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Demystifying Coorg

Coorg on the Western Ghats of Karnataka is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations of not only Karnataka but India as a whole. Unfortunately a lot of geographical misconceptions about the localities and distances abound in Coorg, which makes the tourists come back without seeing a lot of hidden attractions. Another problem is of crammed up itineraries of packing too much in too short a time thus making the tourists jaded rather than invigorated by the time the tour comes to an end.

Going by the number of mails we receive in our travel QNA section and frantic telephone calls to our travel counselors, from exasperated travelers asking about Coorg- distances, attractions, transports, ideal itineraries et al, most of them veer round primarily to a lot of misconception about the location.

Mapping Coorg

Mapping Coorg

Considering the lacunas, we have decided to come out with a breakthrough visual distance chart, which graphically traces all the important places of the Coorg(Kodagu) district and beyond. The purpose of this is to assist the enthusiastic travelers to unravel Coorg and also plan a well organized itinerary to make the most of this fantastic original “Coffee Country”.

So set forth and bust the long standing title of Coorg as “one of South’s better kept secrets”.

Madikeri

The confusion starts with Madikeri itself. Many people think that Madikari or Coorg are the same. Madikeri or Mercara is the district headquarters of Coorg aka Kodagu. Madikari is situated at a height of 5000 feet above sea level. A great place for walking leisurely or a purposeful trek amid lush green surroundings, innumerable little streams and expansive coffee and pepper plantations, Madikeri also offers typical tourist attractions like Fort, Abbey falls, Raja’s Seat, Omkareshwara Temple, Gandhi Mantapam.

Abbey Falls

Abbey Falls is located inside a privately owned coffee estate but is accessible to the tourists. It is just 5 km from Madikari and a jeep or taxi takes you to the coffee estate. Once inside the coffee fields a 10 minutes stroll will take you to the picturesque waterfalls.

Siddapur

Siddapur or Siddapura is located around 28 kms from Madikari through a winding driveway. The scenic views along with the fresh unpolluted hill air make the drive exhilarating. The Siddapur taluk offers some nice stay options and is well known for the spice gardens and myriad unfailing streams. Nearby attractions include Pollibetta(12 Km) home to a golf course and Ammathi known for its “hockey utsav”.

Kushalnagar

Kushalnagar is 35 kms from Madikari and is known for the beautiful Namdroling monastery of Tibetan Buddhist settlers nearby.

Nisargdhama

Kavery Nisargadhama is 3 kms from Kushalnagar and 30 km from Madikari. It is a beautiful 65 acre riverine island. The primary attraction of this picnic spot is a 90 m rope bridge that connects this island to the main land.  Other attractions of Nisargadhama include boat rides, elephant rides, deer park and the orchidarium.

Dubare Elephant Camp

Dubare Elephant Camp lies on the south bank of Kaveri River in easten Kodagu. It is located 40 kms from Madikari. Dubare is essentially an elephant capturing and training camp run by the Forest Department of Coorg. Location wise, Dubare is in between Siddapur and Kushalnagar. Visitors to this amazing place can indulge in feeding and bathing of Elephants.

Somwarpet

Somwarpet or Somvarpet is a small town in the northeast coorg and is approximately 40 kms from Madikari. Apart from its undulating natural beauty by way of vast coffee plantations and spice crops it is also the starting point of the trek to Kumara Parvata, one of the most beautiful peaks in the whole of Western Ghats. The trek starts at Bidalli 45 minutes from Somwarpet. Mallalli Falls, around 25 km from Somwarpet, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary (30 km) towards Kukke Subramanya and Honnamana Kere(6km) are the nearby attractions.

Kakkabe

Kakkabe or Kakabe is one of the gateways to Coorg county and 45 kms from Madikari. With its heavy rainforest cover Kakkabe boasts of some rare orchids, dense forests and a birdwatcher’s paradise. Other attractions include Paddi Igutthappa/Subramanya Temple (2 km), Nalkad/Nalnad Palace and the Nilakandi waterfall (3 km).

Talacauvery

Talacauvery or Thalacauvery is 48 kms from Madikari and is the birthplace of the sacred Cauvery River. It is essentially a spring from which the Rivery Cauvery originates. The place is of immense religious significance.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park comprises three forest ranges namely- Nagarhole, Kallahalla and Thitimati. This National Park is a pachyderm’s paradise along with equally respectable other wild life species. A Safari on the dense jungles here is a special attraction.

Irpu Falls

Irpu Falls is 14 kms from Nagarhole National Park. Irpu or Iruppu Falls is located on outskirts of the Brahmagiri hill range and acts as the gateway to the range. The falls is formed by a tributary of Cauvery, Lakshmana theertha as it jumps down from a height of 170 ft. A temple dedicated to Lord Rama is also located nearby.

Kukke Subrahmanya

Going outside the coorg district but a place enjoing immense significance is the holy temple town of Kukke Subrahmanya. It is located in the Dakshin Kannada district just 100 kms from Madikari. The temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, also revered as  Murugan, in south India lies on the banks of the river Kumaradhara at the base of the western Ghats.

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IHRites Sizzle under soaring Mercury

First and foremost: congratulations to my fellow IHRites who in the times of ‘gloom and doom’ for the travel industry, never fails to spring surprises and quite fast too. The summer’s just started and IHR did some really brisk business for the month of April. Thanks to a combination of some aggressive selling from the sales guys and some diligent organizational planning well in advance. This warranted some celebration and we were there again applauding and cheering- in yet another round of partying.

This time, particularly pleasing is the fact that we have been effectively managing to convince customers that we are the right organization to have a holiday booking with. This is no tall claim and reflected in our gradually increasing Alexa rankings as well as the swelling number of daily leads.

Here’s a small recap on some of the things we did yesterday. The place was again the now very familiar Ankit’s residence or perhaps Ankit’s den is a better word, considering the number of parties it hosts!

With the scorching summer outside the proceedings started literally on a chilling note with loads of chilled beers, snacks and soft drinks for those who really aren’t fussed about the tipple. A game of “improvised Musical Chairs “was followed with another round of dumb charades. In between some rewards were given by IHR’s team lead Priyanka to the best performers of the month.

By the time the ordered Pizzas were finally delivered those present were having a smashin time with dances, jigs and occasionally some impromptu singings thrown in good measure. It was good to see the team members high on spirits (pun intended) gelling well and liberally exchanging pleasantries about others.

With the summer sizzling, the business head promised this is just one of the many that would follow but the challenge lies in maintaining the NUMERO UNO position.

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Moving Forward with IHR Newsletter

It takes time to build trust! That’s what has been our experience with the blog. Overwhelmed by the number of visitors and an increasing surge in stats we thought its time we also start our very own Newsletter to really build an effective, long-term, relationship with our valued customers and readers.
Our weekly newsletter will keep you posted about a range of holiday options- coolest seasonal deals, best weekend getaways, a quick darshan of the holy places, set jetting on bollywood locales etal.

Newsletter of Indiahotelreview.com

Newsletter of Indiahotelreview.com

However, with the newsletter we just do not just want to showcase only the promos and sales in offer by IHR but want to share definitive information about travel in its different modalities and the ways and means through which it explores and enriches us.
We well understand the responsibility towards our readers and do not want the newsletter to be a mere window dressing for the organization and also an undertaking of not sharing or selling your personal information with any third party. So be sure that subscribing to our email will not clog your inbox with endless mailings on “getting your next marriage proposal” or “using viagra to prolong sex life”.
You can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking a link provided at the end of every email that will be sent to you. This will ensure your address is instantly as well as  automatically removed from our list.
So say yes and click for best travel deals and wealth of travel information week after week.

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10 Best Amusement Parks of India

10best1IHR is unveiling a new series of informative articles this summer. To be termed as the “10 Best” Series it will showcase some of India’s best loved places, big and small, entertaining and learning across the four corners and beyond. These places would be based on actual experience on the basis of journeys undertaken by our researchers and writers.

Amusement Parks amuses kids and no less the elders. So we thought of starting our series with 10 Best Amusement Parks in India. At the outset we must clear that it is the fun quotient that will be the deciding factor.

Essel World and Water Kingdom, Mumbai IHR Rating: *****

The Essel World together with Water Kingdom is a water theme park of international class. Essel World is located at Gorai village few kilometers away from Mumbai city limits. This amusement center, spread over an area of 64 acres is claimed to be the largest in Asia. The journey to the park is equally exciting if you opt for a ferry ride from the Marve Beach.

Essel world in Mumbai

Essel world in Mumbai

An assortment of rides makes kids and adults alike to go berserk. Some of the attractions include Ricki’s Rocking Alley, Arctic Circle the ice skating ring, Coin operated Game Arcade, the Convoy Truck, Rio Grande Train and a host of other attractions makes for a perfect break.

Shanku Water Park, Ahmedabad IHR Rating: ****

Shanku Water Park is just 60 km from Ahmedabad on the Mehsana Highway. Shanku Water Park is supposed to be the first of its kind in the country. This park has some amazing rides for the children that include towering slides, twisting rides, Aqua Tubes and rollicking wave pools. A beautiful lake with a crystal clear water and full fledged, fitness club and sports complex are the other attractions here. Children below 2 years are allowed free entry and for adults the tariff is Rs 160.

Veega Land, Kochi, IHR Rating: ***

Veega land located to the east of Kochi in god’s own country Kerala is just 24 kms from the city limits is an amusement park with excellent water sports facilities. The place is very picturesque as it is nestled against a verdant hillside. Attractions here include wet and dry, adventure rides, laser shows, musical fountains, virtual reality theater et al. kids below 90 cm in height are allowed free entry.

Snow World, Hyderabad IHR Rating: ***

Want to experience the snowfall of Kashmir or Switzerland in the scorching heat of the Deccan summer? The place to head straight is the Snow World. Located Lower Tank Bund Road in Hyderabad, the place is one helluva of a place that thrills kids and adults alike.

Snow World in Hyderabad

Snow World in Hyderabad

At temperature below zero degree centigrade visitors can look forward to a snow –filled fun holiday. So along with sliding and skating one can also indulge in throwing snowballs at each other. However, the snowfall the prime attraction here takes place for ten minutes in a session of every one-hour.

Worlds of Wonder, Noida IHR Rating: *****

Coming to our very own Noida, Worlds of Wonder amusement park located as part of the Great India Place, in front of the sector- 18 market is perfect for adventure seekers. We have no hesitation to say that it is the best amusement park in the national capital region(NCR) of Delhi. Spread over an area of 145 acres, the park has a gaming zone, open air cafeteria, rain dance music and more than 30 rides, including those for which you need some real nerves.

Worlds of Wonder Noida

Worlds of Wonder Noida

The park has been segmented into three entertainment zones – for kids, teenagers and one for the families with own set of attractions. Children above 3 feet of height are allowed to take rides. For 3 rides the price is Rs 200 and Rs 400 for unlimited rides.

Baywatch, Kanyakumari IHR Rating: ****

Baywatch proves wrong the popular notion that Kanyakumari is all about pilgrimage and temple. High on the fun quotient Baywatch is located on the Kovalam Road just 2 km from the Bus Stand. Though it is the namesake of the famous TV serial featuring Pamela Anderson, but it has got absolutely nothing to do with it. It is the first Amusement park in India that has received ISO 9001:2000 certification. Apart from the usual rides what makes it stand apart is a Wax museum something of a first in India. The celebrities who have their wax models here include Mother Theresa, Manmohan Sigh, Tamil Nadu’s ex CM J. Jayalalitha, Saddam Hussein, superstars Amitab Bacchan, Rajanikanth, Mohan Lal etal. Kids below 90 cm are allowed free entry into this theme park.

MGM Dizzee World, Chennai IHR Rating: ****

MGM Dizzee World located on the East Coast Road (ECR) in Chennai, is a good place to visit for young and olds alike. The park has all the ingredients for a fun filled day. The usual rides include the Roller Coaster, Flying ship, Flying Train. Musical shows in the evening, artificial Wave Pool, amphitheatre and an artificial water falls called as Chinna Kutrallam draws huge crowd here.

Wonder La, Bangalore IHR Rating: ***

Wonder La is located on the Bangalore- Mysore Highway just 30 kms from Bangalore city near Bidadi. The park may not be that5 big but scores on the cleanliness and maintenance front. It provides enough entertainment for the whole family to keep them engaged for the whole day. Water slides, Crazy cars, Termite Coaster, Kiddies Wheel, Mini Express, Toon Tango are some of the rides to look forward to. Kids below 90 cm are allowed free entry.

Ocean Park, Hyderabad IHR Rating: ***

Ocean Park is located at Gandipet near Osman Sagar Lake just 20 km. from Hyderabad. The amusement park spread over a 20 acres of landscaped garden is divided into different sections. In the section for kids there is a wading pool and fountain along with other rides.

For the adults, apart from some really thrilling rides, water slides are also aplenty. A swimming pool and facility for Jet skiing is also available. For the entry tickets, Children above 4 feet five inches height are charged the same as that of adults.

Fun and food Village,Gurgaon IHR Rating: ***

Fun N Food Village is an amusement park for all age groups. It is located just 3 kilometers from the international airport on the Old Delhi – Gurgaon Highway. Special attractions include a large wave pool, indoor Snow Park, amusement rides, water slides etal. Children, when accompanied by adult below the height of 33 inches is granted free entry to the park and Senior citizens( above 65 years of age) are granted some special privileges.


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What’s Hot in the Hot Summer

After the cold winter months, recession etal summer brings in a bunch of positive vibes all around. Suddenly the word vacation is abuzz and plans are afoot to visit the best of places with the best deals with your friend family and loved ones.

With around 500 leads a day you suddenly realize that summer is banging at the door. So are the teams ready to tackle the onslaught of leads, bookings, performance targets? It’s the time for a litmus test of the battle preparedness indicating no more of free times, no leaves or those extended breaks over the cafeteria!

A look at the team and you know IHR is up to the mark this summer with more trained people, strong internal processing, destination experts, travel guides with enhanced local content and to top it all a more user-friendly brand new UI on our web page.

There is frenzied activities across all processes led by an energetic sales team handling leads, making brisk sales and earning handsome bonuses on hitting the bull’s eye, the busy bee travel counselors hooked on the phones and offering n number of choices with the best deals on earth for cool holidays, an exasperated accounts and operations team looking at their excel sheets without battling an eyelid figuring out the honey, the BD and research team scratching their heads to come out with the best destinations and finally the tech team making sure that we can handle the spurt in traffic deftly.

IHR’s arsenal this summer looks deadly with new forays, smart holiday ideas and cool packages. With regular bestsellers like pilgrimages-Vaishno Devi , Ambaji, Shirdi or Tirupati shows no signs of stopping or the perennial favourites, weekend destinations to Ganpatipule, Yeracaud and Yelagiri -IHR’s hands are full.

This summer we are also unleashing our brand new initiatives in set jetting, wellness and IPL, all new travel ideas marking a new chapter in Indiahotelreview.com’s continuing leadership over the budget travel. Where are you heading this summer?

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Taking the Stand: IHR Supports Earth Hour

On the appointed day of March 28, 2009, at 8.30 pm local time, citizens across 1637 cities of the world would take a decisive step forward towards improving the climate of the mother earth. Earth Hour 2009 touted to be the biggest voluntary power shutdown in the history is an exemplary action towards making earth a better place.

IHR supports Earth Hour initiative

IHR supports Earth Hour initiative

We at IndiaHotelReview.com wholeheartedly support this unique effort and appeal to our clients, customers and all other friends in the travel fraternity to take a pledge towards making lesser Carbon Foot prints. We are for Green Travel what about you?

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Writing the Journey: Kolkata’s Neighbouring Gateways

Imagine this, having returned from a long and tiring trip you report to the office and immediately you are asked to put your thoughts into the word processor so that the whole world reads about the places you have seen.

Sounds easy isn’t it? But life is not on a high for a travel writer with IHR. Most of the time on a short trip, you are challenged with how to squeeze more information in the minimum time. You need the best of photographs capturing the slice of a culture in a single snapshot along with the regular attractions, loads of information about the hotels- rates, accommodation et al, distances along with fares and most importantly reproducing the same excitement and movements of a trip that more often than not makes you feel how farcical about the line “be a Travel Writer and get paid to see the world”.

This time the places assigned were as diverse as Mayapur Dham, Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok all within 10 days which meant absolutely no time for any relaxation and traveling leisurely.

My first stop was Kolkata’s Sealdah station. A bustling place, which comes to buzz early in the morning, a scene quite contrary to Delhi’s way.

Road Near Sealdah Station early morning

Road Near Sealdah Station early morning

My first destination was Mayapur Dham the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I took the first local train available for Navadweep the nearest railway station for Mayapur Dham. Navadweep is around 2 and a half hours journey from Sealdah.Navadweepa as I found hold on its own as a tourist attraction for a variety of temples and Vaishnava Mathas.

Sri Devananda Goudiya Math at Sri Dham Navadweep

Sri Devananda Goudiya Math at Sri Dham Navadweep

From Navadweep to get to Mayapurdham the best option is to cross the expansive Ganges on a boat from the jetty. Braving a boat ride along with people, cycles and livestock which was no mean task in itself but listening to the unfamiliar conversation amid bit of trepidation was an altogether new experience.

Boat Ride from Navadweep to Mayapur Dham on the Ganga River

Boat Ride from Navadweep to Mayapur Dham on the Ganga River

From Mayapur a short Rickshaw Ride took me to the famed ISKCON Temple complex. Spread over hundreds of acres, the place is far removed from the stark reality outside the temple precincts.It was a solemn place with large number of foreigners all with big tilak on their foreheads and wearing Dhotis and white Saris chanting prayers throughout the day.

The ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Dham

The ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Dham

Finished with the ISKCON Temple I headed for Krishna Nagar by a local bus to get a convenient train ride back to Kolkata. An ingenuity of a vendor selling Lassi using the railings as racks for keeping his wares caught my attention and I could not resist taking a snap.

Ingenuity of a Lassi vendor at the Krishn Nagar Railway Station

Ingenuity of a Lassi vendor at the Krishn Nagar Railway Station

Back to Kolkata and I was on Kanchenjungha Express ready to venture to my next set of destinations. Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok. For Darjeeling I had to get down at the NJP station. NJP or NEW Jalpaiguri station is the gateway to the North East. As It was not a tourist season ( It was during February) the station gave a secluded look and the railway over bridge was one of the most clean I found on the railway station in india.

The clean Foot over bridge at NJP Station

The clean Foot over bridge at NJP Station

Plenty of taxies are available at the NJP railway station for Darjeeling. The 4 hours drive in a share Taxi through the picturesque sceneries and not so comfortable roads cost me Rs 220. The route bypasses the Siliguri Town and links to national highway 55 for Darjeeling. Darjeeling is really beautiful and with the arrival of the malls and multiplexes does not look that much of an isolated hill station.

A busy Darjeeling morning

A busy Darjeeling morning

IF you are South Indian and love Tea then these two things should excite you. Hotel Lunar in the heart of the city provides sumptuous South Indian specialties and Tawang Tea Stall sells finest quality Darjeeling Tea at Rs 5 per cup.

My next destination was Pelling in Sikkim 120 kilometers from Darjeeeling. Tourists to Pelling should note here one or two vital things that I found out. (i) There are no direct vehicle available for Pelling from Darjeeling during off seasons .(ii) You have to reach a place called Jorethang almost midway (iii) From Jorethang you do not get any vehicle for Pelling after 4 in the evening.

Pelling at around 6800 feet is a beautiful place and relatively peaceful perhaps also as I was not in the height of the tourist season. Again a piece of information for travelers, I was told that after 2 pm you can’t get any vehicle for outside from Pelling. This puts a lot of discomfiture to harried travelers like me.

Finally my last destination was Gangtok the capital of Sikkim at a distance of around 120 km from Pelling. Gangtok is a beautiful place and moves at a leisurely pace with no body in any hurry.

MG Marg of Gangtok invigorates with a relaxed pace

MG Marg of Gangtok invigorates with a relaxed pace

From Gangtok plenty of transportation is available for different places. After spending a night I Traveled back to NJP in a share Taxi for Rs 350 and took North east express for Delhi to end my sojourn in the east and north east India.

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Right Answers to Right Questions: Things to ask Travel Operators

In a continuing effort to bring our clients more close to us and stay put to our policy of transparency, openness and accountability we have compiled a list of 10 posers that you must know from us at IndiaHotelReview.com or for that matter from any online travel agency/travel agent online or otherwise. Asking these right questions before undertaking a travel can save you money and remorse. Here are they.

The total cost of the package: The package part can be fragmented to include the following. (a) Does the quoted price include taxes and surcharges? (b) Whether booking fee for components like tickets (air/train) is applicable separately instead of just single fee for the complete package(c) for payments made through credit cards is there any transaction charge applicable. (d) For any modification / cancellation of the plan is there a fee applicable.

Our take: Let’s come to the answers one by one. (A) Make sure that your travel agent specifies this explicitly. At IHR, currently the packages we sell are inclusive of all the applicable taxes and surcharges including Luxury Tax, Service Tax et al. You need not pay a single penny to any hotel for the inclusions in the package. There are no hidden “T & C” applicable in our packages. (B) Since we specialize in hotel bookings and packages anything extra like airline ticketing or train ticket reservation will be extra over and above the package price currently. (C) Though we have to make a payment of around 2.25% to the payment gateways for processing each transaction through credit card payments but we do not charge any additional transaction fees from our clients. (D) Yes we do charge clients for any modification or cancellation of the original package plan this is currently Rs 250 per modification.

Reading the fine prints: Often overlooked but the following innocuous teasers can seriously impact your travel itinerary, (a) How near is near? (b) Whether entrance fees needs to be paid for the tourist spots in sightseeing.

Our take: This is an area where there is a lot of misinterpretation of facts indulged in by the online travel agents. As an informed traveler you must be aware of these trappings and learn to pose straight questions.
(A) For example take the case of Coastal places. There is a tendency among the agents to pass every property as “on the beach”. “On the beach” essentially means that as you step out of your hotel you are on the beach. This is available only for a few hotels at choicest locations in India like Goa and that too for a few luxury properties. So for a place like say Pondicherry “on the beach” actually means that the property might be beach facing. This is typically a problem associated with every garden/hill/valley facing hotel accommodation.
Another example can be given is for a place like Haridwar. Suppose your package says “Hotel located near Ganga” On actually reaching the place you find the property is actually 5 km away from one of the Ghat. Instead it would have made lot of sense if it had said near “Har Ki Pauri”as it is in close proximity to Ganga. Nearness can be misleading, especially if you are traveling with senior citizens and children. Starting from 500 meters, 1 km to 5 km “nearness is taken for a toss. You must ask specifically for the exact distance or a landmark.
(B) In the IHR packages the fees for entrance to attractions wherever applicable depends on the location and your request. For example say for Corbett wildlife packages the cost of arranging Safari or angling is included in few of the packages or for example the cost of arranging for the permits to access Nathula pass in Sikkim tour. However we do not include the cost of entrance fees for a visit to say a Museum or art gallery until and unless requested by the client.

Price plan of the Package: Do the packages follow a transparent pricing plan. (a) Can the customer get a break up price of the packages (b) Is choice of hotels allowed
Our take: IHR follows a transparent pricing plan. There is transparency in the sense that we strictly follow a “what you see that you pay” kind of structure in our packages. These are all inclusive packages with no additional charges. We do not follow opaque pricing. Now to the questions (A) we do give the exact breakups of different heads that makeup our packages if asked for by the client while booking. It generally consists of the following heads. i. Pickup and drop from station or airport (wherever applicable), ii. Cab for local sightseeing available on disposable our hourly basis and accommodation (B) While booking the properties we give the customer a choice of property among 3 or 4 hotels, once booked it then cannot be altered.
Dealing with the meals: Food plays an important role in the travel plans it can make or mar your travel. Do not forget to ask your travel operator the following questions. (a) Is there a choice between a buffet and a ala carte( b) Is the religious/regional preferences taken care of. (c) In modified American plan, can one switch meals at one’s will?
Our take: (A) Unless it’s a star property specifically 2 star and above Buffet meals are not viable. These too depends on factors like seasons, capacity etc. So in most cases if meals are included it’s a la carte with a restriction on number of dishes and quantity in accordance with average diet.
(B) You must ask clearly to your operator about the religious/regional preferences. Competitive pricing of the hotel mostly does not allow non-veg food. For budget hotels it is mostly vegetarian meals that are provided.In religious places depending upon the preference Jain/Gujarati Thalis can generally be arranged. However you have to put forth your preferences within a reasonable time. (C) Let’s understand the meal plan of hotels first. Essentially there are 4 types of plans. In the American plan or AP 3 meals are offered –breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the Modified American Plan or MAP along with a breakfast there is a choice between lunch and dinner. The 3rd plan is the continental pan or CP where only breakfast is provided. Last is the European plan this is most common with no meals provided.
Now coming to modified American plan as there is a choice between lunch and dinner but switching meals at one’s discretion is generally not advised. This is because most of the hotels especially smaller ones operate with a lot of constraints like, seasonal demands, veg/non-veg preferences of the guests, time needed for preparation. So unless it’s a very big/busy hotel advance information is must. Chances are there that popular Hotels with more footfalls may handle your last minute requests of meals.

On Sightseeing: This is an area where there is much confusion and a source of potential trouble brewing between the customer and the travel agent. Some questions that arise include (a)What is type of cab offered (b) Is there a choice of places that one can see (c) Are AC cabs available for sightseeing (d) Is there any guide to assist in local sight seeing.
Our Take: (A) Cabs play decisive role in traveling, FYI cabs are available on disposal basis and cabs on km and hourly basis. (B) IHR generally follows the trend of including the most popular options in local sightseeing. These range from the most attractive places. Again, if a customer has given us his preferences beforehand we can consider that also depending on the cost and time factor. Things like location, weather, season and local conditions may play crucial role in the choices. (C) Choice is available for ac/ non ac cars which you need to specify, however for a hill station non ac cars are provided as a thumb rule and air conditioned cabs can be arranged only on special requests (D) Due to constraint of seating capacity of the vehicle and cost, the chauffeur generally doubles up as a guide.
Emergencies and Refunds: (a) Is there anyone to call incase of emergencies (b) No. of days to get refunds
Our Take: (A) We do provide local contact number of the Hotels/ Cab persons whom you can call on emergencies besides we are available 6 days week from 10- 7 pm.(B) The terms and condition of refund is mentioned in the voucher again depending on season the refund process can take additional time.

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Bollywood calling Backpackers

The past 2, 3 days were simply amazing for IHR. After we launched the Bollywood packages and a new website bollywood.indiahotelreview.com we were little tentative about the acceptability to the masses as well as to the media of such a daring and niche venture. Putting all apprehensions to rest the media actually lapped up our idea. We are all over the print as well as on the worldwide web. So all our efforts in research and then putting together all the information in bits and pieces to make people familiar with the innovative concept of set jetting has paid off.
During this whole course we understood that to put an idea or a sudden spark to work requires formidable effort. This is especially true for finding out the details about the shooting locations of Hindi films in India. To our utter dismay and disbelief we found that we may be going  gaga about the Hindi films and the Bollywood stars but very little  information is available about the exact shooting location and spots where the scenes or songs were shot.
So a Ram Nagar near Bangalore which provided the ideal location for Gabbar’s Den in the greatest ever blockbuster Sholay or Gondal near Rajkot where Sanjay Leela Bhanshali’s magnum opus Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam starring Aisharya, Salman and Ajay were shot remains largely in oblivion ensconced under the burden of the film’s star cast and charisma.
Our endeavour was to bring those places out of the closet and showcase them to the discerning travelers who also happen to be bollywood fans.
So for example you may be a Shahrukh fan and is greatly enamoured like most of Indians by the Chaiyya Chaiyya song, however you had no inkling where the famous train sequence was shot or whether the whole thing was real or done in a set. Or for that matter where on earth was the place where Aamir sung and danced his heart out in “ Masti ki Pathshala”
These coupled with the “hurt” that what Hrithik Roshan did to put New Zealand tourism back on track after the stupendous success of “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” or for that matter Britain cashing in on Bollywood’s frequent escapades into Brtish territories with films like Namastay London or Cheeni Kam the Amitab Bachchan starrer, in comparison to that our Indian locations are hardly talked about or finds much favour with a film crazy Indians.
We are trying to bring Bollywood locations on the tourist map of India, at par with the hugely popular concept of set jetting in the west. With Oscars conquered the Bollywood beckons the world.

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Slumdog Millionaire: Nothing Succeeds like Success

Jai Ho to all the fellow Indians inhabiting the planet earth or wherever in the universe, History was created last night at the Kodak theater of Hollywood when Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars out of a total 9 categories on which it was nominated at the 81st Academy Awards. This included among others the best film and best director along with two for A.R.Rahman’s magical score.

With this perhaps India has truly catapulted on the mainstream international film scene as it conquered the final frontier- the Oscars.

Rarely does a film have stirred the imagination of a whole nation as the Slumdog Millionaire. The film set on the slums of Mumbai is based on the book “Q & A” by a career diplomat Vikas Swarup is all about optimism. This is the optimism that keeps Mumbai and the rest of India going despite terror attacks, abject poverty, corrupt politicians et al.

The Slumdog story is not just not the story of one Jamal Malik, a 18 year old orphan from Mumbai it is also the story of underdogs, the skeptics and finally the sweet taste of success.It is also the coming of age of small town guys making it big. Resul Pookutty of Vilakupara village in the Kollam district of Kerala just 50 km from Trivandrum is now a hot celebrity having own the Oscar for Sound Mixing.

Taking cue from the success, IHR continues its foray into the Bollywood land with new destinations added everyday. Celebrating the triumph of the underdogs is a true salute to the indomitable spirit of the Slumdog Millionaire.

Celebrating the success of Slumdog Millionaire

Celebrating the success of Slumdog Millionaire

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