Hyderabad- The City of Nizams

Ensconced in the rocky terrain of the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad had been the proud fortress capital since the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for almost a century. Founded by Mohammad Ali Qutb Shah, it remained an invincible capital of the Shia rulers till the Mughals invaded, and captured the kingdom. The Mughal rulers, however, had vested interests in Delhi, and hence, retreated, thereby entrusting their new booty to Asif Jah I. The latter declared his sovereignty over the region, and proclaimed himself as the first Nizam of Hyderabad. His progenies further extended the princely state, which soon developed as the hub of pearls and diamonds trade in India.

Stretching along the banks of the Musi River, Hyderabad is currently one of the most populous cities in India. This is due to the fact that a large number of multinational companies have agglomerated here, consequently making it a strong contender against Bangaluru, the IT capital of India. The mammoth city is donned with beautiful artificial lakes, theme parks, mesmerizing architecture, historical monuments and gardens.

Tourists never miss the opportunity of visiting Hyderabad which also reflects cross-culture of the north and south. So, if you ever happen to visit India, do make it a point to visit this city which boasts of rich cultural heritage. Do not miss the opportunity of savoring the sumptuous Mughlai cuisines served in all the luxurious restaurants. You could book cabs, or tourist buses which would take you around the city.

Here are some of the places to visit in Hyderabad:

  • Charminar: Towering as a colossal structure, Charminar is a splendid piece of architecture. Donned with Persian elements, this structure was built by Quli Qutb Shah to celebrate the end of miasmic plague. A huge market place has mushroomed around Charminar where the vestibular lanes are sequinned with shops selling artefacts, Persian carpets, ethnic outfits, perfumes, jewelry, motifs, embroidered stuffs and so on. Among all these, Laad Bazaar is a must visit place where you would find shops selling sparkling bangles encrusted with colorful beads, pearls and stones. Also, the famous Kalamkari paintings, and bidriware add to the charm of the bustling market. Besides, the famous showrooms selling genuine pearls are located along Madina Road, which is in close proximity to Charminar. Aroma from the small eateries serving Hyderabadi biriyani permeates the air in this commercial hub. 
  • Mecca Masjid: This is a stately mosque located very close to Charminar. Deemed for its sanctity, this masterpiece structure was built from the soil brought from Mecca, the holy land of Muslims. The central arch of the mosque has the capacity of accommodating 10,000 worshippers at a time, and its sanctity attracts hordes of worldwide tourists. The artificial lake in the campus is a cool haven for those who wish to rest after attending the prayers. 
  • Chowmahalla Palace: Situated very close to Charminar, this is an unmatchable monument providing unforgettable experiences to the visitors. As the name suggests, there are four palaces of the erstwhile Nizams, and their queens. You can see some exclusive jewelry, royal draperies, portraits, and marble statues on display. Exclusive colored crystal chandeliers surrounded by marble pillars adorn the palace halls. The vintage cars on display prove the royal family’s penchant for living in style. The palace complex has been restored by synthesizing various architectural styles. These days, the place is open to grand corporate events and cultural evenings. 
  • Salar Jung Museum: Located amidst minars, and minarets, this place is an exclusive repository of royal, and European elements. The museum has three floors with rooms showcasing English and French crockery, Persian carpets and rugs, royal furniture and portraits, jewelry and cutlery, swords and shields, royal robes and fabrics; thereby symbolizing the power and pelf of the erstwhile rulers. While the portraits of the beautiful queens of Persian, and Turkish queens adorn the rooms the Veiled Statue of Rebecca, and the musical clock simply steal the show! 
  • Car Museum: This museum is the only one of its kind in India showcasing handmade automobiles. A unique theme surrounds the creative vehicles and vintage cars. This is an ideal place to spend time with the children, since they get to see replicas of cars, bikes, and cycles in different shapes, designs and sizes. The assortment of cars have designs bearing semblance with flowers, billiards table, bed, western style commode, helmet, camera, helmet, fountain pen, brinjal, desktop computer and so on. The tallest bicycle accoladed with the Guiness World Record is also on display here. This is one of the most innovative museums in India, and is open on all the week days. 
  • Nehru Zoological Park: This is very close to the Car Museum, and spans across a huge area. Being an abode for different species of flora, and fauna, this huge park is an ideal haven for nature lovers. The Indian rhino, lions, leopards, panthers, elephants, pythons, deer, Himalayan Black Bear, antelopes and birds attract numerous visitors. Also, the Children’s Park, Jurassic Park, aquarium, toy train ride, and Butterfly Park offer fun-filled activities for all. The Safari Complex includes Bison safari, Bear Safari and Tiger safari. Also, there are good eateries in the park for the tourists to sit, eat and relax. 
  • Falaknuma Palace: The royal palace was converted into a luxurious hotel a few years back. A grand driveway leads to this fairy-style palace. Visitors pamper themselves experiencing the royal retreats, and by reliving the era of the Nizams. The gracious staff serves sumptuous feast to all the visitors in style. Guests enjoy the royal privilege of waking up to the peacock calls. There are excellent massage parlors along with an exquisite pool. 
  • Hussain Sagar Lake: Deemed as the largest artificial lake in Asia, this serves as a connector between the twin cities viz, Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Formerly built by Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, this beautiful lake is fed by the streams gushing out of Musi River. The monolithic statue of Buddha made of white granite proudly stands on the “Rock of Gibraltar” at the center. Tourists are ferried across the lake to capture close glimpses of the splendid statue. The famous Lumbini Park, and Necklace Road are very close to this place. The promenade constructed along the banks offers a nice place to enjoy strolls. 
  • Nizam’s Museum: The Purani Haveli was converted into a museum, which exhibits the gifts received by the Nizams during celebrations. Numerous souvenirs, mementos, and artefacts are on display here. The golden throne of the last Nizam, gold tiffin carrier, writing box covered with pearls, silver perfume containers, gold caskets, diamond studded daggers, and exclusive paintings testify the wealth of the world’s richest dynasty. An old lift is a unique piece of engineering, being only one of its kind during those days. The longest double deck wardrobe in the world, and the shoe rack displaying astounding collections of fabrics and footwear respectively prove that the Nizams lived in style.
  • Golconda Fort: This imposing, and majestic has been a silent witness to the numerous wars and historical events. The splendid architecture has been standing in regal grandeur for centuries. The subsequent generations witnessed further fortifications, constant water supply, and sprawling gardens. The fort literally served as a strong bastion against the external onslaughts of the invaders, while a huge population thrived within. In fact, the Mughals had to camp for almost 6 months outside the fort, but failed in their successive attempts to crash open the formidable gate. It’s only after bribing the guards that the invaders managed to gain access through the open gates, thereby leading to the final demise of the Quli Qutb Shahi era. The gigantic fortress is open to the visitors on all the days. Visitors also enjoy the splendid “Light and Sound Show” organized on Saturday evenings. Tales of beatific love, romance, heart breaks, woes, deceit, and treachery are brought into life with the help of special light, and sound effects.
  • Ramoji Film City: Being the largest film studio in India, it is a magical escapade copious with surprises, and ecstatic experiences for all. This wonderful outdoor hosts joyous rides, and sensational entertainment shows throughout the day. Also, people get to witness how sound effects like those of jingling bells, and horse hooves are created. Besides, the sets where the movies are shot reflect astute artifice, and shrewd craftsmanship. In certain places you would feel as if you were in Europe. The artificial interior of an aircraft has been structured with dexterity so as to make people feel as if they are really inside an aeroplane. The numerous fun rides, and eateries keep the visitors sated throughout the day.
  • Hitech City: The majestic road running along the undulating Banjara Hiils, and Jubilee Hills embellished with parks, monolith rocks, hotels, and opulent colonies wind into Hitech City- the cyber hub of Hyderabad. Numerous IT companies have invested here-Thanks to the tech-savvy community, and positive government. The giant multinationals like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have set up their Indian Head Quarters here.

 

Top Beaches in India

Beaches are divine creations on earth where syncretic beauty of the Sun, sea, and land seems to be at its best! Talking about beaches, people mostly mull over Hawaii, Rio, and Australia as some of the prospective destinations, notwithstanding the fact that India has a fantabulous coastline stretching across 7,517 Km. Flanked by The Indian Ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea, India has some of the exceedingly gorgeous beaches flaunting its coastline.

Hordes of tourists book package tours to India to luxuriate in the cool undulating hills of South India, and the exotic beaches so as to make their visits worthwhile. While the hills serve as ideal escapes for solitary nature lovers, most of the tourists prefer sunbathing on the beaches.

Here are some of the offbeat beaches in India for you to visit:

  • Kovalam: Speaking of the beaches in Kerala, Kovalam deserves special mention due to its visual splendor. The beaches are dotted with coconut trees, and visitors come here to watch the fabulous sunrises and sunsets. Parasailing, swimming, diving, and surfing are some of the activities, which tourists love indulging in. Also, there are Ayurveda resorts where visitors suffering from ailments seek treatment. Numerous cuisines serve lip-smacking sea food to all. Also, there are hotels overlooking the sea, which offer comfortable stay to the tourists. The lighthouse offers fantastic view of the shore line. Monsoon is the best time to visit this place, especially for those who expect immense enefits from ayurvedic treatments. 
  • Calangute: Located in Goa, Calangute is easily approachable from Panaji. Known as the Queen of Beaches, tourists jostle here for accommodation throughout the year. The giant waves hitting the coast offer plethora of adventures to the visitors. Besides, there are banks, post office, cyber cafes, resorts, restaurants and medical facilities. There are big showrooms displaying exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Rajasthan, Tibet, and Indonesia.

 Malpe: Close to Udupi, Malpe is a scenic beach in Karnataka. There are clusters of hotels, and eateries from where tourists could watch the white sandy beach and huge waves. Families enjoy strolls along the spotless beach, especially in the evenings. Also, there is a lot of scope for water sports. It is, however, dangerous to venture deep into the sea due to strong currents. 

  • Baga: For those who love privacy, Baga beach in Goa serves as an ideal retreat. This place is popular among the foreigners who love indulging in adventures and water sports. This place is not much frequented by tourist buses, and hence, has maintained its impeccable charm.
  • Varkala: This is a temple town very close to Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala. The place is famous for its natural spring known for having medicinal properties. Besides, tourists take the opportunity of plunging into the sacred water of the beach, which is believed to capable of purging human souls of vices. Various massage centers, and health resorts have mushroomed here to cater to the visitors.

 Anjuna: This place is very close to Baga and Calagute beaches. Visitors get an excellent view of the azure sea waves from a hill top close to the place. The unusual rocky terrain finally ends as a black rock jutting into the sea. The swaying palm trees, and soft sea breeze form an ideal haven for those who wish to stroll along the silver beach in the moon light.

  • Juhu: Located in Mumbai, Juhu is has become a commercial hub due to the ever increasing number of eateries, restaurants and vociferous hawkers. The place is mostly crowded with local, and international tourists in the evenings. Some of the famous Bollywood movies shot here offer us vicarious experiences of the noisy beach. Also, visitors can see a number of aircrafts roaring overhead while crossing the Indian coastline. 
  • Chowpatty: This is a famous beach in Mumbai, and attracts a huge crowd owing to the branded stores, and eateries which are frequented by a lot of tourists. People come here for jogging, and for viewing the mesmerizing sunsets. 
  • Auroville Beach: This beautiful beach with shallow water lies in Pondicherry. Tourists simply love swimming, and basking in the sun here. Colored shells lie scattered everywhere. Children are seen collecting these beautiful shells, and making castles out of sand.

 Chunnambar: This is truly a tropical paradise in close proximity to Pondicherry. The boat house which overlooks a backwater stretch serves as the iconic point for the visitors to start their sojourns towards the deserted beach. Tourists are ferried across the placid water stretch sequinned by coconut trees along both the sides, till they land upon the beach invaded by the roaring waves. This unmanned, and yet, impeccable beach would simply leave you awestruck with wonder!

 

 

 

Is the World a better Place for Travel

Worldwide economic slowdown, conflicts and terrorist attacks, and the European refugee crisis, apparently seem to have their impact on the global travel & tourism industry.  However, when we look at the actual trend, the industry has maintained its growth despite all the adversities. A report from IPK International World Travel Monitor, 2015 reports a 4.5% growth in actual outbound trips in 2015, with a healthy increment of 4.3% estimated for 2016.

Outbound travel is primarily fueled by Asia Pacific and North America.  Germany, as a country is the ‘world travel champion’ – a leader in outbound travel. The United States follows Germany and continues to be both a leading source and destination for travel. China enjoys a leadership position in the travel industry, being next only to USA in terms of spending.

The European economy has improved slightly from 2014, primarily due to the growth of Germany. Overall, the forecast for Europe is a net growth of 2.8% in outbound travelers. While Europeans have maintained their momentum, they are likely to travel to safer destinations, avoiding the zones of conflicts and terrorism. Also, there is good growth in inbound travel to Europe, and the expected growth is between 3 to 4 % in 2016. Travelers from China and Asia Pacific countries, USA and Japan are all keen for travelling to Europe.

Outboubound Travel Forecast Percentage GrowthEconomic growth has slowed down to a certain extent in Asia Pacific, but, despite the slowdown, the number of travelers have only increased and the projected growth of 6.3% for outbound travelers is on expected lines. The growth rate as per IMF report for 2015 shows that India’s rate of growth is highest at 7.6%, ahead of China, and therefore, outbound travelers from and to India are expected to increase.

While North America is expected to show good growth in outbound travel, South America’s 1.9% growth is a cause for concern. About half of South America’s outbound travel market is catered to by Brazil and Argentina. Traditionally, South Americans travel internationally within the same region. One international event which could improve the percentage of international travel to Brazil could be the Olympic Games planned to be hosted in the city of Rio de Janeiro this year. The last Football World Cup in Brazil in the year 2014 caused more than half a million visitors to Brazil, and this trend is expected to be seen during the Olympics.

The Middle East travel market is one of the fastest growing markets and countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are leaders in this area. The region is noted for travelers with deep pockets, who usually travel for long durations (with average trips for more than 14 nights). Also, more than 30% of travelers are immigrants travelling to meet friends and relatives. Inbound travel to Middle East has been seriously hurt due to the ongoing conflicts in that zone.

Last, but not the least, social media plays a vital role in international travel today. 70% of international travelers are active users of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google+. About 30% of the international travelers actively use social media for planning their trips. Marketers would do well to be creative with innovative approaches, so as to influence this section of buyers to plan their trips.