Why Rural Tourism

What exactly pulls tourists to our villages ? – The clean air & pollution free environ thats hard to find in cities – The “poor, hungry people” as highlighted by Circuit in MunnaBhai MBBS – The slow pace of life & the simplicity of living – Gandhiji’s words that India lives in her villages – Low cost way to see the natural beauty of India (I had home stayed with farmers during my Sikkim visit) I have been watching this industry grow considerably, but am still not sure whats the puller?

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Marketing lessons from Kumbh

At my recent visit to Haridwar (during the Kumbh Mela) one thing that really struck out (apart from the crowd) was the number of hoardings on the Haridwar-Rishikesh road. This road is parallel to Ganga & is the path that most devotees would take from their camps/hotels to the ghats. And each hoarding was vying for your attention. I was reminded of the 1st year B school marketing lessons by looking at these hoardings. Before we get into the specifics of what one can learn from these ads, its crucial you understand the economics of Kumbh Mela.   The Kumbh

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Granada- The Last sigh of the Moor

As a schoolboy I had seen a picture of the glorious red castle of Alhambra surrounded by hills. And often I wondered how it would be to walk through the courts of the Kings of Granada. So when we made the trip to Spain, we took the five hour bus ride from Madrid to Granada passing through pretty Spanish houses. Granada at southern Spain is a charming little town sprawling around the foot of the Alhambra castle. It has many small cafes with a sprinkling of North African cuisine. The town has a relaxed atmosphere where we found grandmothers sitting

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Rail Museum

As a kid growing up in a small town (I had spent most of my childhood days in Ranchi), our annual summer vacations in Delhi usually left a deep impression.  Can you imagine the excitement one had at seeing such huge buildings/forts & so many cars on the roads. One such trip whose memory lingered on for very many years was the family outing to the Rail Museum. I guess I must have been around 9-10 yrs old and the whole gang of cousins went there one hot summer evening. I had vague memories of peeping inside Tipu Sultan’s royal

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The JUNGLE BOOK (Kanha, APRIL 2009)

The first day At 4:00 am there is a sharp knock on the door. It’s still pitch dark but its time to wake up with tea & biscuits at 4:15am! The gypsy and eighteen year old Ramzan are waiting for Simrata & me and we quickly join and drive to the queue at Kanha gate. The entry form takes a few minutes and Dinesh Soni the forest ranger hops in. At 5:00 the gates open and we head to the inner park gate; the Kisli gate. It is still dark and we have to wait till 5:45. The Kanha National

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Mukhteswar- an ideal hill station

December was almost gone & I had not done any serious trips in the whole of 2009. The guilt was really high & I was asking some friends if they were keen on a road trip – anywhere from the hills to the deserts. After a lot of SMS, I realised by the evening of 26th that this was again going to be a solo trip- probably the best way to see a new place. I spoke to my bro , who is a self-proclaimed authority on Himachal & Uttaranchal- and asked him for some recommendations & his top one

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What is vipassana?

Disclaimer: I have attended just one course and my understanding of Vipasanna might be inaccurate. I would recommend interested people to read literature on the same by Goenkaji or actually attending the course. ————————————————————————- Vipasanna is best summarized as a meditation technique that revolves around body sensations. Sounds strange- right? But apparently this strange but simple technique was what helped Siddarth Gautam (The Buddha) to progress on his path of enlightment & nirvana in top gear ! So here’s how this course approaches the technique: – For the first 3 days one is asked to practise what is called Aana-Paana.

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My first vipassana course- part 2

Couple of masala-teas later,when the shock of the situation had been absorbed, I started figuring out how best to utilize my time before the registration (which was to start at 1400hrs). AY had already told me about a good trek to Bhagsu village, but I needed to freshen up and dump my stuff somewhere. The chai shop owner told me that I could go into the center office once it opens at 0900 hrs and use the facility even before registering. So sharp at 9, I walked into the campus;told the guy that I just reached a little early for

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My first Vipasanna course- part 1

Life is best lived if one learns to read the signs (so says the Alchemist) and most of us have at some point or another read those signs and followed em. Vipasanna was one such sign that had been staring me in the face for almost 3 years. The first I heard about this seemingly tough course was when I was back in Chennai and had met AYs mom for the first time. Not sure what prompted her to say this, but she asked me to attend a Vipasanna course at the earliest possible. I used to think that maybe

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Jungle path at Vaishno Devi

Almost the whole gang from work- some 27 of us- went to Vaishno Devi early this month. There are two routes that one can take to reach “Bhawan”- the new shorter and cleaner (as no ponies allowed) one or the old one that goes through Sanjhi Chatt. As usual we took the new route and had just reached Him Koti, when we saw a sign on the hill side saying – Footpath- Sanjhhi Chatt-1.5 Kms. Something inside me jumped at the adventure that lay ahead in walking the jungle path in this holy place.. Me & my friend we both

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