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Red Fort, a new heritage gateway for visitors

Visual language, scenography, customised lighting design, furniture design, installations to the finest of details critically preserve the pariahs of our yesterday and activate the dormant spatial experiences…reports Asian Lite News

“Red Fort Centre is a new gateway for visitors to re-experience the events and the fortress’s heritage-built fabric” said Siddharth Bathla, Creative Director and Co-founder of Design Factory India under Dalmia Bharat through adaptively reusing one of the defunct structures of the British military barracks at the world heritage site of the Red Fort. The colonial government built the military barracks after the first war of Independence of 1857.

The Britishers had destroyed significant structures within the Red Fort to build the barracks with the material from the ruins. The barracks are defunct or partially used since independence; however, only withering under the deep layers of plaster, paint, and lack of ethical conservational measures.

Red Fort Centre conserved, designed & developed by DFI. (Photo Source:IANSLIFE)

Many finely carved stones were discovered imbedded in the brickwork of the barrack after the numerous layers of plaster covering its surfaces were removed. These remnants are tangible evidence that the barracks were constructed from the remains of the old Mughal structures that formerly stood on the grounds of the Red Fort. Because of this, the visitor centre’s modern design philosophy breathes life into the fortress’s complex history without being ostentatious or sombre.

The project’s design philosophy aims to mimic the old materiality gleaned from in-depth factual study on the fort through restoration and conservation efforts. The expression of the existing structures has been transformed into a modern, forward-thinking language via current design interventions.

Visual language, scenography, customised lighting design, furniture design, installations to the finest of details critically preserve the pariahs of our yesterday and activate the dormant spatial experiences. The sediment layers of stones, the contemporary colour tones and textures surrender to their surroundings.

The flashes of red oxide act as highlights. The grey tones in furniture, design elements, and products in the historic brick and stone muted ruggedness make the experiential design embody transparency. The scenography shapes and emulsifies with the antiquated background. It tells stories to an amiable wanderer or invites a stranger searching for a welcoming new home to rest. The clarity of the frosted or clear glass in corridors and the brilliance of the natural daylight accentuates their crystalline geometries.

Red Fort Centre conserved, designed & developed by DFI. (Photo Source:IANSLIFE)

Empowering local expertise: The local material combination included lime, surkhi (powdered bricks), stalls of jute, bail water and Badarpur sand. The colour of lime surkhi matching the ancient texture has been achieved after a series of combinations. It will age with the changing weather to provide a robust, archaic yet beautiful contemporary appearance.

The customised bricks measuring 300x150x75 mm (1.5 times the regular brick size) match the existing dimension of the bricks used within the barrack. In the absence of a traditional kiln, the raw material was procured from Meerut and transported to Moradabad to burn handmade bricks in an electric kiln. Red Agra Sandstone procured from the actual Dholpur mines that provided the stone for Red Fort adorns the flooring.

The handmade concrete pendant lights in the corridors have a form attained by juxtaposing the heritage and modern material-the barrack’s refurbishment by replacing existing m.s. Girders and the process of replenishing initially used wood with new seasoned Teak and Sagwan wood aimed to support the centre to play a host and the first stop to an exponentially growing tourist footfall at Red Fort (precisely, 1122 visitors per hour, 10,000 to 12,000 visitors per day).

Respecting the monumental heritage: partitions, furniture, flooring, false ceiling and services at a distance are placed like an offset from the surfaces. Grazers within the skirting on the edge of the floor accentuate the restored exposed stone walls and protect the materiality from getting soiled. The visitors observe the exhibits from a distance and not touch the artefacts and objects. Ushers guide the visitants in small groups, and the markings on the floor will allow them to practice social distancing.

“Making an individual visible amongst everybody and everybody visible in oneself”, the Infinity room with mirrors on all surfaces and customised lighting design provides a kaleidoscopic experience on a larger scale. This space in mirrors with etched Ashok Chakras conjures a backlit effect on all six surfaces. The diorama installation, glass installations and magnetic boards on a significant scale empirically herald the visitors and children to retreat with the reflective perspectives. The various exhibits, experiences, and informative zones at the centre indulge the visitors in incidents that reflect a shared feeling of pride and patriotism, elevating their secular emotions.

Advanced Amenities: On the ground floor known as Red fort centre, the institution offers social and recreational spaces with the only cafeteria at the Red Fort, reception and shops, a 360-degree projection theatre and augmented reality. On the first floor known as Afsana, the Red Fort Story, visitors embark on an interactive journey that underpins the life and culture of the fort and its context in today’s India.

The digital travelogue commences with immersive illustrations showcasing Shahjahanabad expanding to Delhi city through ages, to celebratory live demonstrations of Red Fort’s bazaar area called Chhata Chowk, audio-visual representations of Naubat Khana (entrance) and the Hammam (the imperial bathhouse). It further unfolds significant historical events that shaped the country’s political order, the independence movement marking Red Fort as the forever edifice of power.

Red Fort Centre conserved, designed & developed by DFI. (Photo Source:IANSLIFE)

Projection mapping, holography, LED tv panels and augmented reality room for realistic photography, and grand scale models herald an interactive spectrum of the spaces. “I pledge to clean India and build a New India”, the live band installation is an initiative to indulge the visitors into the more significant nation-building goals of India.

The visitors will now reinterpret the Red Fort through the visitor centre, more than just a frame of reference or a photogenic wonder. The immersive experiences engage the visitors of Red Fort and, in extension, the Delhi city to enjoy the cultural richness and admire the Indian heritage’s ingenuity with open nooks of aesthetically pleasing and highly functional explorations. It distinguishes this monument of national importance as a universal landmark of courage, sapience, knowledge and hands-on innovation.

ALSO READ-From Delhi…to the unexplored

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Lite Blogs Travel & Tourism

From Delhi…to the unexplored

This hill station is a paradise for bird watchers, casual hikers, and weekend visitors from the NCR. It is covered in oak and pine forests and has structures from the colonial era scattered around….writes Olivia Sarkar

When seeking for excellent weekend getaways from Delhi, there are several options. There are many places to explore close to Delhi, whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, a summertime getaway to the hills, a weekend of safaris and camping, or even a cultural experience. What’s great about these locations is that they all accommodate a variety of journeys, whether they be for lone travellers, couples, families, or groups of friends. The North Indian region has great road connectivity, which provides a bonus of a lovely bucolic experience.

Jibhi, Tirthan Valley


Jibhi, which is sometimes referred to as a captivating “hamlet”, is situated in the Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh, between beautiful green trees and a range of colourful mountains. This location is worth visiting because of the thick pine trees, peaceful freshwater lakes, and spotless temples. After seeing this location, you won’t want to leave since you will be enchanted. An added advantage that gives you the impression that you are living in the Victorian Era are the cosy cottages in which you can stay. So relax in nature with a cup of chai and take in the pleasant chirpings of the birds.

Lansdowne, Uttarakhand

A charming tiny hill town called Lansdowne may be found in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district, 258 kilometres from Delhi. This hill station is a paradise for bird watchers, casual hikers, and weekend visitors from the NCR. It is covered in oak and pine forests and has structures from the colonial era scattered around.

Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal’s Kasol is a cute tiny village located on the banks of the Parvati River. Kasol, a prominent tourist destination that is quickly gaining notoriety as a major hub for trekkers, backpackers, and nature lovers, is often referred to as the “Amsterdam of India.” One of the best places in the nation to simply relax and take in the scenery of snow-covered mountains, pine trees, and gurgling rivers is Kasol, which is located 23 km from Bhuntar and near to the religious town of Manikaran.

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Rishikesh (also known as Hrishikesh), which is situated at the confluence of the Ganga and Chandrabhaga Rivers in the Himalayan foothills, is renowned for its adventure sports, historic temples, well-liked cafes, and status as the “Yoga Capital of the World.” With the expansion of the whitewater rafting industry and the emergence of numerous camping and cafe locations, Rishikesh has become a popular destination that can meet the needs of a wide range of visitors.

Sethan Valley, Manali

A charming village called Sethan can be found in the stunning Himachal Pradesh. This Buddhist community is a little hamlet that looks over the Dhauladhar range and is located around 12 kilometres from Manali. The ideal weekend vacation from Delhi may be had without breaking the bank. Sethan Valley is retained in its original natural splendour since it is rarely populated and frequently visited, which makes it less polluted. It is stunning and strange during the winter.

Kuchesar, Uttar Pradesh

Kuchesar, a small village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr District, located 80 kilometres from Delhi. It is part of Bhawan Bahadur Nagar Mandal. The Mud Fort in Kuchesar, which the Jat kings constructed in the middle of the 18th century, is well renowned. One of the most well-known weekend retreats is Kuchesar, which is surrounded by wide green fields and has a village and mud fort. The Kuchesar Fort, also known as Rao Raj Vilas, is a fort from the eighth century that was turned into a heritage resort by rehabilitating a piece of Ajit Singh’s family’s property that belonged to the ancient princely state of Kuchesar.

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Let’s explore incredible India

Literature and history are found in every nook and corner of India. Mumbai is home to cinema where iconic hits like Salaam Bombay and Slum Dog Millionaire were shot…reports Asian Lite News

The mysterious country with unique elephants, mouthwatering cuisines, and a vibrantly colourful environment has always drawn and enthralled tourists. India is a cultural wonder and the ideal location to unwind while making lifelong memories.

India has become the top travel destination over the years, allowing for exceptional shared experiences. Given that 30 nations have united to become one, it is safe to argue that if you have seen India, you have seen the entire planet. If you need more motivation to visit the most sought-after place on earth, we’re here to provide it.

This Diwali go local with amazing drive down destinations to beat Delhi’s noxious air.

You can Eat-Pray-Love to your heart’s content

Liz Gilbert may have chosen to pray but you can go a step ahead without a second thought and explore all three. Head to Punjab for the best of curries and Hyderabad for lip-smacking biryani, in fact each region has their own local specialty that will tickle your taste buds. To indulge your senses, pick a retreat either nestled in the scenic Hrishikesh or choose an Ayurveda detox in Kerala to relax, rejuvenate and feel refreshed. The warm hospitality and bright smiles that welcome you will leave you feeling loved and cherished irrespective of where you go.

Home to Asia’s biggest Music Festival

For high-octane razzmatazz, you can head over to Mumbai, India’s entertainment and financial capital. If you are a music enthusiast or love live entertainment, this one is for you! The country’s gearing up for the biggest, iconic, mammoth music global festival for its inaugural edition in India and Asia both.

Featuring the first-ever performances of artists like Imagine Dragons, The Strokes, Greta Van Fleet and Jackson Wang on the Indian stage along with the massively popular Diplo, Cigarettes After Sex and AP Dhillon who make a comeback to the country on popular demand, Lollapalooza India is a cultural must-do and not be missed. The iconic festival will bring to you sounds from across genres. Trust us when we say your Spotify playlist will never be the same again!

A New Direction Means a New Picturesque Destination


Goa’s hidden beaches, the divine Andaman and Nicobar Island, the majestic Thar desert in Rajasthan to the breath-taking Pangong lake, nature’s filter will surpass your cell phone’s. If you want to experience a cultural extravaganza at the start of the new year, then head to Punjab for Lohri, a popular winter Punjabi folk festival or Gujarat for Makar Sankranti, the famous kite-flying festival of India.

The Literary Grandeur

Literature and history are found in every nook and corner of India. Mumbai is home to cinema where iconic hits like Salaam Bombay and Slum Dog Millionaire were shot. Agra is home to the monument of love, the ever-glorious Taj Mahal. If this isn’t enough then don’t forget in the mountains of Mussoorie, is the most loved children’s author Ruskin Bond and a few miles away from the Bay of Bengal, glimpses of Rabindranath Tagore will be found in the heart of Santi Niketan.

ALSO READ-Budget friendly must-visit countries for Indian globetrotters

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Budget friendly must-visit countries for Indian globetrotters

Bali, an island in Indonesia, is a popular destination on many people’s bucket lists for a good reason. Bali sings of a harmonious fusion of people and food, green and blue water bodies, primitive culture and environment…writes N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Travelling is not just leisure, for many people it is a way of life, a necessity to suffice innate cravings. International travel is full of excitement, delight, and, most importantly, adventure. The most important consideration while deciding on a vacation is the budget.

Planning a budget trip can be challenging, and if you are looking for an international destination, Alapati Krishna Mohan, MD – Southern Travels shares a handy list of must-visit countries for Indian globetrotters.

Vietnam

One of the most well-known places in the world for travellers and is also one of the pocket-friendly countries to visit from India. With its abundant natural beauty, cultural legacy, and history, you will surely leave with a satisfied soul.

Tourists are drawn to adventure activities such as sightseeing, yacht or boat cruises, local market tours, caving, cultural tours, island tours, and wildlife tours. Some must-visit places in Vietnam are Hanoi, HoChi Minh City, Sapa, NhaTrang, Mekong Delta, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay. Furthermore, a quality trip to Vietnam for three to four nights will cost you somewhere around Rs 25,000.
Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country that includes the Malay Peninsula as well as the island of Borneo. It is famous for its beaches, rainforests, and a cultural blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences. Lodging for three to four days trip to Malaysia will cost you around Rs 12,000.
Trekking in Taman Negara National Park, seeing the culture of Kota Bharu, and observing orangutans at Sepilok are all options to explore the beauty of Malaysia. Also, make sure a refreshing sunbathe in Langkawi, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, and escape to Genting Highlands.

Budget-friendly international destinations to visit.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Thailand

Thailand is the most popular tourist destination for travellers on a tight budget since it allows you to mingle with gregarious and friendly locals and offers a variety of activities to do. The night skyline, authentic spas to soothe your senses, clubbing, swimming in turquoise waters, affordable street food, and high street markets of Bangkok and Pattaya are those fun activities in Thailand where you can discover anything you’re interested in. And last but not least, the friendly and laid-back Thai people are the best hosts to make your journey memorable.
Bangkok for its city parties, Pattaya for its nightlife, Chiang Rai for mountain hiking, KohSamui, and Krabi for their gorgeous, undeveloped beaches are just a few of the destinations that one must visit.
Additionally, accommodation for a four-day trip to Thailand will run you about Rs 12,000 in total.

Budget-friendly international destinations to visit.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Bali

Bali, an island in Indonesia, is a popular destination on many people’s bucket lists for a good reason. Bali sings of a harmonious fusion of people and food, green and blue water bodies, primitive culture and environment, etc. The paradise island is full of varieties; within a few hours, you can travel from a beach to a rainforest to a mountain.
Along with taking advantage of Bali’s nightlife, you can explore Uluwatu, Ubud, Jimbaran, and many islands. You can also check out some of Bali’s top eateries because there aren’t many places to get a bad meal on the island. Additionally, the neighbourhood “warungs” frequently have very low prices and serve Balinese specialities like NasiGoreng (fried rice) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles).
And, four days of accommodation in Bali will cost you around Rs 20,000.

Budget-friendly international destinations to visit.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Baku

One of the most exciting new tourist attractions is Baku, an exciting fusion of oil-driven modernity and Asian traditions. Modern skyscrapers contrast with the historic mosques and other local features in the city, which gives a beautiful blend of old and contemporary architecture. It is the perfect unexplored tourist destination, and there are many things to do there, such as trying the local cuisine, touring mediaeval palaces, or taking a stroll through the city to take in the more modern architecture.
You can visit the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the renowned stone Maiden Tower, both of which are located in the mediaeval-walled old city. Also, you can explore and witness the contemporary landmarks, which include the Zaha Hadid’s designed Heydar Aliyev Center and the Flame Towers, three-pointed skyscrapers covered with LED screens.
Overall, the four-day stay in Baku will somewhere cost you Rs 18,000.

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Asia News Sri Lanka Travel & Tourism

Breather for Lanka as more tourists arrive in Colombo

The Tourism Ministry said the arrival of the cruise liner gave a boost to the South Asian country’s tourism….reports Asian Lite News

A super luxury cruise ship arrived at the Colombo Port on Tuesday carrying over 2,000 tourists, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said.

The “Mein Schiff 5” owned by a German operator docked at the capital city with ceremonies and cultural shows planned throughout the day, reports Xinhua news agency.

Officials from the SLPA said the ship received a ceremonious welcome at the Colombo Port and the passengers would be offered excursions for the majority of the locations and tours covering the city, the south and the central highlands.

The Tourism Ministry said the arrival of the cruise liner gave a boost to the South Asian country’s tourism.

Nine international passenger cruises were expected to arrive in Sri Lanka by March next year, which would revive the country’s pandemic-battered tourism and attract much-needed foreign exchange.

ALSO READ: Sri Lanka plans to end power cuts next year

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Best ever locations to make your big day special

The Dana Villas have a view of the traditional quiet settlement of Firostefani. It also provides a beautiful wedding terrace with a sight of the Caldera…writes Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Unquestionably, getting married is one of the most romantic days of a person’s life because it allows the couple to celebrate their new beginning. The choice of a stunning location for the wedding is one approach to capturing this particular moment in time.

From picturesque mountains and sun-kissed beaches to sumptuous palaces, historic forts, and opulent hotels, these locations have everything you need to make your wedding ceremony special.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai has become the must-visit destination for holidays and now glamorous dream weddings. You can call it the most prized destination for your perfect wedding, thanks to the sunny weather, myriad activities, and posh locations. Centrally located Dubai is well-connected to have your loved ones come down for the marriage.

Al- Habtoor, Hilton, is Dubai’s best wedding venue that has a fantastic setting and a view of the Dubai skyline. Witness the star-filled skies and the beautiful gulf whilst enjoying the wedding.

Location: Al-Habtoor Hilton, Dubai

Bali, Indonesia

You fall in love with Bali in Indonesia, thanks to the beautifully vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and greenery. The best luxury hotels and resorts add to the Balinese charm. All in all, it is the perfect backdrop for getting married. Choose amongst the many resorts & hotels specially prepared for weddings and come with qualified planners to handle the details.

Location: The Cliff-Edge Cabana at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Phuket, Thailand

Having your wedding in Phuket is an occasion due to the romance and intimacy attached to the venues found here. A Phuket wedding is another world, from exclusive clifftop villas to private garden setups acting as the perfect backdrops. Choose Phuket as the wedding destination. It has everything gorgeous scenery, the best facilities and accessibility. The beaches here come with luxurious facilities for couples and their loved ones.

Location: Rosewood Phuket

Santorini, Greece

When you think Greece, you think Santorini. The whitewashed coast has beautiful sunsets, scenery & weather. All are great for getting married to your loved ones. The place also comes with ancient culture and architecture. Luxurious hotels are a norm in the location.

The Dana Villas have a view of the traditional quiet settlement of Firostefani. It also provides a beautiful wedding terrace with a sight of the Caldera.

Location: Dana Villas

Italy

For romance, Italy is the country that comes to your mind. The perfect wedding destination has loads of tranquil venues complete with historical centres/castles, luxurious lakeside villas, etc. The wedding dream becomes a reality in Italy thanks to its historical & romantic charm.

Lake Como happens to be a popular place for many luxurious & expensive weddings, especially for many celebs all around the world.

Location: Lake Como

Agra, Uttar Pradesh

When you have the eternal Taj Mahal in the city, it is hard not to miss having a wedding in Agra in Uttar Pradesh. You can have a grand and stunning wedding thanks to the beautiful surroundings and great luxurious hotels dotted in the city. With one of the seven wonders here, having your dream wedding is possible.

Location: ITC Mughal

Jaipur, Rajasthan

The Pink City of Jaipur and the capital of Rajasthan has everything to offer for your perfect wedding, from beautiful backdrops & venues to tasty food. The luxurious hotels and resorts found here complete the whole picture. Jaipur is a favourite destination for lavish weddings in India courtesy of the scenic architecture, royal background, and best places to stay.

Location: Fairmont Hotel

Lake Como

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Udaipur, the city of lakes, is yet another favourite wedding destination in Rajasthan with a royal touch. You find palaces & forts here with a rich history and tradition. The natural flora and fauna charms everyone who comes here. With the perfect hospitality industry in place, everyone will find something in Udaipur while hosting and attending the wedding.

Location: Oberoi Udaivilas

Goa

The tiny yet stunning state of Goa has always been a tourist paradise and a wedding destination. It has everything from amazing beaches to great seafood and perfect wedding venues. Have the picture-perfect wedding you dreamt of in Goa. The best thing is the historical and cultural aspect which makes for a uniquely relaxing wedding.

Location: The St. Regis Goa Resort

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a favourite destination for a picturesque mountain wedding. And Manali is the hill station for the same. The snow-clad Himalayas enveloped by thick forests will stun the bride & groom and the attendees. Whatever the time of the day, hosting your wedding in Manali is a perfect idea.

Location: Citrus Resort, Manali

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Sustainable stays around Rainbow Nation

The focus is on altogether eliminating single-use plastics from their property by the end of 2022. They are also looking at leveraging the latest technology to reduce food wastage…reports Asian Lite News

As travellers continue to seek meaningful experiences, their demand patterns are constantly shifting and evolving, especially in the post-pandemic era. They have become more conscious about the choices they make while choosing a destination and are now particular about the brands they want to be associated with. They are no longer just looking for rooms with a view or for those with a luxurious bathtub but are also interested in the core values of destinations and properties.

With sustainability at the core of all travel decisions they make, these discerning consumers are looking for an authentic commitment to responsible travel and not just lip service. They are also mindful of their choices while actively studying their impact on local communities and environments.

Sustainability and luxury do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, travelers looking for sustainable, yet opulent accommodation will be spoilt for choice in South Africa. They can enjoy a luxurious, experiential and mindful time at eco-friendly lodges and hotels all across the Rainbow Nation.

With sustainability as one of its fundamental values, South Africa is the first country in the world to embrace the principles of Fair Trade in its tourism industry. This certification scheme guarantees fair wages, working conditions, fair sourcing of produce, respect for culture, environment, and human rights, and a fair distribution of benefits. For eco-conscious souls and wanderers, below is a curated list of sustainable stays around the Rainbow Nation:

Oyster Box Hotel, KwaZulu-Natal

Famous for its awe-inspiring coastal views and gracious hospitality, Oyster Box is one of South Africa’s most celebrated hotels. The five-star, seaside hotel is located just 15 minutes away from King Shaka International Airport. Sustainability is the central pillar of all hotel operations at Oyster Box, where they have embraced innovations surrounding water conservation, energy efficiency, and waste management through guest-focused programs that encourage environmental awareness.

Currently, the focus is on altogether eliminating single-use plastics from their property by the end of 2022. They are also looking at leveraging the latest technology to reduce food wastage. For each key card returned to their reception desk, they donate 1 ZAR to Rhinos Without Borders.

Thonga Beach Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal

Located in the heart of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, this lodge is home to eight ecosystems and 256 bird species. It has 12 thatched eco-sensitive rooms with spectacular views of the ocean and forest around. The rooms are designed to provide maximum privacy and minimal environmental impact.

A team of talented chefs makes sure that the food served is central to their sustainability goals. From selecting ethical local suppliers to creating world-class modern fusions using local resources, Thonga Beach Lodge works ground up on enhancing sustainability. Thonga has also been actively involved in efforts to protect the loggerhead and leatherback turtle. In partnership with the local Isibindi Foundation, Thonga plays a major role in community-driven conservation.

Four Rosmead, Western Cape

Four Rosmead is a boutique luxury guest house located on the slope of Table Mountain in Cape Town. A perfect romantic getaway, it is decorated with chic and contemporary interiors enhanced by original South African artwork. Situated in the heart of Cape Town, visitors can easily explore local markets and beautiful beaches.

The guest house functions on sustainability principles across multiple avenues through its fair-trade policy. They practice water recycling and greywater irrigation for their garden. The property is also energy efficient as they encourage the use of LED lighting and gas. They invest in their staff’s skill development and ensure they are paid above industry standards.


Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, Northern Cape

As the biggest privately protected wildlife reserve in South Africa, Tswalu is first and foremost an ambitious conservation project. It is also one of the most beautiful and sustainable hotels in South Africa. Following an eco-tourism model, while maintaining a low carbon footprint, they have the lowest ratio of guests to the wilderness in South Africa, with accommodation for a maximum of 40 guests across three luxury safari camps.

Tswalu offers its guests privileged access to unique safari experiences. Guest stays in their luxury safari camps contribute to the sustainability of the entire reserve and the Tswalu Foundation, which is dedicated to scientific research. They are guided by the four key benchmarks of conservation, community, culture, and commerce.

Teniqua Treetops, Western Cape

Located along the famous Garden Route, Teniqua Treetops has self-catering suites that offer spectacular views of lush landscapes. Eco-friendly cabins offer a perfect secluded and peaceful getaway in the arms of Mother Nature. Each suite has been built using sustainably farmed pine and gum and has been designed to blend in with the lush forest. The property’s water supply is drawn from the nearby Karatara River which is filtered through a 10-stage eco-friendly procedure without the use of any harmful chemicals. Teniqua Treetops is a paradise for all nature lovers with more than 100 bird species present around the property. The property also offers several nature-centered activities to keep guests delighted.

These elegant nature reserves are sure to sweep you off your feet! Which property are you booking on your next trip to South Africa?

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Bungee jump to face your fears

However never mistake thrill for danger. Select the best operator that has an exceptional safety record, the most professional practices, expert staff, and outstanding testimonials…reports Asian Lite  News

Ever stood on the edge, facing your fears, only to dive into a beautiful abyss amidst the serenity of nature? Bungee jumping is an activity that involves a person jumping from a formidable height while attached to a long rubber chord harnessed to the ankles. Yes, that leaves you whipped around by the elastic chord mid-air, upside down!

Face your fears


Jumping off the cantilever is not just facing the fear of heights but a lot of things in life. Gathering every ounce of courage to take the leap of faith will help you overcome every feeling of suppression. Bungee jumping is not for the faint of heart. You will have to be extra prepared mentally so that you do not panic. But getting it done will leave you with a once-in-a-lifetime memory. Face your fears and book this activity for your next vacation to overcome resentment. Rishikesh and Goa are said to be some of the best locations for bungee jumping.

Break away from the monotony:

There’s a reason why adventure sports like Bungee jumping have been popular as off-site activities among multinational corporations: it increases productivity! A workforce that’s been shaken out of the monotony of their routine, taken amidst nature, and been given the opportunity to undertake some self-exploration that adventure provides, only works better in the end with much higher output than before.

In fact, even IPS officers in India visit Bungee Jumping annually as part of confidence building. However never mistake thrill for danger. Select the best operator that has an exceptional safety record, the most professional practices, expert staff, and outstanding testimonials.

Make memories that last a lifetime!

Nothing lasts more than the memories you make while living life on the edge. The breathtaking view and coming back with stories are exceptional in their own way. It is a personal achievement to take the proverbial leap of faith! Bragging the experience to loved ones and posting pictures on social media is the happiest after-effect of such journeys. Every time you watch a Bungee jumping video or see an image, your personal experience will come flooding back to you as if it was just done yesterday. The memory will be right up there with others and one off the bucket list.

India has only one company so far to be certified by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India to be operating Bungee jumps in the country- Jumpin Heights. Incidentally, they are also the only ones to set up fixed Bungee platforms amidst a natural landscape. They have two branches – one at Rishikesh and now in Goa. To the uninitiated, it may make no sense, but those who’ve tasted adventure know the thrill of adrenaline and the power of standing on the edge!

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Qatar’s new hot spots to explore beyond stadiums

Early November will see the highly anticipated launch of Qatar Tourism’s West Bay North Beach Project, with the initial launch comprising three new beaches in the heart of Doha…reports Asian Lite News

With less than a month to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar Tourism has revealed new tourism attractions, hotels and resorts that will be open for fans to enjoy during the tournament. This unprecedented year of development represents a major milestone in Qatar’s emergence as a tourist destination, with the country seeking to welcome six million visitors a year by 2030.

Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said, “2022 has been an extraordinary year in Qatar with so many major new hotel and tourism openings. From shopping malls to beach clubs, museums to theme parks, there are now activities and experiences in Qatar for every type of traveller, from every nation, and to suit every budget. With more than one million fans expected to visit for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we’re proud to be able to offer a true breadth of experiences and entertainment beyond our stadiums, fan festivals and matches.”

Entertainment

. Al Maha Island: Set to launch next month, Al Maha Island will feature high-end restaurants including Zuma, LPM, Billionaire and Carbone, as well as other eateries and attractions such as NammosQatar beach club and Lusail Winter Wonderland. The island also features Al MahaDrive, a unique driveway experience reserved only for supercars and classic cars.

. Lusail Winter Wonderland: In contrast to the icy cold temperatures that greet visitors at the famous London Hyde Park location, visitors to Lusail Winter Wonderland will be able to relax on the beach in the sun while enjoying festive games, rides, live entertainment and delicious food and drink. Lusail Winter Wonderland will launch at the beginning of November 2022, bringing winter magic to the Middle East.

. Lusail Boulevard: Located in the heart of Lusail, this dynamic and diverse shopping, commercial and residential area is set to become the Champs-Elysees of the Middle East, with the open-air, climate-controlled boulevard offering a vast range of experiences. Lusail Boulevard is set to open in time for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – with an opening weekend scheduled for November 3-5, 2022.

. Qetaifan Island North: Conceived as an entertainment hub, Qetaifan Island North will feature luxurious hotels, beach clubs, gardens, pedestrian-friendly streets, distinct neighbourhoods and a waterpark. Qetaifan Island North will launch before the end of the year.

. Corinthia Yacht Club: Located on The Pearl-Qatar, the architecture of the stunning Corinthia Yacht Clubechoes the billowing sails of traditional Qatari dhows. The private club, set to open this year, will offer exclusive invitation-only membership, the first of its kind in Qatar. The club will also be home to Kai’s Songbird, an elevated fine-dining experience by the coveted Michelin-starred restaurant, Kai Mayfair, London.

. West Walk: Located in the heart of Al Waab, West Walk is Doha’s latest urban lifestyle community. Scheduled to open before the end of the year, the district is tailored to the needs of modern living and fuses residential, retail and leisure spaces to provide the perfect live-work-play experience. West Walk also features a one-of-a-kind pedestrian promenade with innovative outdoor cooling technology.

Beaches & beach clubs

. West Bay North Beach Project: Early November will see the highly anticipated launch of Qatar Tourism’s West Bay North Beach Project, with the initial launch comprising three new beaches in the heart of Doha:

. West Bay Beach: An affordable public beach where diverse amenities will include a food court, fan zone and beach volleyball court.

. B12 Beach Club Doha: A family-friendly beach club with a breadth of amenities including 600 sun loungers, a restaurant, retail shops and a children’s playground.

. DOHASANDS Beach Club: The stylish club will feature a buzzing concert stage, quick-service food and beverage outlets, retail offerings and 1,000 sun loungers for visitors keen to enjoy the sunshine.

. 974 Beach Club: Located next to the iconic 974 Stadium, this beach club will feature an all-encompassing beachside experience with water-based activities, beach sports, luxury retail outlets, food and beverage kiosks, a big screen, live DJ sets and other cultural activities.

. La Mar Beach Club: Recently opened in October, this luxury beach lounge in the InterContinental Doha Beach & Spa overlooks unparalleled views of the West Bay skyline. Guests can dip in azure waters while enjoying chic cabanas, sunbeds, private loungers and a twist on the well-loved La Mar restaurant menu.

. Makani Beach Club: Also newly opened in October, The Four Seasons Hotel Doha’s new lively seafront lounge brings Southern Mediterranean elegance in a chilled setting overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Club-goers can expect light bites, ocean views and DJ entertainment.

Arts & Culture

. Museum of Islamic Art (re-opening): Qatar’s iconic Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) reopened to the public on October 5 2022 following a year-long facilities enhancement project. The re-imagination of its permanent collection of over 1,000 objects will create a new visitor-focused layout and storyline, allowing the museum to showcase its world-renowned exhibits as never before. Aimed at families with children, the new galleries at MIA include hands-on experiences and activities.

Shopping

Printemps Doha: Launching for the first time outside of France, the prestigious Parisian department store Printempswill combines new technologies and an immersive physical experience to offer over 600 brands – 200 exclusives in Qatar. Printemps will be the only department store in Qatar to house all the iconic Maisons under one roof: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Valentino, Balmain, Pinel et Pinel and more. Set to be the largest luxury department store in the region, Printempswill opens its doors in Doha Oasis over the coming weeks.

Hotels and resorts

.Fuwairit Kite Beach: Fuwairit Kite Beach, which celebrated its official opening earlier in October, is nestled along a natural lagoon an easy hour’s drive north of Doha. With excellent kitesurfing conditions, the state-of-the-art resort has found a perfect home thanks to the consistent winds, ideal ocean conditions and powder-soft sands.

The St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island: This exclusive island getaway in the heart of Porto Arabia opened in October. The hotel offers bespoke services and exquisite culinary offerings on a Mediterranean-styled island.

. Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha: Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha has inherited a location with a prestigious history; since 1973 and now, the site was home to the landmark Gulf Hotel. The building has undergone a grand refurbishment to accommodate this newall-inclusive venture by Rixos Hotels, in partnership with Accor and Katara Hospitality, which will consist of 350 rooms and suites and seven dining outlets. The hotel will be open at the end of October.

. The Outpost Al Barari: The first-of-its-kind accommodation in Qatar, The Outpost Al Barari is situated in the stunning Inland Sea nature reserve and is surrounded by soaring sand dunes and desert wilderness. The resort offers 21 luxury lodges with private pools that will integrate close-to-nature experiences, sustainability and luxury hospitality. This unique desert experience will be open from November 1 2022.

. RixosQetaifan Island North Doha: Opening before the end of the year, this resort will surround the island’s main attraction: a state-of-the-art waterpark. A traditional Turkish hammam and luxurious treatment rooms will also be on offer, alongside an exclusive sports club for active travellers and the Rixy Kids Club to keep every child entertained.

. Waldorf Astoria Doha West Bay: Currently in the final phases of construction, this hotel will open by the end of the year in the heart of the capital’s Diplomatic Area. The 44-story tower will boast art-deco-inspired rooms, a rooftop indoor pool and extensive culinary options created by Michelin-starred chefs.



. Waldorf Astoria Doha Lusail: The sprawling resort is located in the heart of Lusail and boasts a pristine private sand beach. The hotel opened in October 2022, offering a selection of fun activities for both adults and children, from water slides to surfing, alongside 461 rooms, a fitness centre, a spa and offices.

New attractions, hotels and resorts in Qatar.(Photo: Ianslife)

. The Ned Doha: One of London and New York’s most exclusive hotels and private members’ clubs, The Ned will open in Doha this November. Set inside the former Ministry of Interior building along the Doha Corniche, The Ned Doha will be home to 90 rooms and 12 suites, seven restaurants, a gym, a spa and a 30-metre outdoor pool.

. The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort: Nestled in the heart of Katara Cultural Village and surrounded by lavish gardens, this property will open in November with luxury rooms and 32 regal villas – all designed with an elegant blend of Mughal and Ottoman aesthetics.

. Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha: Each of these luxury hotels will face one another in two grand towers, which combine to represent the two scimitar swords on Qatar’s national seal. Fairmont Doha will be inspired by mega-yacht design and a soaring lobby will house the world’s tallest chandelier, whereas Raffles Doha will be a suite-only property with a legendary butler service. Select dining and event spaces will be accessible during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

. Rosewood Doha: Located in two stunning towers inspired by Qatar’s coral reefs, Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha will open before the end of the year and consist of a luxury hotel, apartments, spa and state-of-the-art fitness centre.

. Katara Hills LXR Hotels: Inspired by Scandinavian architectural style and created with environment-friendly materials, 15 luxury villas will offer a private and peaceful escape from the city in the green paradise of Katara Hills. Set to open this November.

. DoubleTree by Hilton Doha Downtown: Just 10 minutes from the city centre and near to many of Qatar’s most popular attractions, this hotel opened in October and features over 250 spacious serviced apartments.

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TRAVEL: 24 hours in Calais by Reza Amirinia

Calais is not just a place to purchase cheap cigarettes and alcohol in its hyper-markets. I have passed through Calais many times while on my way to Paris or French Riviera … writes Mohammed Reza Amirinia

Calais is one of the most frequently used gateway to Europe for British travellers. A city which has often been ignored by tourists. Calais, unlike Dover, its equivalent on the other side of the channel, is a serious travel destination with many hidden treasures.

Calais is not just a place to purchase cheap cigarettes and alcohol in its hyper-markets. I have passed through Calais many times while on my way to Paris or French Riviera. This was the first time that I could experience Calais for 24 hours. I was surprised to learn what I have missed and it’s really not very far from London. Calais has a lot to offer to visitors including golden sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, fine restaurants and historical settings.

A still from Calais – Images © Mohammad Reza Amirinia

Standing at the Cap Blanc Nez, 15 Km from Calais port near Sangatte in the Pas-de-Calais, you would be in the shortest distance across the strait of Dover between England and France. The distance is only 34 Km. On a clear day, you can see the white cliffs of Dover from the hilltop of Cap Blanc Nez. Since ancient times, the headland of Cap Blanc Nez has been known as an important site of observation for sailors and border patrol. The landmark also played an important task during the two world wars.

On the top of Cap Blanc Nez, a granite pillar monument in the memory of Dover Patrol during the First World War has been erected in 1921. Two other similar obelisks are standing in Dover and Brooklyn, New York.  The Cap Blanc Nez at the 134-meter high is the most northerly cliff in France. The landscape is a great place for a day trip, hiking and gazing at the sea.  You can also discover on the cliff side German bunkers that remain from the second World War.

I checked in to the Metropol Hotel and then started my exploration of Calais with a visit to the Town hall. This 20th Century building has a 75-meter high belfry that has been designed in a renaissance revival style and looks like a historical structure. The building was designed in the memory of municipal merger of Calais and Saint-Pierre in 1885 and placed between the two towns.

A still from Calais – Images © Mohammad Reza Amirinia

Inside Town Hall there is a large ceremonial hall, wedding reception room, meeting room and the mayor’s office, which is on the second floor. As you climb the stairs to the second floor, a large stained-glass window depicts the story of the liberation of Calais from the English. The guide explained it in detail. The belfry, a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a major landmark in Calais. Climbing to the observation platform via stairs or a lift to the top of the tower would give you a panoramic view of the city. There are also working models of the port of Calais on display.

I had a snack and coffee at L’authentic Joe café restaurant at Rue Neuve located in Centre Commercial Coeur De Vie in Calais, before strolling in the city. It was a short walk opposite the commercial centre to the pedestrian street of Rue Charost. The balloon installation by the Portuguese artist Patricia Cunha has created a multi-colour design hanging over Rue Charost. I reach Boulevard la Fayette looking at the same colourful balloon installation decorating the sky of the main street of Calais. The Grand Theater de Calais stands at the crossing of Bd la Fayette and Bd Pasteur.

A tour of the seafront and sandy beaches of Calais is not to be missed. As I walked along the beach, enjoying the calm view of the sea, I was amazed to see a giant creature moving along the beach front. La Compagnie du Dragon represents the majestic mechanical beastiary of a dragon. This mechanical animal is 12 meters high and 25 meters long and made of steel and wood. It has been innovated by François Delaroziere. The gigantic model of the Dragon looks so real, as it moves its ears, eyelids and tongue. It sprays water and fire now and then. You can step into the tail of this giant machine, climb the stairs to sit onboard for a forty-five minutes adventure along the promenade. As the dragon starts moving a guide explains the story behind its design. A team of 6 people control and drives the dragon. I found it an interesting experience to relax onboard viewing the glory of the sea.

A still from Calais – Images © Mohammad Reza Amirinia

I ended my day by having dinner at Aquaraile restaurant near Calais port. I enjoyed my dinner while watching a panoramic view of the sea from large windows from the fourth floor of the building, looking at ships embarking from the port. There are many restaurants in Calais offering excellent seafood. I ordered a vegetable soup made with parsley for my starter. I followed this with the main course, cod fish with potatoes and broccoli. Aquaraile also offers an excellent cheese board to meet most tastes. I ended my dinner with dessert and mint tea while watching the sunset. The scenery was a colourful explosion of light and tint as the sun faded away on the horizon.

I was lucky to witness Fête de la Musique in Calais which happens every year on the 21st of June, the symbolic day of the summer solstice. The annual event is a music celebration throughout the territory of Hauts-de-France with free performances of all kinds. I went to the city centre. There were many stands with DJs playing hip hop, pop and jazz outside shops and restaurants across Rue Royale. The celebration was extended to Place d’Armes, a large square at the centre of the town where the 13th-century watch tower of Tour du Guet stands. A monument of Yvonne and Charles De Gaulle has also been erected in the square. The festival was going to continue till morning, but I needed my sleep and could not stay longer.

A still from Calais – Images © Mohammad Reza Amirinia

In the morning after breakfast, I checked out of the hotel and headed to visit La Coupole. I was interested in learning more about the history of World War II in France and German remains around Calais. Calais was a very strategic place for Germans to launch an attack on Britain. In 1943 the Germans built La Coupole, an impressive bunker to launch the V2 missiles against Britain. This historic site was built in the Pas-de-Calais department, about 5 kilometres from Saint-Omer, and 40 Kilometres from Calais Port. This innovative centre was never used because Germans could not complete it on time as the site was heavily bombarded by Allied forces. The site was renovated in 1997 and turned into a museum to tell the story of the German occupation of France including the V weapons, various missiles and space exploration. Arriving at the museum and before entering the tunnel, the view of the grey dome of La Coupole is a solemn reminder of this mighty destructive military site. 

I entered a huge dark tunnel with high ceiling leading to winding smaller tunnels. There are smaller inner sections displaying the exhibits about La Couple and certain machinery which was used in building the bunker. Going through the tunnels reminds me of war movies. I highly recommend it to those who like to get in-depth information about World War II.

A still from Calais – Images © Mohammad Reza Amirinia

My exploration of Calais wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Calais Museum of Lace and Fashion. It was a great educational experience to learn about the origins of lace-making in Calais. The museum is housed in an old lace factory. The story of lace in Calais goes back to the early nineteenth century when a group of tulle makers immigrated from Nottingham (famous for its lace making) to Calais. They smuggled machinery from England and set up their lace-making business. Their business flourished and soon become an important trade on the continent. Old machines are still in operation. The visitor can observe lace making and hear the musical sound of machines. 

The museum illustrates the history of lace making with displays of handmade examples through to products made by machine. There are also fashion exhibits of various clothes using lace.     

I enjoyed my 24 hours visit to Calais. I hope to return in the future and explore more of this amazing city. I took the DFDS ferry back to Dover enjoying the benefits of their premium lounge.

More Information:

  • For information about Calais visit Calais Tourist office.
  • DFDS Ferries has frequent daily sailings from Dover to Calais and offers prices from £70 each way for a car including four people. You can upgrade for the premium lounge at a price of £12 per person each way.

Images and story © Mohammad Reza Amirinia