Go local

incredible india

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector accounts for approximately 10 percent of total jobs and almost 10% GDP globally. That’s an estimated 8.8 trillion U.S. dollars annually.

On April 3, WTTC said in a release that 75 million travel tourism jobs are at risk globally due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The common takeaway within the Indian travel fraternity right now is to focus single-mindedly on promoting domestic tourism immediately. It is imperative that governments and tourism bodies put their focus exclusively on regenerating Domestic Tourism and Aviation, as it is one of the first levers of recovery for the local economy: restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc, they all depend on local travel until foreign travelers return.

After months of isolation and self-induced coma, as cities end their lock downs, people will be allowed to start roaming the streets again.

They will become more interested than ever in discovering their own city as well as the local/ domestic area.

And as when planes start flying again, most travellers will essentially be looking for travelling within the country and taking short ‘ feel good ’ trips rather than going on long haul international trips.

Most travellers would be vary of taking and exploring cities with walking tours, with a group of strangers in a foreign country, due to some restrictions that might still be in place. For instance, traveling abroad might be limited due to safety issues.

As such, local/domestic travel will remain the only viable option for travel, with most travelers interested in quick getaway trips, with a focus on wellness and sustainable tourism.

When travel starts to recover, it will begin with flights and accommodation at the forefront, so naturally the expectation of the people will be to become more interested in budget tours, price-sensitive activities and better value for money and budget-friendly activities post-crisis.

The focal point will be specifically on short vacations, boutique or quieter hotels with fewer rooms and smaller groups or individual solo trips.

India’s strength has been its diversity of tourism potential with mountains, hills, beaches, backwaters, jungles, forests, flora, heritage, spirituality, pilgrimage, wellness, sheer relaxation, arts and crafts, cuisines, and cultures.

However, what we need to understand is that the old world order no longer exists. It’s kaput.

We need to have a new vision board for the future. Minimalistic design with a deep rooted but conscious approach keeping hygiene as the top priority will be the new bespoke for hotels, restaurants and airlines.

Curated, custom and tailor made vacation with mindful travelling along with an affordable cost will be the new norm.

-Madhavi

 

 

 

Celebrating Shiv Ratri in the oldest city of the world.

vranasi

Varanasi also known as Benaras or Kashi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and is regarded as the holiest place in the world in Hinduism.

According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, around 5,000 years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country.  In Hindu cosmology, the city is considered the, “center of Earth”, and most religious activity here occurs around stair structures called ‘Ghats’.

Mark Twain described Varanasi as “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.

Varanasi is a bridge or ‘tirtha’ between heaven and earth, a crossing point where Gods visit this world and mortals travel to the next. The city is known for its belief that any one leaving his / her mortal body here, goes to heaven in their afterlife. Its location on the banks of the sacred Ganges River also contributes to its prestige as an important site of pilgrimage.

There is possibly not a single month, when Varanasi is not preparing or in the midst of a festival. The city celebrates its festivals with such zealous fervour, that it is difficult not to get drawn into the carnivalesque atmosphere. Pick any month and you will find some festival to plan your trip around. There is never a dull moment in the city.

The city known as the spiritual capital of India, has one of the most important Shiva temples in the country and hence it’s quite natural that Maha Shivaratri (the wedding of Shiva & Parvati) is celebrated here in a grand manner. Mahashivratri, “The Great Night of Shiva” is considered the most significant event in India’s spiritual calendar.

kashi

The festival sees more than a million Hindus from all over India, converge at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

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The city is thrown into frenzy as hundreds of small troupes carry bedecked Shiva idols in processions to the Shiva temples. The preparation starts early in the morning with a parade that starts from and ends at the Tilbhandeshwar temple. The procession lasts roughly about 5 hours and it is celebrated with loud music in the background and people consuming Bhaang (a form of marijuana legal and common in Varanasi) and dancing in the procession. As marijuana is considered as the blessing of Lord Shiva, a lot of people do it here for religious reasons. After the procession, everyone returns back to the temple, offers their prayers and perform rituals.

Out of the 88 Ghats in Varanasi the most popular one is the Dashashwamedh Ghat. It attracts a large gathering every evening, when a group of priests performs a synced ritual known as Ganga aarti -to praise and pray to Goddess Ganges with lights, Conch sounds and bell ringing along with Vedic chants.

dashwameda

The aarti is always carried out facing the river Ganga. It starts by lightning up the multi-tiered brass lamps, along with a well synchronised chanting of mantras and blowing the conch shells. The shells are known to sanctify the atmosphere. The other remaining priests light the incense sticks and offer it to the goddess in a clockwise circle.

Ganga-Aarti-at-Dashashwamedh-Ghat-on-the-banks-of-The-Ganga-Shutterstock.com_

Witnessing the Ganga aarti is no less than a spectacle. The energy around this daily ritual fills your core with peace and tranquillity.

ganga_aarti_as_seen_from_the_boatride_on_the_ganges

 

Maha Shivratri falls on 21st February this year.

 

-M

 

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