity of villages. Among the more popular circuits for camel safaris are: Jaisalmer Bikaner Mandawa Jaisalmer 1. Jaisalmer-Badabagh- Baisakhai- Ramkunda- Roopsi- Ludharva- Chatrayil- SalkhaBeri of Kanoi- Masooradi- Jeseiri- Dedha- Deegasar- Kuldhara- Moolsagar- AmarsagarJaisalmer This route is really one of the longest camel safaris in the state; a number of shorter versions of it are available, if you don't have the time or the inclination to go the whole hog. 2. Jaisalmer- Moolsagar- Kuldhara- Masooradi- Padiyari- Moondardi- Jaisalmer An abridged version of the first camel safari, this one starts from Jaisalmer, and passes through Moolsagar, Kuldhara and Masooradi, before proceeding to Padiyari and then to the hamlet of Moondardi. From Moondardi, the safari heads back to Jaisalmer. A short trip, but enjoyable enough, especially for someone who doesn't have the time to spare for a longer expedition. To Top Bikaner 1.Bikaner- Naukh- Kanasar- Baru- Chayan- Sataya- Tadana- Mohangarh- DungriJaisalmer: This route starts at Bikaner, where you can see the magnificent old Junagarh fort and the lovely Lalgarh Palace, before you get on to your camel and set off. The camel safari works its way southwards, passing through the hamlets of Naukh, Kansar, Baru, Chayan, Sataya and Tadana to Mohangarh. Mohangarh, although a small town, is dominated by an imposing sandstone fortress, which deserves a visit. From the town, the trail continues to Dungri and then onto Jaisalmer, where it ends. 2. Bikaner- Charkhada- Teliyan ki Dhani- Kanasar- Baru Bhala- Bungri- TelansarChaku- Bharaiya- Jambo- Jaisalmer

Another of the Bikaner-Jaisalmer camel safaris, but one that follows a different route. This one starts at Bikaner, and instead of heading directly south to Jaisalmer, makes a detour eastward into the neighbouring district of Jodhpur. Passing through the villages of Charkhada, Teliyan ki Dhani, Kanasar, Baru Bhala, Telansar, Chaku and Bharaiya along the way, the camel safari reaches the hamlet of Jambo, in Jodhpur district. From Jambo, it turns westward and goes to Jaisalmer, where it ends. Mandawa Mandawa-Dhakas-Khotia-Mandawa: This camel safari is one of the shortest offered and though it's not full of exotica, it allows you a brief but enlightening glimpse of life in one of India's harshest but loveliest terrains. These are just a few of the more popular routes; other camel safaris are organised throughout Rajasthan. Some, like the ones above, originate in Jaisalmer, Bikaner or Mandawa, while others traverse the area around Jodhpur and Shekhavati, the latter rich with fresco-decorated havelis. Camel safaris like the ones in the vicinity of Jaisalmer and Shekhavati offer plenty of scope for touring medieval forts, visiting ancient temples and photographing some of Rajasthan's most imposing monuments. The ones around Bikaner are, on the contrary, more suited for a glimpse of typical village life. You probably won't see too many famous forts or palaces on these circuits, but it's a grand opportunity to get a taste of rural Rajasthan. All major hotels and travel agents in the areas book Camel Safaris. You can get in touch with your travel agent or your hotel for an enjoyable trip.

Desert

India offers immense climatic diversity and topographical varieties. Deserts form the backdrop of many a legend in India, and in the present times, are touted as destinations of tourist interest. The Thar or Great Indian Desert is an arid region (800 km) long and (400 km) wide, in North West of India and East of Pakistan, between the Indus and Sutlej river valleys on the west and the Aravali Range on the east. Largely a desolate region of shifting sand dunes, broken rocks, and scrub vegetation, it receives an annual average rainfall of less than 25 cm. The sparsely populated region has a pastoral economy. Through the extension of canals fed with Sutlej and Beas waters, irrigation has reclaimed some land for agriculture along the northern and western edges. Nothing can prepare the visitor for the sheer magic and brilliance of the desert cities of Rajasthan. The camel rides on the sand dunes are an unforgettable experience as are the sunsets. These places boast of some very fine reminders of the glorious past - palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical value and

unforgettable treat for any visitor. Explore the enigmatic desert of Rajasthan that will mystify your mind with its beauty and vastness. The gateway to the great Indian Thar desert through Jodhpur will take enchant you with a vast waste dotted with shifting sand dunes and sparse hamlets with cenotaphs called 'Chattris'. At Jaisalmer in the heart of the desert the majestic golden fort is a memorable sight as is the camel ride at nearby Sam. Equally enchanting are the forts at Bikaner and Madwa, which drifts your mind to the medieval times. Rajasthan Jodhpur Jaisalmer Bikaner Barmer

Rajasthan still retains an elusive fairy-tale character. It is a land where tales of valour of its medieval Rajput warriors are still sung by its travelling bards. Rajasthan is the 'Land of the King'. Opulent palaces dot the desert landscape and battle-scarred fortresses appear on every hill like sentinels of the past. Here, folk culture still retains all its colour and vivacity with exuberant celebrations of fairs and festivals, a music that echoes across the desert emptiness and a tradition of craftsmanship with a highly developed aesthetic sense. Begin your desert adventure at Jodhpur, a fortress-city at the edge of the Thar Desert. Then travel to Jaisalmer to see its unforgettable golden fortress. The trade route outpost of Bikaner still retains a medieval flavour and the route to Barmer will take you through typical Rajasthani villages.

Eco-tourism is more than a catch phrase for nature loving travel and recreation. Ecotourism is consecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the world's natural and cultural environments. It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it is operating in. Responsibility of both travellers and service providers is the genuine meaning for eco-tourism. Eco-tourism also endeavours to encourage and support the diversity of local economies for which the tourism-related income is important. With support from tourists, local services and producers can compete with larger, foreign companies and local families can support themselves. Besides all these, the revenue produced from tourism helps and encourages governments to fund conservation projects and training programs. Saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries and forest life, that's what eco-tourism is all about. Whether it's about a nature camp or organizing trekking trips towards the unspoilt and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create any mishap or disturbance in the life cycle of nature. Eco-tourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary

attractions. Responsible Eco-tourism includes programs that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water reuse, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities are an integral part of Eco-tourism. Historical, biological and cultural conservation, preservation, sustainable development etc. are some of the fields closely related to Eco-Tourism. Many professionals have been involved in formulating and developing eco-tourism policies. They come from the fields of Geographic Information Systems, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Photography, Marine Biology and Oceanography, National and State Park Management, Environmental Sciences, Women in Development, Historians and Archaeologists, etc. Eco-tourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product, 11.4% of all consumer spending not a market to be taken lightly.

What is Eco-tourism? Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a place. This is responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development. The International Eco-tourism Society defines eco-tourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." This means that those who implement and participate in Eco-tourism activities should follow the following principles: Minimize impact Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts Provide direct financial benefits for conservation Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate Support international human rights and labour agreements

Aware of the Environment - Today the "Green Laws" of conservation are making people aware of how man and the environment can live symbiotically for more time to come and eco-tourism is the only way to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. Everyone is a stakeholder in the process and we clearly need to avoid our past shortcomings and negative impact that they have had.

MICE

India is not just one of the world's oldest civilizations, it is also the world's largest democracy, and has made stupendous progress among developing nations. India's impressive variety of history and culture, from the ancient Gangetic Kingdoms to the present state, harmoniously blend to form a unique atmosphere in over a million square kilometers of scenic sights. A continent-sized country, India possesses an amazing wealth of sights and sounds, tastes and textures. From a bustling cosmopolitan city to the quiet countryside, hill station or a beach resort, India has destinations, which offer a backdrop

of unmatched beauty for a business meet. You will find a fascinating amalgam of tradition & culture, beauty & nature, style & splendour, warmth, feelings & courtesies, comfort & convenience virtually everything the modern conference organiser or delegate could expect. Conferences here bring fresh meaning of the concept of combining work with pleasure.

What makes India different from any other destination is the myriad of experiences that it offers. This is one land where the ancient and the modern co-exist. India has literally everything that a visitor wants to experience and offers people a complete holiday both physical and mental. This is perhaps the reason why we have so many repeat visitors. To quote Mark Twain, "India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India." Amidst the countless ways that India can capture world attention as a tourist paradise, there also exists a dynamic business opportunity as a splendid venue for international conferences and conventions of no less than global standards.

India is undoubtedly a unique Conference Destination as it offers cultural and heritage sites, the exotic and mystical, excellent facilities of beach and adventure holidays which can be combined as pre and post conference tours. Enchanting India's image as a conference destination is also projected through the chains of Hotels, providing international standards in facilities and services. Exclusive business hotels and exotic resorts, with meeting rooms of distinction, spacious convention facilities, modern business centres and a wide range of conference facilities.

India is in a continual process of upgrading its MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) facilities. There are multiple plans on the anvil for more world-class

convention centers, airports that contest with the best in the world and efforts to team the famous Indian hospitality with customisation as per a visitor's requirement. You could also offer the credit to the world class incentive programs, her ability to heal spiritually, her unmatched offering as a health destination or continually improved infrastructure facilities that over 3 million foreign tourists thronged her this year generating over US $30 billion as revenue, even as most other preferred hotspots marked a decline in their tourism graphs.

The inbound MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) segment is growing at 15 to 20% annually. It is estimated that the total national and international MICE meetings market all over the world is in excess of $270 billion. According to industry estimates, the Indian in-bound MICE market in first seven months in 2004 was $20 million, which is 40% more than the same period last year. India ranks 27th in the Global Meetings market. The Infrastructure - India provides an impressive combination of accommodation and other conference support facilities to hold a successful Conference. To mention a few; Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Centre Point, Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Mumbai, the BM Birla Science and Technology Centre in Jaipur, the Jaypee Hotels & International Convention Centre, Agra and the Cochin Convention Centre, Kochi etc together with facilities in the business hotels and resorts at various centers in the country.

India is going the global way and MICE is fast becoming a major part of its travel and promotional budgets. In the Indian context, incentives is at present the largest component of MICE but in a maturing market, it's only a matter of time before the entire gamut of MICE activities are undertaken by the Indian corporate world.

With the expansion in the network of airlines operation on the domestic routes, better

tourist surface transport systems including the Indian Railways, new centers of information technology, many new convention centres, hotels and meeting facilities, India is now an important MICE destination. The Indian sub-continent is emerging as one of the finest Incentive destinations in the world owing to the diverse culture and geography. From the icy Himalayas to the tropical islands and from citadels in the desert to verdant jungles it is a world in itself. With the emergence of exciting new destinations every year one has unparalleled choices for the incentive operator here. The incentive programmes are a combination of old world charm and tradition interlaced with modern cosmopolitan sophistication.

Today, there are distinct travel divisions within tour companies and airlines that exclusively target MICE movement. Destinations have also begun to market MICE products to specialised agencies and the corporate world at large. The business of MICE holds enormous potential for any country. It is estimated that a person travelling to a country for a conference or convention spends anywhere four to eight times more than a normal leisure traveller. They spend more on food, more on business centre services. India is globally connected to a network of over 50 international airlines and several domestic airlines, which provide convenient connectivity within India.

Added to this is an elaborate network of surface transportation system. There is an excellent Railway system running through the entire country. All-important cities are connected with state-of-the-art 'Shatabdi & Rajdhani' Express trains. Special trains like Palace on Wheels and Royal Orient Express, comprising of air-conditioned saloons decorated in the old Maharaja style offer guests a chance to stay on the train and visit colourful Rajasthan and fascinating Gujarat. An excellent network of roads, national and state highways, luxury coaches, Indian & foreign-make vehicles add to the convenience and comfort of surface travel. And, to add to this, India offers an educated manpower base where fluency in English and other official international languages can be expected.

A large number of Convention Centres are available in India with a seating capacity of up to 1700 persons. The important conference centres in the country are at New Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur & Kolkata. Some important hotel chains like the Taj Group, ITC-Welcomgroup, the Oberoi's, Meridien Hotels, Marriott Hotels etc. also have excellent conference facilities.

Trains

Shimla Ooty (Udhagamandalam) Darjeeling Matheran

If you have some time to spare, take a slow toy train up to the hill resort of Shimla, Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Darjeeling or Matheran. There is nothing to match the experience of chugging up the hills, past little hamlets and terraced fields, making your way through tunnels and over breathtaking bridges. Its leisurely pace offers you a panoramic view of changing vistas. The invigorating air and the delights of scenic hill resort provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Shimla - The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla is entertaining with 107 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stops at the picturesque stations along the way - Dharmpore, Taksal, Gamma and Solan all add up to an exhilarating experience. Access to Shimla - A broad gauge line up to Kalka connects Shimla. 'The Toy Train' covers the distance of 96 km between the two stations within six hours.

Ooty (Udhagamandalam) - The Nilgiri Mountain Railway starts from the town of Mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns as this narrow gauge train ascends 46 km, on its way to the hill resort at Ooty. At a maximum speed of 33 km per hour this 'toy train' treks across plains, plantations and forest clad hills. The 16 tunnels and tall bridges on the way along with the breathtaking view make this toy train journey to Ooty an extraordinary experience! Access to Ooty - Ooty is connected by a narrow gauge line from Mettupalayam, which serves as the railhead for mainline trains. Major Trains to Mettupalayam - The Nilgiri Express conncets Mettupalayam with Chennai daily. Coimbatore, the nearest city is 90 kms away and linked to all the major cities by rail . Mettupalayam is easily accessible from Coimbatore by frequent bus or train services. To Top

Darjeeling - The most famous of the little trains, is the one linking the town of New Jalpaiguri the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. With a 2 ft gauge, the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a 'toy train' being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny century-old engine is connoisseur's delight. The 86 km Darjeeling line has no tunnels, thus allowing the traveller an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalaya. The 7 1/2 hour ride is a journey especially for rail buffs. Access to Darjeeling - New Jalpaiguri , the starting point of the hill train to Darjeeling, has direct connections to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and other places in India. To Top

Matheran - The 77 year old line, connecting Neral (on main line of Central Railway) to Matheran , is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As the little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat. Access to Matheran - The toy train to Matheran commences from Neral (Mumbai- Pune line), which is connected from Mumbai by local train. The journey up to Matheran from Neral takes about 1 1/2 hours. The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.

n Introduction

The Deccan Odyssey is a joint venture between the Indian Railways and the Government of Maharashtra represented by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The train showcases the tourism assets of Maharashtra, the grandeur of Konkan coast, the art, culture, the heritage of Maharashtra as well as local arts, crafts and cuisine of the state during the journey. It takes 80 passengers on a tour of the Konkan region, including Goa, and northwestern Maharashtra. It will halt at Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Pune, Aurangabad, (for Ajanta and Ellora) and Nashik. On the itinerary will be visits to forts, other historical places, museums, beaches and boat rides in the backwaters.

As the wind whispers through the halo of legends crowning the land of the mighty Marathas, a lone majestic whistle blows its salutation of honour as it gracefully traverses this land of fantastic fantasy. Welcome to the mesmerizing Maharashtra experience aboard the luxurious Deccan Odyssey. The weeklong Deccan Odyssey tour includes several exotic destinations covering the vast expanse of Maharashtra and a pinch of Goa. Experience the finest and the best of train journeys of the world. The Deccan Odyssey is much more than a mere luxury train cruise. It's a 'classical odyssey' of time beyond the realms of the present. Welcome aboard! The Saloons The Deccan Odyssey has 21 coaches out of which 11 are passenger cars with 4 coupes each. There are two Presidential Suite Cars with 2 coupes each car. The cars have channel music, intercom, CD/MP3 player, attached toilets, running hot and cold water, shower, wall-to-wall carpeting and other amenities. The train also has a conference car (can be redesigned as dance floor in the night) and two restaurant cars. There is also a lounge/bar car and one surprising addition is a Spa Car. Apart from the above there are generator cars with luggage store and staff car or spare car. The Deccan Odyssey has exclusive nonsmoking suite cars and separate suite cars for the guests who love to smoke. To Top On Board Facilities A complimentary bottle of wine courtesy the Deccan Odyssey in all the rooms. Each guest is provided with an arrival kit consisting of stationery items, brochures, cards, etc. Anything additional can be asked for, from the attendant, always available at your service. The two restaurant cars, serve a range of Indian, Continental, Maharashtrian, Goa and Chinese cuisines. Menus are changed seasonally. A well stocked bar serves wine, liquor and spirits of Indian and international brands. Conference Room with capacity to host 50 guests with facility for satellite communication, Internet, computer with printer and fax, and telephone exchange. The leading dailies and newspapers greet you every morning. Also available for you is a large collection of magazines. Ayurvedic Massage Centre, Steam Bath, Gymnasium, Beauty Parlour. Business Centre. Special Suite for Physically challenged. Fully loaded mini pantry in each coach. Telephone in each saloon. Television in each coach.

Plasma TV in Lounge Car. PA System / 6 Channel Music System. Lounge in each passenger car. Money exchange facility / credit cards. Complimentary mineral water on board/in the coach during sightseeing and at hotels. Voltage available on the train 110/230 V. Adequate safety and security arrangements. Wide collection of CD's/MP3. All essential toiletries like soaps, shampoos, moisturisers etc. are provided in the train. An attendant is always available at your service, to take care of all your travel needs. A mailbox is provided on board, which discharges your mail with utmost care and efficiency. Doctor on call at the next station. For physically challenged persons special assistance is available in the form of wheel chairs, creches and a special attendant for manual assistance. Assistance for travel arrangements on completion of the tour.

Thousands of sun-deprived tourists visit India because it incredibly has the most diverse varieties of beaches anywhere in the world. Placid backwaters and lagoons, bays and rough lava-rocked seas, marine estuaries with fish, crashing surf, powdery golden sand or palm fringed shores - Incredible India has them all. The West Coast with the Arabian Sea and the East Coast with the Bay of Bengal offer many a verdant vistas to the traveller. The coasts of India have their own seafood cuisine, relaxing spas, diving and water sports and great places to stay for a balmy holiday. Kovalam undoubtedly is one of India's best sea resorts. The long coastline lined with swaying coconut palm trees dotted with an occasional fishing hamlet is fast developing into one of the world's finest string of beaches. The sea applauds the beach temple in Mahabalipuram, gloriously silhouetted against the spectrum of the seven colours in the sky. Puri, on the East Coast, is surely one of the world's most picturesque beaches. And then there is Digha, a three-hour drive out of Kolkata, a beautiful beach, splendid in its isolation. The beach holiday to beat them all is in the Isles of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshwadeep, where you can see the myriad colours of the flashy fish in the coral reefs from above the green waters. Now fully developed as an international beach resort, Goa offers the best holiday villages on its beaches. Everything about Goa is spellbinding from the landscape dotted with Portuguese architecture, to the way of life that exudes an irresistible Old World charm. Anjuna or Calangute Beach, and Miramar Bay in Panjim are quieter. Beach vendors sell all manner of kitsch in Anjuna and Calangute. You can rent beach mats and mattresses, sunglasses, and the usual tourist paraphernalia. You can even get all sorts of spaghetti, German bread and Italian food. The beach at Calangute is rocky. At Anjuna the waters are gentle and offer opportunities for boat rides, sea scooter rides, spot-the-dolphins rides, and motorboat rides. Colva and Benaulim are quieter and less crowded than Anjuna. The Fort Aguada beach offers gorgeous views that merit a visit. Sinquerim and Candolim are also quiet beaches that afford anonymity. Whether it's the isolated horizons of the Konkan Coast or the Arabian Sea; the golden sands or the water drenched seashores, every beach in India makes a picture perfect

holiday destination. Beaches by state have been classified Above and brief descriptions are provided. Beaches in Goa align=justify> The world famous beaches of Goa are the highlights of travel in this state, making Goa the premier beach vacation destination. The first beach stop over in Goa is Anjuna beach also famous for its flea market and rave parties, then the Baga and Dona Paula beaches that can make any beach holiday a memorable one. 100-km long coastline gives an enthusiastic beach lover an opportunity to discover new secluded beach sites every day. Anjuna Beach - fluorescent painted palm trees and infamous full moon parties, 8 km west of Mapusa, most "alternative", the dancing and lying on the beach, famous flea market. Baga Beach - watch the sun go down in isolation, 10-km west of Mapusa, basically an extension of Calangute wooded headland. Dona Paula - fine view of the Marmagao Harbour nestled on the south side of the headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries, former fishing village, today's commercialised beach resort, idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe. Calangute Beach - Goa's busiest and most commercialised resort. During the 70's and 80's this peaceful fishing village became the favourite haunt of the hippies. Benaulim Beach - sea is safe for swimming generally jellyfish-free, village area near beach side boasts a few serviceable bars and restaurants, various culinary delights of the seafood, most succulent, competitively priced seafood in Goa. Cavelosim Beach - last major settlement in southwest Salcete, visit to Mabor, South Goa largest, and most obtrusive, package tourist enclave. Chapora Beach - a lot busier than most north coast villages, dependent on fishing and boat building, many regular cafes and restaurants Condolim Beach - good options to stay offering better value, a good first stop to head North. Bogmolo Beach - a small-scale beach resort, reasonably safer site for swimming, quite good eating joints and shopping options. Miramar Beach - just 3-km away from the capital city of Panjim. Pololem Beach - a favourite beach destination, crescent shaped bay, swaying curtain of coconut palms, irresistibly photogenic, beautiful beach huts. Vagator Beach - cool rural area, no big shopping complexes.

Varca Beach - community of Christian fisher folk, palm thatched long houses, grassy dunes. Beaches in Maharashtra Maharashtra is another coastal state of India with a good number of seaside resorts and beach resorts. If one has a special interest in forts and their history, check out the costal fort sites of Maharashtra, the perfect place to start on an enlightening heritage tour. Juhu Beach - one of the largest and frequently visited tourist beaches of India on the shores of Arabian Sea, mostly famous as the best hangout zone of Mumbai city, famous Mumbai Bhelpuri and Kulfi. Marine Drive - Chowpatty Beach - situated in the heart of Mumbai, rich historical link with the freedom movement, the spot where Lord Ganesha's images are immersed after the conclusion of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. Madh Island Beach - a popular picnic spot, dotted with exquisite bungalows and an urban aura, the most lavish beach parties held outside Mumbai. Marve-Manori-Gorai - three beautiful and serene getaways. Marve is a quaint little fishing village, the nearest and the quietest of the three. Gorai and Manori, a little further away popular for all night beach parties. Ganapatipule Beach - a beach with a religious flavour, one of the 'Ashta Ganapati' pilgrimage sites of India. To Top Murud - Janjira - a convenient base for the nearby beaches, former capital town of the Siddis of Janjira, popular for its alluring and spacious beach fringed with palm trees, two new beach sites of Kashid and Nandgaon nearby. Baseein - served as an important shipbuilding center, the site of the Portuguese defeat at the hands of the Marathas, a similar backdrop to that of Goa, one of the best choices to take some time off from the hectic schedule of city life. Dahanu-Bordi Beaches - a beautiful seaside in Thane district, vast stretch of unspoilt beach, coastline 17-km long, Chickoo (fruit) orchids. Harnai Beach - A very secluded beach site usually the most visited hotspot for the people of Mumbai and Pune. Kihim & Mandwa - a beautiful and clean beach, unspoilt and isolated ambience. Vijaydurg - Sindhudurg - once naval-bases of the Great Chattrapati Shivaji, picturesque beaches, Vijayadurg fort built by Shivaji in the 17th century. Shriwardhan - Harihareshwar - an irresistible beach site blessed with gentle winds, soft sands and inviting waters, attracts beach lovers in large numbers, a splendid place for seafood lovers

Tarkarli - a secluded golden beach with aquamarine waters. Velneshwar - beach is clean and natural and is lined with coconut trees, swimming and other water sports, beach is free from rocks. Vengurla - Malvan - a beach famous for its long stretch of shimmering sand, thick cashew, coconut, and jackfruit and mango groves,

Shell Beaches in India The entire coastline of Andhra Pradesh is a good place for a shell collector's exploration tour, starting from Bheemunipatnam near Vishakhapatnam down to Mypad In Nellore District. Situated 8-kms away from Vizag is another golden, unspoilt beach, Rishikonda, which attract tourists to visit its picturesque beach surroundings and make most of their beach holiday. The beaches of Pondicherry also provide a virgin setting; the golden yellow sand of the beach area is unpolluted, making this place and noteworthy pleasure and relaxation spot. Mangalore's two beaches Taneerbhavi and Panambhoor are a delight to visit, or check out the coastal pilgrimage beach centres of Ganapatipulle in Maharashtra. One is rewarded with a varied choice of shells over here. Beyt Dwarka in Gujarat has some fine stretches of beach, though crowded by pilgrims; you can always find a quiet spot to relax. Malpe in Karnataka is another coastal pilgrimage beach centres with a sheltered harbour making it a quiet beach retreat, just 6-kms away from Udupi, the temple town, renowned for a fascinating idol of Lord Krishna. Close to Malpe is Ullal, yet another beach resort, the silvery beaches of which command breathtaking views of the sunset, especially, when viewed through the Casuarina groves. Marwanthe beach is a very family kind of beach where one can come to in the evenings to just relax and let the smooth breeze caress you and tease your hair. Still, the foremost shell collector's destinations are the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar. The natural beauty has stayed unspoiled, as each island and beaches of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar has existed since time immemorial, with little influence from the outside world. Other Shell Beaches:

Calangute Beach, Goa Beaches of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Beaches Of Lakshadweep Islands Diu Beach, Gujarat Benaulim Beach, Goa Ganapatipule, Maharahstra Bheemunipatnam Beach, Andhra Pradesh Malpe Beach, Karnataka

Hindusim Hindu Destinations Allahabad Bhubaneswar Haridwar Konark Puri Rishikesh Amarnath Yatra Chidambaram Kanchipuram Madurai Pushkar Shirdi Sai Baba Ayodhya Dwarka Kanyakumari Mahabalipuram Puttaparthi Thanjavur Badrinath Gangotri Kedarnath Mathura Rameshwaram Tirupati

Varanasi

Vrindavan

Yamunotri

Hinduism Pilgrimages The major religion of India is one of the oldest living religions in the world. Evolving in India where 83% of the population is Hindu. Hinduism in India affects family life, food, dress and architecture. The caste system as applied to Hindus determines their way of life and often even their occupations. With traveling becoming easier as each day passes Hindus have settled throughout the world and have taken their faith with them. Today Hinduism is found in many countries, the Hindu literature and philosophy have influenced people throughout the world. Pilgrimage or Tirthatan is the oldest way of traveling from one place to other in India. From the first instance of civilization to the present day, millions of Hindus leave their home in search of salvation. The destination could be any place with a legend attached. From the high hills of Himalayas to small islands in Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal and from the fertile plains of Northern India to the Southern Peninsula, Hindu pilgrimage centers are in thousands and multiplying. We are giving you information about some of the most important out of them.

History The act of ascending a path to reach a place of pilgrimage is a part of the Hindu and Jain consciousness, which is why many of their holiest temples are located along hills and mountain ranges. The Jains have five separate hill locations for their holiest clusters of temples and Shatrunjaya Hill; Palitana is considered the most important among them. Another group is in Girnar (Junagadh), not too far away, while others are in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Palitana houses perhaps the largest cluster of Jain temples anywhere. From the base to the peak of the Shatrunjaya Hill, where the Palitana temples are located, there are in all 863 temples. These temples were built in two phases-the 11th and 12th centuries as a part of the resurgence of temple building all over India, and in the 16th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries Muslim invaders destroyed some of the earliest temples built in the 11th century. The current temples date back to 16th century onwards. Not any one person or group was responsible for the construction of these magnificent temples. It was the effort of the wealthy businessmen who were followers of Jainism that these buildings came into existence. To Top Pilgrimage Attractions of Palitana

Temple The temples are exquisitely carved in marble, veritable prayers in stone. To an observer, these appear to be ivory miniatures when seen from a distance. Created by master craftsmen, the most important temple is that of the first teerthankara, Shri Adishwar. It has ornate architectural motifs, though in its overall plan it is simpler than the Choumukh. Other notable temples are those of Kumarpal, Vimalshah and Sampriti Raja. Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron, probably built the earliest temple. The temple has a fabulous collection of jewels, and these can be seen with special permission. The temples date from 11th to the 20th century. Palitana town is a good place to shop for textile related handicrafts and has a Jain kala sansta. To Top Shatrunjaya Hill The entire summit of majestic mount Shatrunjaya is crowned with about 900 temples, each rivaling the other for beauty and magnificence, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle to devotees and visitors. The peak is a 3 ½ km climb of over 3500 steps from the town. The cluster of over 800 temples is divided into tuks. Throughout the cluster you can see detailed carvings, beautiful idols and images, jeweled statues and intricate toranas. Sunrise behind the temples is a great sight. One can enjoy views from the summit of the hills and the river Shetrunjaya. On a clear day, the Gulf of Cambay seacoast can be seen. Commanding a special place on the Gujarat travelers' map, Palitana is a `must visit' destination for the Jains and all those who would like to witness what the subtle combination of human enterprise, architectural skills, philanthropy and channelised religious fervour can achieve. The mount Shatrunjaya lies hardly a kilometer away from the town, the way, which is now thronged on both the sides by sarais and minor temples, including Kala Bhandars (museums). The mountain is associated with Rishabhdev, the first tirthankar, also known as Adinath. It is believed that all the tirthankars, except Neminath, attained nirvan here. The multitude of temples, half palaces, half fortresses and made of splendid marble, with their spires aiming the skies present a spectacle unmatched for its scale and magnitude. To Top Jain Beliefs on Palitana Every devout Jain aspires to climb to the top of the mountain at least once in his lifetime, because of its sanctity. The journey is arduous. The walk up the stone stairway hewn into the mountain face takes about an hour and a half. For those unable or unaccustomed to the strain, sling-chairs are available at a bargain. The code for the climbers is stringent, in keeping with the rigours of the Jain faith. Food must neither be eaten nor carried on the way. The descent must begin before it is evening, for no soul can remain atop the sacred mountain during the night. Such is the mystique of Palitana, the summit of Shatrunjaya. While atop one can also visit a Muslim shrine of Angar Pir. The childless women seek

the Pir's blessings to be blessed with children. They offer miniature cradles to the Pir and the shrine is strewn with such cradles.

Christanity Christianity has had long and glorious relations with India. According to the legends, St. Thomas sailed to India from Eastern Asia in AD 52. He spent 12 years in India, the last eight of his life in Mylapore in Madras (now Chennai). Several shrines have been created in the places associated with him. Apart from this, the advent of Europeans in India from the 15th century onwards led to the mass influx of Christians and subsequent development of Christian worship places. Some of the churches of colonial India are comparable to the best in the world and are as much a part of the heritage of India as its ancient temples. You must visit these churches and explore the fascinating world of Christianity in India.

Nearly five thousand years back flourished India's first major civilisation along the Indus River valley. The twin cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa now in Pakistan were ruled by priests and held the rudiments of Hinduism. These civilisations are known to possess a sophisticated lifestyle, a highly developed sense of aesthetics, an astonishing knowledge of town planning and an undecipherable script language. The Indus civilization at one point of time extended nearly a million square kilometres across the Indus river valley. It existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Sumer but far outlasted them. Surviving for nearly a thousand years the Indus valley civilisation fell to tectonic upheavals in about 1700 BC, which caused a series of floods. The coming of the Aryans around 1500 BC, gave the final blow to the collapsing Indus Valley civilisation. At the dawn of Vedic ages the Aryans came in from the North and spread through large parts of India bringing with them their culture and religious beliefs. The Four Vedas or the important books of Hinduism were compiled in this period.

In 567 B.C. the founder of the Buddhist Religion Gautama Buddha was born. During this time lived Mahavira, who founded the Jain Religion. The Indian subcontinent is full of caves and monuments devoted to these religions and are worth a visit. Two hundred years later, in the 4th century B.C., Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest King of Indian history, led the Mauryan Empire to take over almost all of what is now modern India. This great leader embraced Buddhism and built the group of monuments at

Sanchi (a UNESCO world heritage site). The Ashoka pillar at Sarnath has been adopted by India as its national emblem and the Dharma Chakra on the Ashoka Pillar adorns the National Flag. They were followed by the Guptas in the north, while in the south part of India several different Hindu empires, the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Cheras spread and grew, trading with Europe and other parts of Asia till the end of the 1100s. Christianinty entered India at about the same time from Europe. Legend has it that St. Thomas the Apostle arrived in India in 52 A.D. Even earlier than that people of the Jewish religion arrived on India's shores. In approximately the 7th century A.D. a group of Zoroastrians, or Parsees, landed in Gujarat and became a part of the large mix of religions in India today, each of which adds its important and distinctive flavour. In the 15th century Guru Nanak laid the foundation of the Sikh religion in Punjab. In 1192, Mohammed of Ghori, a ruler from Afghanistan, came into India and captured several places in the north including Delhi. When he went home he left one of his generals in charge who became the first Sultan of Delhi. During this time Islam, was introduced into a major part of Northern India. It may be mentioned that even before that, just after the period of the prophet, Islam was brought to the western coast of India by Arab traders and flourished in what is now Kerala. The Dehli Sultanate gradually took control of more and more of North India over the next 200 years, till Timur, who was called "Timur the Lame" or "Tamberlane" came from Turkey in 1398 to attack India. He and his army stole all the valuables that they could carry and left again, and after that the Delhi Sultanate was never so strong again. Soon the Mughals, who were from Iran, came in and took control of the north. In the meantime south , in 1336, the Hindu Vijayanagar empire was set up and became very strong. The Europeans - Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish and British - started arriving in the early 1600s. All of them held territories in India and made friends and enemies among India's rulers as they got more and more involved, with the Indian politics, but it was the British who eventually controlled most of India and finally made it one of their colonies. India got its independence from Britain in 1947 after a long struggle led mostly by Mahatma Gandhi. In the process of becoming independent, India became, two countries instead of one. In the years since independence India has made huge progress and coped with great problems, and has developed its industry and its agriculture, and has maintained a system of government which makes it the largest democracy in the world.

Development of tourism in india
It was only after the 1980’s that tourism activity gained momentum in India. The Government took several significant steps to achieve this end. A National Policy on tourism was announced in 1982. Later in 1988, the National Committee on Tourism formulated a comprehensive plan for achieving a sustainable growth in tourism. In 1992, a National Action Plan was prepared and in 1996 the National Strategy for Promotion of Tourism was drafted. In 1997, a draft new tourism policy in tune with the economic policies of the Government and the trends in tourism development was published for public debate. The draft policy is now under revision. The proposed policy recognizes the roles of Central and State governments, public sector undertakings and the private sector in the development of tourism. Panchayati Raj institutions, local bodies, non-governmental organizations and the local youth have been involved in the development process. The other significant development that took place were the setting up of the India Tourism Development Corporation in 1966 to promote India as a tourist destination and the Tourism Finance Corporation in 1989 to finance tourism projects. Altogether, 21 Government-run Hotel Management and Catering Technology Institutes and 14 Food Craft Institutes were also established for imparting specialized training in hoteliering and catering. Tourist Attractions India is renowned for its lavish and heartfelt treatment of all visitors, no matter which corner of the world they come from. This, coupled with its diverse traditions, varied lifestyles and cultural heritage and colorful fairs and festivals pose an irresistible attraction for the tourists. The other attractions include sensuous beaches, dense green forests and wild life and landscapes for ecotourism, snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism, technological parks and science museums for science tourism; centers of pilgrimage for spiritual tourism; heritage trains and hotels for heritage tourism. Yoga, Ayurveda and natural health resorts also attract tourists with the promise of rejuvenating their souls and bodies. The Indian handicrafts, particularly, jewelry, carpets, leather goods, ivory and brass hold international appeal. Surveys indicate that nearly forty per cent of the tourist expenditure on shopping is spent on such items. Thrust Areas

In order to speed up the development of tourism in the country several thrust areas have been identified for accomplishment during the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002). The areas where there has been conspicuous development are infrastructure, products, trekking, winter sports, wildlife and beach resorts and streamlining of facilitation procedures at airports, human resource development and facilitating private sector participation in the growth of infrastructure.

Boosting Tourism Some of the recent initiatives taken by the Government to boost tourism include grant of export house status to the tourism sector and incentives for promoting private investment in the form of Income Tax exemptions, interest subsidy and reduced import duty. The hotel and tourism-related industry has been declared a high priority industry for foreign investment which entails automatic approval of direct investment up to 51 per cent of foreign equity and allowing 100 per cent nonresident Indian investment and simplifying rules regarding the grant of approval to travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators. In a nutshell, Indian tourism has huge untapped potential for generating employment and ensuring a steady flow of foreign exchange besides giving a much-needed boost to the country’s overall economic and social development. There have been significant improvements in the spheres of increasing air seat capacity, trains and railway connectivity to important tourist destinations, four-laning of roads connecting important tourist centers. Accommodation facilities have been redefined for the convenience of the visitors. Right from luxury resorts to paying guest accommodations, there is something for everybody, to suit every pocket. Heritage hotels have been brought into the fold of the hotel industry as well.

Travel & Tourism

India holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises

something for everyone. At any part of the year India can offer you a dazzling array of destinations and experiences. In summer, when the subcontinent is sizzling, there are spectacular retreats amidst the heady beauty of the Himalayas or the lush heights of the Western Ghats with cool trekking trails, tall peaks to conqueror stretches of white water for the adventure seekers.In the cool of an Indian winter, cities come alive with cultural feasts of music and dance. The balmy weather is an ideal time for you to go century hopping in romantic cities studded with medieval forts and palaces. The sun drenched beaches are inviting and wildlife sanctuaries with their abundance of flora and fauna are a buzz with the nurture of the young.You can taste the delights of the Indian monsoon anywhere in the country- on a camel safari in the Rajasthan desert when nature comes alive and the peacocks dance; along the west coast where the relentless slanting rain paints the countryside in brilliant greens or even trekking amidst the stark grandeur of mountain valleys lying in the rain shadow of the HimalayasExperience exotic India live like a maharaja in the rich ambiance of royal forts and palaces that are now heritage hotels; luxuriate in the serene beauty of a coral island with its turquoise lagoon; participate in the exuberance of a village fair or a colorful festival; day dream on a house boat drifting down the palm - fringed backwaters; delight in the grace of a dancer or shop till you drop - buying exquisite silks, carved figurines, brass and silver ware, marble inlaid with semi-precious stones, finely crafted jewelry, miniature paintings, carpets....at unbelievable prices.

Draft: National Tourism Policy of India The Preamble Tourism emerged as the largest global industry of the 20th century and is projected to grow even faster in the 21st century. India has immense possibilities of growth in the tourism sector with vast cultural and religious heritage, varied natural attractions, but a comparatively small role in the world tourism scene. A New Tourism Policy, which builds on the strength of the national Tourism Policy of 1982, but which envisages new initiatives towards making tourism the catalyst in employment generation, environmental re-generation, development of remote areas and development of women and other disadvantaged groups in the country, besides promoting social integration is, therefore, vital to our economy. It would lead to larger foreign exchange earnings and create conditions for more Foreign Direct Investment. The Mission Our mission is to promote sustainable tourism as a means of economic growth and social integration and to promote the image of India abroad as a country with a glorious past, a vibrant present and a bright future. Policies to achieve this will be evolved around six broad areas such as Welcome (Swagat), Information (Suchana), Facilitation (Suvidha), Safety (Suraksha), Cooperation (Sahyog) and Infrastructure Development (Samrachana). Conservation of heritage, natural environments, etc. and development and promotion of

tourist products would also be given importance. Objectives The objectives of tourism development are to foster understanding between people, to create employment opportunities and bring about socio-economic benefits to the community, particularly in the interior and remote areas and to strive towards balanced and sustainable development and preserve, enrich and promote India’s cultural heritage. One of the major objectives is the preservation and protection of natural resources and environment to achieve sustainable development. Given the low cost of employment creation in the tourism sector and the low level of exploitation of India’s tourism potential, the new tourism policy seeks to expand foreign tourist arrivals and facilitate domestic tourism in a manner that is sustainable by ensuring that possible adverse effects such as cultural pollution and degradation of environment are minimised. The New Tourism Policy also aims at making the stay of foreign tourists in India, a memorable and pleasant one with reliable services at predictable costs, so that they are encouraged to undertake repeated visits to India, as friends. This would be in tune with India's traditional philosophy of giving the highest honour to a guest (Atithi debo bhava). Tourism A Multi-Dimensional Activity (a) The Government will aim to achieve necessary linkages and synergies in the policies and programs of all concerned Departments/agencies by establishing effective co-ordination mechanisms at Central, State and District levels. The focus of national policy, therefore, will also be to develop tourism as a common endeavour of all the agencies vitally concerned with it at the Central and State levels, public sector undertakings and the private sector. (b) It will be the policy of government to encourage people’s participation in tourism development including Panchayati Raj institutions, local bodies, Co-operatives, nongovernmental organisations and enterprising local youth to create public awareness and to achieve a wider spread of tourist facilities. However, focused attention will be given for the integrated development of identified centres with well directed public participation. (c) Public and Private Sector Partnership: A constructive and mutually beneficial partnership between the public and the private sectors through all feasible means is an absolute necessity for the sustained growth of tourism. It is, therefore, the policy of the Government to encourage emergence of such a partnership. This will be achieved by creating a Tourism Development Authority consisting of senior officials of the Government and tourism experts and professionals from the private sector. (d) Role of the Government: Tourism is a multi-sectoral activity and the industry is affected by many other sectors of the national economy. The State has to, therefore, ensure intergovernmental linkages and co-ordination. It also has to play a pivotal role in tourism management and promotion. The specific role of the Government will be to : Provide basic infrastructural facilities including local planning and zoning arrangements.

i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. xi.

Plan tourism development as a part of the over all area development strategy. Create nucleus infrastructure in the initial stages of development to demonstrate the potential of the area. Provide the required support facilities and incentives to both domestic and foreign investors to encourage private investment in the tourism sector. Rationalise taxation and land policies in the tourism sector in all the States and Union Territories and in respect of land owned by Government agencies like Railways. Introduce regulatory measures to ensure social, cultural and environmental sustainability as well as safety and security of tourists. Ensure that the type and scale of tourism development is compatible with the environment and socio-cultural milieu of the area. Ensure that the local community is fully involved and the benefits of tourism accrue to them. Facilitate availability of trained manpower particularly from amongst the local population jointly with the industry. Undertake research, prepare master plans, and facilitate formulation of marketing strategies. Organise overseas promotion and marketing jointly with the industry. Initiate specific measures to ensure safety and security of tourists and efficient facilitation services.

xii. Facilitate the growth of a dynamic tourism sector. (e) Role of Private Sector : Tourism has emerged as the largest export industry globally and all over the globe private sector has played the lead role in this growth. The private sector has to consider investment in tourism from a long term perspective and create the required facilities including accommodation, time share, restaurants, entertainment facilities, shopping complexes, etc. in areas identified for tourism development. Non-core activities in all airports, major stations and interstate bus terminus such as cleanliness and maintenance, luggage transportation, vehicles parking facilities, etc. should be opened up to private operators to increase efficiency and profitability. The specific role of the Private Sector will be to : i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. Build and manage the required tourist facilities in all places of tourist interest. Assume collective responsibility for laying down industry standards, ethics and fair practices. Ensure preservation and protection of tourist attractions and give lead in green practices. Sponsor maintenance of monuments, museums and parks and provision of public conveniences and facilities. Involve the local community in tourism projects and ensure that the benefits of tourism accrue to them in right measure. Undertake industry training and man-power development to achieve excellence in quality of services. Participate in the preparation of investment guidelines and marketing strategies

viii. ix.

and assist in database creation and research. Facilitate safety and security of tourists Endeavour to promote tourism on a sustained and long term perspective.

x. Collaborate with Govt. in the promotion and marketing of destinations. (f) Role of voluntary efforts: Voluntary agencies and volunteers have to contribute their expertise and understanding of local ethos to supplement the efforts of other sectors to provide the human touch to tourism and foster local initiatives. All such efforts shall be encouraged. Tourism Development Fund and Resources for Development It would be the policy of the Government to facilitate larger flow of funds to tourism infrastructure and to create a Tourism Development Fund to bridge critical infrastructural gaps. Priority would be given for development of tourist infrastructure in selected areas of tourist importance and for those products which are considered to be in demand in the existing and future markets so that limited resources are put to the best use. Foreign Investments and Incentives and Rationalization of Taxes i. In view of large investment requirements in the tourism sector and the need for maintaining high quality standards in services, hotels and tourism related industries will continue to be in the priority list of industries for foreign investment. Export-house status has been accorded to Hotels, Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Tourist Transport Operators vide Notification No.33(RE-98)19972002 dated 26.11.98 of the Ministry of Commerce. The status needs to be extended to all tourism units irrespective of the annual turnover. In order to off-set the specific constraints of tourism industry and to put in place the required infrastructure as quickly as possible, particularly in less developed areas, appropriate incentive schemes would be considered. It would also be the endeavour of the Government to persuade the State/UT Governments to rationalise taxes, to put a cap of 20% on all taxes taken together on the accommodation and hospitality units, to allocate suitable land for tourism purposes at reasonable prices, harmonize movement of tourist transport across State borders, etc.

ii.

Adoption of New Technologies a. Efforts will be made to adopt the technological advances in the tourism sector to provide better facilities to tourists and to market the tourism product, to the benefit of all concerned. b. Information technology shall be given the pride of place in the efforts to promote Indian tourism. Evey endeavour in this regard would increasingly rely on optimising the use of e-commerce/m-commerce, use of internet for disemination

of tourism related information, increasing use of portals as gateway to accessibility to tourism information, development of Handy Audio Reach Kit (HARK) Tourist Guidance System at important monuments and heritage sites, networking of States, setting of tourist information Kiosks, encouoragement to information technology and eco-friendly practices by the private industries and above all keeping abreast with the global technologies for promoting and facilitating tourism. It shall be ensured that Information Technology(IT) and Indian Tourism(IT) become synonymous. c. The Central Government will set up a Paryatan Bhawan in New Delhi as a modern Tourist Interpretation Centre to cater to various needs of travelers, foreign as well as domestic and to offer facilities for air and train reservation, money changing counters and information about all tourist centres in the country. The Centre will be equipped with e-connectivity and networking facility to all state tourist offices. Efforts will be made to have similar state level Paryatan Bhawans in state Capitals. The economic and social benefits of tourism and its importance as an instrument of economic growth have to be fully recognised by all sections of the society. It would, therefore, be the endeavour of the Government to bridge the information gap through proper statistical documentation of the impact of tourism and its wide publicity to create awareness so that the economic and social significance of tourism is well recognised and tourism is given due attention and national priority Safety and Security The safety and security of tourists are of primary importance both from the point of view of tourism development and the national pride. It will be, therefore, given high priority in the national strategy for tourism development. Central Government will take up with the State Government to enact suitable legislation on travel trade/ tourist police for protection and security of tourists and for providing institutional mechanism to deal with complaints received from tourists and the industry so as to create a better security perception amongst actual and potential visitors. Facilitation Services Tourists have to pass through several Government agencies so as to meet the requirements under various laws. These include obtaining visas, undergoing immigration checks, obtaining permits to visit certain areas, payment of fees for certain facilities, etc. The endeavour of the Government would be to improve efficiency in providing such facilitation services and make travel to and within India a pleasant experience. Introduction of issue of Visa on arrival at least for 15 days at all the airports, computerisation of the system of issue of Visa, streamlining of luggage handling system at airports improving tourist facilitation services at the airports by adopting technological solutions are some of the important facilitation services proposed in this regard. Tourism Economic Zone, Tourist Circuits, Special Tourism Area and Areas of

Special Interests 1. Tourism Economic Zones will be created with private participation based on the intrinsic attractions, potential for development and availability of resources in these zones. Air, road and rail connectivity to these areas will be established to facilitate direct and easy access to these zones from international and domestic destinations. Adequate backward and forward linkages will also be established to ensure flow of benefits to the local community. The development of such zones will be guided by well conceived Master Plans and executed by specific Tourism Development Authorities which will be created by the Government involving senior officers from the Department of Tourism, and other relevant Ministries/Departments of the Govt. of India, professionals from tourism industry and representatives of Industry & Trade Associations. 2. India with vast cultural and religious heritage and varied natural attractions has immensed potential of growth in the tourism sector. 25 travel circuits and destinations have already been identified for development through joint efforts of the Central Govt., the State Governments and the private sector. State Governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Maharashtra and Union Territory Administration of Daman & Diu have also declared Bekal Beach, PuriKonark, Sindhudurg, Muttakadu-Mamallapuram and Diu as Special Tourism Area for integrated development. Steps will be taken to work towards the integrated development of all the tourist circuits of the country with the involvement of all the infrastructural departments, State Governments and the private sector. 3. Areas of Special Interest: Government would initiate and support special programmes and schemes for the development of tourism in North Eastern States, Himalayan region and island States/U.Ts with a view to achieve overall economic development of the regions, and as part of the strategy for removing regional imbalances. Sustainable Development and Perspective Plans The principle of sustainable development stipulates that the level of development does not exceed the carrying capacity of the area. It will be governments’ policy to ensure adherence to such limits through appropriate planning instruments, guidelines and enabling regulations and their enforcement. Efforts will be made to diversify the tourism products in such a way that it supplements the main stream of cultural tourism. Comprehensive perspective plans for developing sustainable tourism by assessing the existing tourism scenario in each State/Union Territory with respect to availability of natural resources, heritage and other socio-cultural assets, quantitative/demographic factors like population, employment, occupation, income levels etc, services and infrastructure will be developed by initiating immediate action in this direction. Conservation and Development Tourism development needs to be properly guided and regulated to avoid adverse impact

on the natural environment and cultural heritage which constitute the tourist attraction. A judicious balance needs to be maintained between conservation and development. Government will continue its policy of trying to maintain balance through planning restrictions and by educating the people in appreciating their rich heritage and by eliciting their co-operation in preserving and protecting it. Promotion and Marketing Promotion and marketing is an important component of tourism development and needs to be undertaken along with product development in conformity with consumer profiles and product characteristics. The policy of the Government therefore will be to develop and implement cost effective marketing strategies based on market research and segmentation analysis in each of the tourist generating countries. International Co-operation Tourism is a global industry requiring inputs from various international agencies and collaborations with other countries. The policy of the Government therefore will be to foster positive win – win partnership with all the international agencies and other countries. Professional Excellence Tourism being a service industry it is necessary to enhance its service efficiency. The new policy will strive towards excellence by introducing professionalism through training and re-training of human resources and providing memorable visitor experience to both domestic and international tourists. Placing Tourism in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India Tourism as a separate subject does not find a place in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India even though a number of its components are either in the Union List or in the State List or in the Concurrent List. Under the new Policy, Tourism will be placed in the Concurrent List as such a step will provide a Constitutional recognition to the tourism sector and help in channelising development of tourism in a systematic manner by enabling the Central Government to bring in legislation governing the activities of various service providers in the tourism sector.

Action programme The following is a list of action points emerging from the National Tourism Policy indicating the Ministries/Departments/Agencies responsible for implementing these actions. Action points relating to Suvidha (facilities) Paryatan Bhawan in Delhi and at State Capitals: Setting up of Paryatan Bhawan in Delhi as one stop tourist reception centre to cater to various needs of travelers, foreign as well as domestic and offer air and train reservations, money changing counters and information about all tourist centres with e-connectivity and networking facilities to all State tourist offices. Construction of similar State level Paryatan Bhawans at State Capitals. (Action – Ministry of Tourism and Culture and State Governments) Augmentation of International Air Seat Capacity:•

Assessing sector wise and season wise air seat capacity, and load factors and augmentation of capacity in the critical sectors either by the National Airlines or by encouraging Foreign Airlines. Improvement of accessibility in States and regions of tourist interest. Special interest would be given to areas having important tourist centres which are not connected by trains/buses. Promoting arrivals in destination of interest by creating

hub and spoke operations. Giving impetus to Heli Tourism and Helicoper services to areas not serviceable by fixed wing Aircraft.

Construction of airports on Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) through private sector participation.

Rail Services:• • •

Increasing the number of tourist trains. Special funds need to be earmarked for this purpose. Improving hygienic conditions, environment and passenger facilities in and around Railway Stations serving important tourist centres. Construction of budget hotels at important railway nodes.

Road Network:•

Providing wayside amenities along with filling stations or otherwise at a distance of about 100 kilometres on all the highways connecting important tourist centres. Providing standard signages on all roads leading to tourist spots. Ensuring uninterrupted inter-state movement of tourist coaches and vehicles through rationalisation and single point collection of taxes.

• •

(Action – Ministry of Surface Transport)

Maintenance of Heritage Sites and Improvement of Tourist Facilities:•

Ensuring proper maintenance and professional site management of important tourist attractions/monuments under the control of Archaeological Survey of India/State Archaeology Departments. Involving local authorities, trusts, etc. in the restoration/ preservation of tourist attractions and maintenance of the surroundings.

Providing world class tourist facilities, amenities and land scaping of area around important monuments in a phased manner. Identification, documentation and video publishing of all the monuments which are great tourist attractions.

(Action – Department of Culture and State Governments)

General Improvement of Tourist Facilities

Computerisation of the system of issue of visas by the Embassies/High Commissions. Introduction of issue of visas on arrival atleast for 15 days at all the airports. Distribution of tourist information brochures through Indian Emabssies/High Commissions. Streamlining of luggage handling systems at the airports to ensure that the luggage is transported and cleared within about 30 minutes after the arrival of the flights. Improving tourist facilitation services at the airports by adopting technological solutions and imparting training to functionaries at the cutting edge level like customs and immigration officials, taxi drivers, guides, etc. Introduction of airconditioned taxis with electronic fare metres in all the international airports. Provision of special taxi and coach enclosures extending from arrival halls in all the international airports and controlled by security staff so that passengers can queue up easily and pick-up taxis and coaches without hassles.

• •

Mounting Video-Cameras in strategic places inside and outside arrival areas to prevent corruption. Providing direct access to airport hotels and railway platforms in all the international airports. Augmenting information services at the airports. Removal of RAP/PAP restrictions from most parts of the country. Provision of money changing facility in all the tourist centres. Providing international standard signages at tourist centres, airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc.

• • • •

Action Points relating to Soochana (information)

Setting-up a chain of exclusive souvenir shops stocking specially manufactured and beautifully packed information books and other souvenir items at all the nationally important tourist places in a professional manner. Introduction of audio-guides at the important tourist places on a commercial basis.

(Action: - Department of Culture and State Governments)

There have been revolutionary changes in the computer and communication technologies and other relevant sectors,which are still changing. Such technologies have helped sharing of information globally to the advantage of all. Information Technology for improving visitor information and facilitation should be effectively used. Setting up of Touch Screen Information Kiosks , development of Tourism Portals with links to all tourism related web sites, production of CDROMs, creation and maintenance of websites, introduction of computer based information and reservation systems, use of virtual reality systems and videoconferencing for tourism promotion, etc. are the activities proposed in this regard.

(Action – Ministry of Tourism & Culture and State Governments) Action Points relating to Safety and Security (Suraksha)

Launching of campaigns through local bodies, non-governmental organisations, youth centres, etc. to create awareness about the traditions of Indian hospitality

and the importance of providing an assurance of safety and security to tourists so as to control touting, extortion and harrasment to tourists.
• •

Providing a legal framework for the protection of tourists and their belongings. Providing an institutional mechanism to deal with the complaints received from tourists and the industry so as to create a better security perception amongst actual and potential visitors. Introducing tourist police at important tourist centres through the respective State Governments. Strict prohibition of soliciting and enticing of tourists both within the airport premises and in its immediate neighbourhood by unethical operators and traders and keeping both the airports and its vicinity tout free. Central Government to take up with the State Governments to enact suitable legislations on travel trade/tourist police for protection and security of tourists. Model guidelines to be circulated to the State Governments.

Action Point relating to Infrastructure Development

In order to off-set the specific constraints of tourism industry and to put in place the required infrastructure as quickly as possible, particularly in less developed areas, appropriate incentive schemes would be considered. It would also be the endeavour of the Government to persuade the State/UT Governments to rationalise taxes and to allocate suitable land for tourism purposes at reasonable prices, harmonize movement of tourist transport across State borders, etc. Efforts will be made to prepare Master Plan for land use in each tourist destination/urban centre for infrastructure purposes. Ministry of Tourism & Culture will also be the agency to effect any changes in the master plan relating to land use for tourism infrastructure. It will be the endeavour of the Govt to provide single window clearance facilities in the areas like allotment of lands, environment, electricity, water, sewerage, etc. in order to facilitate speedy implementation of tourism projects. Tourism being an area where generally strategic issues are not involved, maximum impetus and incentives need to be given to FDI and involvement of NRIs, PIOs and OCBs to evolve appropriate means to facilitate FDIs such as Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). At present NRIs & PIOs are allowed 100 per cent investment in tourism projects.

Development of tourism to the extent desired would involve heavy investments in infrastructure. The resources for such investments have to come mostly from private investors, financial institutions and external borrowing. Financial viability and commercial returns are the guiding factors in such investments. Very often, it would depend on investments to bridge certain critical gaps in infrastructure which by itself may not be commercially remunerative. Special funds have to be therefore, created for such investments. The Institutions like Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) will be strengthened and a special fund namely Tourism Development Fund will be set up for development of Tourist Infrastructure.

Action Point relating to Cooperation

Encouraging Panchayati Raj Institutions, local bodies, religious trusts, cooperatives, and other community level institutions to take up tourism promotion activities through the general rural development and employment generation programmes and specific rural tourism development schemes. Encouragement of non-governmental organisations to create and manage tourist facilities. Involvement of non-governmental organisations to create environmental awareness on Eco-tourism, national parks, coastal tourism and urban/rural hygiene in tourist centres. Involvement of local community in the formulation and implementation of tourism development plans through District Tourism Promotion Councils, etc.

Action Point relating to Conservation

Formulation and publication of appropriate policies and guidelines, creation of public awareness about such guidelines, etc. are the activities envisaged in this regard apart from providing the requisite legal frame work for ensuring social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

Despoilation of natural environment, archaeological monuments, beaches, mountains and places of natural beauty; disruption in the eco-system of environmentally sensitive regions; destruction of traditions in the culturally sensitive areas; clandestine selling of antiques and vandalism are some of the possible adverse effects of unimaginative and unregulated development of tourism.

Action Point relating to Product Development and Promotion

Giving guidance and financial assistance to State/Union Territory Governments for preparing tourism Master Plans and perspective plans identifying tourism resources, prioritising development circuits and projects and specifying the most suitable forms of tourism. Implementing integrated/intensive development of tourist destinations after assessing the carrying capacity, local aspirations and the benefits likely to accrue to the community. Involving the town and country planning agencies of Central and State Governments and integration of spatio-economic development plans with tourism development . Focussing on the development of Eco-tourism. Developing the places of pilgrimage by providing the requisite infrastructural facilities with a view to promote domestic and international pilgrim tourism. Develop a clear identity/theme around some important existing attractions and package them to offer an attractive product e.g. Varanasi as the present living city with roots into deep ancient civilisation on similar lines as Jericho/Rome/Bethlehem;

• •

Expand "Events Tourism" through organisation of international events such as sports, conferences etc.; also market existing cultural and religious festivals as tourist attractions. Expand "Shopping Tourism" through good value for money with the exquisite range of hand-crafted products made in the country. Expand "Cruise Tourism", in view of the huge coastlines and large number of ports. Developing heritage and village tourism as a package by identifying and developing villages around heritage properties,which have already been restored. Diversifying the tourism product to make India a unique multi-attraction tourism destination which can meet the needs of all forms of tourism particularly rural tourism, spiritual tourism, eco tourism, adventure tourism, incentive tourism, conference and convention tourism, etc. Developing natural health resorts of Yoga, Ayurveda, etc. as unique tourism products of India. Developing seamless inter-modal transfers by improving linkages. Involvement of NRIs and PIOs in product development. Amusement parks promote tourism by attracting both international and domestic tourists, generate demand in the transport, accommodation and service sectors and create employment opportunities. The Government will prepare appropriate guidelines to encourage private sector to invest in development of amusement parks. Peoples Participation in Development of Tourism : - Tourism policy 1982 envisaged a selective approach based on travel circuit concept in the provision of tourism infrastructure to achieve intensive development of selected centres. The National Action Plan for Tourism 1992 also reiterated the need for such a policy to achieve significant impact on infrastructural development with the limited resources available. These policies, however, did not succeed in view of persistent demands for several small projects to meet the needs of domestic tourists in almost every place of tourist interest. Even the Government of India essentially followed a scheme approach instead of area approach in providing financial assistance for the development of tourism infrastructure. The approach for the future development of tourism has to, therefore, take into account both the needs for selective development and the demands of a wide cross section of domestic tourists. The activities in this regard would include:

• • •

Creating public awareness about economic and social benefits of tourism amongst administrators, planners and the masses through seminars, workshops, presentations, etc. Launching entrepreneurship development and self employment programmes to involve the educated youth in providing various tourist facilities and services and thereby creating employment opportunities. Integrated development of special tourism areas and selected circuits.

• • •

Integrated Development of Tourist destinations: International tourist traffic to the country is largely confined to certain selected centres and destinations at present. There is also a fair level of seasonality in the international tourist arrivals. As a result there is a good deal of congestion and scarcity of facilities in some of these centres during peak seasons. The tourist traffic to some of the centres have even exceeded the carrying capacity with the attendant problems of environmental degradation. It has, therefore, become necessary to go beyond the beaten tracks and to facilitate direct visit of tourists to new destinations. However, the choice of such new destinations for development will have to be based on their intrinsic attractions, potential for development and the carrying capacity as well as availability of resources. Such development will be guided by well conceived master plans, and executed by specific Tourism Development Authorities. Adequate backward and forward linkages will also be established to ensure adequate flow of benefits to the local community. Creation of Tourism Economic Zones Constitution of Tourism Development Authorities Diversification of Tourism Products: - The main strength of Indian tourism at present is its cultural attractions, particularly, the large number of monuments and archaeological remains scattered through out the country, its art and artefacts and colourful fairs and festivals. The country is also endowed with a number of other tourist attractions and options including beach tourism; forests, wild life and land scapes for eco-tourism; snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism; technological parks and science museums for science tourism; centres of

pilgrimage for spiritual tourism; heritage trains and hotels for heritage tourism; etc. The tradition of Indian system of medicine and its curative and preventive effect are well known the world over. Yoga, Ayurveda and other forms of natural health resorts have thus become unique tourist attractions of the country. There are also facilities for conference and convention tourism, cruise tourism and shopping tours. The development of natural health resorts of Yoga, Ayurveda etc. along with rural tourism, spiritual tourism and eco-tourism will be given adequate attention.

Sustainable Development of Tourism: - Assessment of carrying capacity and Environment Impact Assessment studies would be insisted while developing tourism in ecologically fragile areas and all developmental activities will be guided by such studies. The other activities in this regard would include: Providing a legal frame work through appropriate legislation for ensuring social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism development and protecting the tourists. Evolving specific policies and guidelines for the development of specific forms of tourism like ecotourism, adventure tourism, etc.

i. ii.

Action Points relating to Promotion and Marketing

Achieving effective co-ordination and synergy with other Departments, agencies and the private sector in tourism promotion and marketing. Fully utilising the Indian missions abroad for tourism promotion and related activities. Identifying potential tourism markets and segments and adopting focussed marketing strategies based on research to make promotional and marketing efforts cost effective. Enhancing the image of India as a fascinating multi-attraction and multi-activity destination with rich cultural heritage and a vibrant society. Observing 1999-2000 as Millennium/Explore India Year. Developing a Millennium Yatra Package and Youth packages. Organising Bauddha Mahotsav with international seminars and exhibitions at Sarnath/Bodhgaya. Organising photo exhibitions and creation of a photo library.

• • •

Launching of a multi-media CD-ROM and creating an integrated website on Indian tourism. Developing a clear identity of Indian tourism product by promoting selected theme based tourist attractions.

Action Points relating to International Cooperation

Ensuring active participation in the activities of international agencies like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), World Tourism Organisation (WTO), Pacific Asia Travel Association(PATA), Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation (IOTO). Enhancing multilateral co-operation in tourism with different groups of countries like Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bangaldesh-IndiaMyanmar-Sri Lanka- Thailand-Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC), South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), etc. Strengthening tourism promotion and investment through multilateral and bilateral agreements.

(Action – Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of External Affairs) Action Points relating to Areas of Special Interest The seven States of the North East with beautiful landscapes, lush green forests, exotic wildlife, unique forms of art and culture and affable tribal societies have hitherto remained backward due to various reasons including poor infrastructure. These States alone offer enormous potential for the development of eco-tourism. At least ten percent of Plan funds of the Ministry will be used for the promotion of tourism in North East

apart from taking up special projects and schemes for the development of the area. Other Special Tourism areas such as Himalayan areas, Islands and coastal areas which are identified will also be developed.

Action points relating to the Economic and Social Benefits
• • • • •

Standardisation of statistical definitions and methods of data collection, tabulation and dis-semination. Strengthening of statistical machinery and improvement of statistical systems on tourism both at the Central and State levels. Development of Tourism Satellite Accounts in association with the Department of Statistics to estimate the economic benefits of tourism precisely and regularly. Undertaking tourism impact assessment studies and case studies. Launching of tourism awareness campaigns at all levels of society.

The Action Points Relating to Professional Excellence

Strengthening the institutional set-up for human resource development including the setting-up of an Advanced Institute of Hotel Management and a Culinary Institute. Qualitative improvement and modernisation of existing training institutions. Setting-up atleast one Food Craft Institute in each State, particularly in North Eastern States. Improving the standards of training in private institutes through accredition and quality control. Setting up a National Tourism Documentation Centre equipped with modern technology systems to function as a repository of research findings and publications on tourism. Involving the tourism industry in human resource development activities and encouraging them to set-up independent training facilities. Streamlining and strengthening of guide training and training of other grass root level workers.

• •

Introduction of optional courses in tourism related topics at Graduate and under Graduate levels in order to meet requirement of trained personnel in this sector.

Eco Tourism in India
Ecotourism is entirely a new approach in tourism. Ecotourism is a preserving travel to natural areas to appreciate the cultural and natural history of the environment, taking care not to disturb the integrity of the ecosystem, while creating economic opportunities that make conservation and protection of natural resources advantageous to the local people. In short, ecotourism can be categorised as a tourism programme that is - "Nature based, Ecologically sustainable, Where education and interpretation is a major constituent and Where local people are benefited." All this together can be called ecotourism. If a travel does not satisfy any one of these constituents, then it is not called a real ecotourism venture. The Concern for Ecotourism Since ages, nature worship and the conservation ethics have been an inseparable part of Indian thought and traditions. Traces go back to ancient civilisations of India, when people used to nurture the philosophy of the oneness of life. The Indian tradition has always taught that, humankind is a part of nature and one should look upon all creation with the eyes of a love and respect. It is tragic that since last few decades, the mad quest for the material end and economical progress in India and abroad has become identical with the exploitation of nature in all its appearances. Today, the entire world is facing a deep crisis and is in the danger of being doomed. The rich forest areas and biological diversities have been relentlessly divested to erect concrete walls. The continuos denuding of forest reserves has led to Global Warming and Greenhouse Effects. Fortunately, this has led to some realisation, and now the world has awaken for new beginnings about human responsibility towards nature.

Ecotourism in India India, the land of varied geography offers several tourist destinations that not just destress but also rejuvenate you. There are several ways to enjoy Mother Nature in most pristine way. The few places like the Himalayan Region, Kerala, the northeast India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Lakshdweep islands are some of the places where you can enjoy the treasured wealth of the Mother Nature. Thenmala in Kerala is the first planned ecotourism destination in India created to cater to the Eco-tourists and nature lovers. The India topography boasts an abundant source of flora & fauna. India has numerous rare and endangered species in its surroundings. The declaration of several wildlife areas and national parks has encouraged the growth of the wildlife resource, which reduced due to the wildlife hunt by several kings in the past. Today, India has many wildlife sanctuaries and protection laws. Currently, there are about 80 national parks and 441 sanctuaries in India, which works for the protection and conservation of wildlife resource in India. There are numerous Botanical and Zoological Gardens in India, which are working towards the enhancement of the Ecosystem. Poaching has stopped to large extent. There are severe punishments for poachers, hunters and illegal traders of animals and trees. Tree plantation are taking place in several places. There are several animal & plant rights organisation, who fight for the rights of the animals and plants. Numerous organisations and NGOs are coming forward to provide environmental education to the common people at the grass root level.

Sustainable Tourism
Employing 260 million people and generating 10.7% of world’s GDP, Tourism is the largest as well as the fastest industry of the world. Bigger planning and management is in dire need to control the tourism industry, and more important, to protect and conserve the biodiversity of tourist places. Dealing predominantly with such serious issues, sustainable tourism comes in great handy, as it is all about conserving the resources, valuing the local culture and tradition and, contributing largely in economy. What is Sustainable Tourism? Sustainable tourism is a kind of approach to tourism meant to make the development of tourism ecologically supportable in the long term. The very importance of sustainable tourism lies in its motives to conserve the resources and increase the value of local culture and tradition. Sustainable tourism is a responsible tourism intending to generate employment and income along with alleviating any deeper impact on environment and local culture. Characteristics of Sustainable Tourism

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Sustainable Tourism tries its utmost to maintain the importance of local culture and tradition. Sustainable Tourism is informatory, as it doesn’t only let tourist know about the destinations but also it helps locals knowing about the culture and civilisation of tourists. This kind of tourism is aimed to conserve the resources of destinations where one is visiting to Sustainable Tourism seeks deeper involvement of locals, which provide local people an opportunity and make their living. Above all, Sustainable Tourism stresses pointedly upon integrity of the tourist places.Principles of Sustainable Tourism With the increased footfalls of tourists, the deep need today is that tourism like other sector be

planned and managed suitably. Sustainable development of tourism is possible only if its follows some of its guidelines and principles.

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Tourism ought to be initiated at any location with the help of local community. The involvement of local community helps maintaining the appropriate tourism development. The local community has to meet the direct benefit of flourishing tourism in their area. Link between local business and tourism enable local people gain economically as well. To cause large growth in sustainable development, there is need that codes, ethics and some fair guidelines be appointed. In order to heighten the importance of heritage and natural resources, and manage them better, training and education programme should be instituted. Relationship between Ecotourism and Sustainable tourism Ecotourism basically deals with nature based tourism, and is aimed “to conserve the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. On the other hand, sustainable tourism includes all segments of tourism, and has same function to perform as of ecotourism – to conserve the resources and increase the local cultural and traditional value. Though the goals of ecotourism and sustainable tourism is much similar, but the latter is broader and conceals within itself very many aspects and categories of tourism

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