Category: Travel

Call of the Mountains – 2019

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It’s that time of the year again where the call of pristine raw nature proved to be most alluring for us at Go Magic trails, a travel company specialising in experiential travels. Embarking on yet another beautiful journey, Go Magic Trails conducted the THIRD edition of Call of The Mountains, a musical event for the armed forces of the nation in the heavenly and picturesque landscapes of Leh & Shyok, Ladakh.

This event was a salute to our armed services for their unstinted valor. This year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the successful culmination of Operation Vijay with our talented musicians paying a heartfelt tribute to our brave soldiers of the Indian Army who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds, hostile terrain and weather to win the Kargil war.

Our event, Call of the Mountains in partnership with Swastik Educational Trust, Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and Mr Amar Luthra, featured Col. VD Singh, army veteran and musician, performing for the third consecutive year in Ladakh. He has served the Indian Army for over 30 years, bidding goodbye to the Services in his last posting at Leh.

For this year’s edition of Call of the Mountains, Col. VD Singh picked artists from the Punjabi Film Industry to form the Col. VD Singh Musical Group comprising of – Umesh Kumar, Praveen Rathi, Narender Verma, Dinesh Kumar, Payel Roy Chowdhury and Surinder Singh.

This was held for HIMANK, a project under the Border Road Organization in the Ladakh region of northernmost India. Since its launch in 1985, the Project HIMANK has been entrusted with the vital task of construction of infrastructure in the Ladakh region. The Project HIMANK has been at the forefront in building roads, airfields and bridges both along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control with China.

Performing at two different venues, Leh and Shyok, we were mesmerized with the beauty that caught us all of guard.

On the evening of 24th July, in Leh, the musical evening began, setting the magic we believed would encourage our hardworking service men of our nation to stand undeterred to the very end. This event was attended by Chief Engineer Brig Nitin K Sharma and his wife, Mrs. Jyotika Sharma. We were accompanied by the Jawans and the Officers stationed in the area. This beautiful evening saw the artists playing to the tunes of Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar to name a few.

Next on our agenda was to perform for the Jawans stationed at Shyok. Set among the spectacular tall mountains, this place was one of a kind. On the morning of 27th July, we once again entertained an exciting audience that cheered heartily and walked up to the stage and sang a few songs as well.

From the dawn of our Independence, the Indian Army has guarded us from intruders and calamities risking their own life for our tomorrow. This event made us see our beloved soldiers with an utmost respect and gratitude for their service and nobility.

COTM 2019 may have ended this year, but we will not stop here. We will be back again for another successful stint and will continue to bring in evolving music to add a variety of flavor to the beautiful paradise that resides in Ladakh.

Countries to travel to from India within 50K

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Travelling is becoming a way of life, getting away from our busy schedules is now becoming a necessity. One of the most tedious things to decide is usually the budget , because everything else depends on that, especially deciding whether to travel international or not. It’s a common belief that travelling abroad could burn a hole in your pocket , but we believe otherwise. It all comes down to the country you choose , and all you have to do is a bit of research , planning , advance booking and having a fun and memorable experience!

Asia is a huge continent full of countries that have a vast culture to offer. Especially south east Asia , which is a hotspot for many tropical landmarks. Some being , Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and many more. One can also visit countries like Bhutan, Nepal or Kazakhstan for a serene mountainous experience.

But putting aside our obvious options, there is a huge list of Arabian, African and Eurasian countries waiting to be explored on a budget.

 

RUSSIA

Russia is one shimmering palaces, tall fortresses and ancient churches. Must visit cities in Russia are Moscow and St Petersburg.

Historical villages like Pskov and Suzdal, are within reach of these cities as well.

Some other places to see are Lake Baikal, Altai Republic, Caucasus etc.

Flight tickets – Prices starting at INR 40,000 (Return flight tickets from Moscow)

Stay – As low as 1800-2100 INR per person per night.

Daily expense – INR 3000 – INR 5000

 

TURKEY

‘The land beneath the half moon’, Turkey is full of intriguing cultures, mosques, palaces, ancient cities and delicious food!

Must see places in Istanbul are The Kabak Bay, the butterfly valley, Cappadocia and the grand bazaar.

Flight Tickets – Around Rs 25,000 (From Mumbai to Istanbul Roundtrip)

Stay –  You can get hotels ranging from INR 1500 per night.

Daily Expenses – Around Rs 2,500

 

QATAR

Located in Western Asia and comprised of beaches Qatar is overflowing with ancient art displayed in museums, sacred religious places, spectacular skylines, sand dunes, world-class restaurants and active adventures.

Must see places in Qatar are the Museum of Islamic Art, Villagio Mall and Inland sea.

Flight Tickets – INR 25,000 – INR 31,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – Airbnb options for 1500-2000 per person per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 3,000 – INR 4,000

 

OMAN

Situated gracefully alongside the Persian Gulf, Oman is amongst the best cultural tourism destinations. Its capital Muscat was once named as the second best city to visit in the world.

Must see places in Oman are Sultan Qaboos, Muttrah Souq, Sultan Qaboos, Musandam beaches, Ras Al Hadd, Shatti Al Qurum, Wadi Bani Khalid, Salalah etc.

Flight Tickets – INR 25,000 – INR 31,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – As low as INR 2,300 at Airbnb.

Daily Expenses – INR 4,000 – INR 5,000

 

 

KENYA

Kenya has a lot to offer from a traditional African safari, hot air balloon safari, visiting the Savannas, playing with wildlife and relaxing on white sand islands with sparkling blue water. In Kenya you will also find rich and fascinating cultures, spotless coastal beaches, deserts and coral reefs.

Flight Tickets – INR 30,000 – INR 38,000 (if booked in advance)

Stay – Airbnb will get you accommodation as less as INR 1000 per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 4,700 – INR 6,000

 

 

JORDAN

The Crusaders’ castles, Roman amphitheatres and Christian mosaics have always intrigued worldwide travellers. Petra of Jordan is a world wonder that you should not miss. A ride during sunset through the Wadi Rum, getting drawn to the weathered stone, reddened dunes and desert landscapes are a must.

Flight Tickets – Prices starting at INR 33,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – hostels available for a range of  500 – 1000 INR per night.

Daily Expense – INR 4323 – INR 6000

 

GEORGIA

Georgia is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia and has very dynamic cultures drawn from both continents. The capital city, Tbilisi is full of cobblestone pavements, maze-like streets and sporadic works of modern architecture. Whilst on the other hand, it has a sprawling cave monastery situated in the city of Vardzia.

Flight Tickets – INR 20,000 – INR 30,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay: As low as 1000-1500 INR per person per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 1,100 – INR 2,000

 

We hope this article was useful. Making an international trip is not just a dream, but a dream come true. From island and beaches, to mountains and valleys, you can now experience everything without spending a fortune!

How technology has changed the way we travel

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Technology has truly changed the way our world works and whether we realize it or not, it has seamlessly managed to seep into every single aspect of our lives. Out of the innumerable ways in which it seems to mould our experiences, travel is that one area which takes the crown single-handedly for having been showered with the most benefits of technology.  It is nearly impossible to even imagine travelling without any access to google maps, transportation booking systems, hotel booking platforms or even something as basic as not being able to read information on popular travel blogs and review platforms. 

With the number of people travelling increasing at an unprecedented rate, according to a report by the World Tourism Organisation, it is estimated that by 2030, a global population of a whopping 8.5 billion people will take approximately 2 billion international trips! Instead of just relying on plain, old boring statistics, read on further to know how technology is like an unexpected breath of fresh air for every kind of traveller out there. 

PLANNING: 

The first and probably the most dreaded aspect of travelling is planning a trip. Technology has made planning a breeze for everybody from meticulous planners to spontaneous enthusiasts who can now rely on online digital platforms or mobile phone applications for gaining important information regarding bookings, accommodation, useful travel tips and advice.   

With just a swipe of the touch-screen, every bit of one’s travel needs can be taken care of. Online travel communities are brilliant as they give a glimpse into the experiences of tens of thousands of travellers. 

AFFORDABILITY: 

In today’s day and age, travellers have access to virtually everything on the internet within their fingertips. The choices are plenty and it makes it all the easier to browse and compare flights without having to physically drop by an actual travel agency, whew! Technology has paved the way for people to grab the cheapest deals possible and has also made it ridiculously easy to have alternative options to avoid being charged exorbitant rates just because one happens to be a tourist on a foreign land. 

ECO-FRIENDLY TRAVELLING: 

Gone are the days when people were required to mandatorily carry multiple documents which included the airline tickets, boarding pass, train and hotel reservations along with the million other things in a hard copy format. Technology has saved us yet again by way of having made facilities like online check-ins, e-tickets, reservation coupons etc. possible. Having such important documents in a digitised format clearly makes travelling not just eco-friendly, but a lot more safe as well.  

STREAM-LINING ONE’S TRAVEL ITENERARY: 

It is only after the explosion of the world wide web that travellers can now instantly read reviews on what to do, where to go, and can easily zero in on unique and fun things to do which match their travel style. Essentially, technology has made it possible for everybody to be able to customise their travel itinerary which makes trips more personal and exclusive! 

DOCUMENTING ONE’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCES: 

While travelling is all about immersing oneself in new cultures and experiences and staying in the moment to absorb the essence of a place, technology has stepped in to enhance this experience further by making it possible to capture memories in the most innovative ways possible.  

Be it posting pictures on social media, or trying a hand at travel journaling, the options for documenting one’s journey are plenty which do not fade away as time passes. Just looking back at a photo can magically transport a person to a specific place and can instantly make them go back in time and reminisce. 

EASIER TO STAY CONNECTED WHILE TRAVELLING: 

Thanks to technology, meeting new people and staying in touch with them has become as easy as busting out your Facebook and sending them a friend request. Oh, well, for all the cool kids belonging to Generation Z out there, Instagram and Snapchat are definitely more viable options.   

In addition to that, irrational fears of concerned parents can be easily laid to rest by using apps that offer free online calls (or video calls) like Viber, Google Duo, Skype and WhatsApp. Parents thankfully do not have to rely on letters, snail mails or phone booth calls to stay in touch. An app can be a life saver when it comes to being connected with loved ones back home. 

BRIDGING LANGUAGE BARRIERS: 

Back in the day it was a common practice for travellers to be walking around with a phrasebook on holiday, struggling to converse in the local language and basically miming their way through the journey. Our smart phones come in handy now and with apps like Google Translate, iTranslate or Waygo, interacting with locals and imbibing their culture comes with perfect ease. Technology has dissolved boundaries across nations causing individuals to come together and have a gala time.  

ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS: 

Last but not the least, technology has made going cashless a perfectly normal phenomenon. Electronic payments through secure apps such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet makes it convenient for travellers to travel without a lot of cash and saves them the trouble of having to stay in queue for ATM withdrawals or to deal with the inconvenience of losing a wallet. One doesn’t have to worry about credit card frauds/changing cards or getting stranded somewhere without any cash. 

This list is non-exhaustive, meaning, and we could go on and on about how else technology has changed the way we all travel, for the better. Although people make the bold claim that technology is changing our lives, the truth is that it completely depends on how one chooses to use the gift of technology. As long as travellers do not become too dependent on it and remember that not everything has to be captured on social media and not every experience can be found in a guidebook, they shall be fine and are sure to experience the best. 


 


 

Prahlad Singh Patel – India’s new Tourism Minister and the road ahead

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On 31st May 2019, India got a new tourism minister, Mr Prahlad Singh Patel. Mr Patel is a career politician and a four-time MP. He was a member of several committees in the previous Narendra Modi government like Committee on Public Undertakings, Committee on Government Assurances Member, Standing Committee on Rural Development Member. He was also a member of Executive Council of V.V. Giri National Labour Institute and member of the Consultative Committee in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The Ministry of Tourism is an independent ministry and has a plethora of opportunities to work on and make it one of the highest revenue generators. For this to happen, the new minister and his team must focus on an integrated approach to developing tourism in the country.

The Ministry must bring together all travel and tourism industry stakeholders to work together to understand the future challenges well in advance and prepare with a long-term vision of a decade or two in mind. The speed of change in the travel and tourism industry has been incredible over the decades. The pace of that change will be much faster, thanks to the growth in travel technology, in the coming decade compared to the changes that have come over the last three decades.

Building Narratives Around Different Areas

It is significant for Indian tourism (centre & states) to be proactive and well planned about the kind of tourists they want, carrying capacity of the destination, the experiences they offer, and the kind of memories visitors take back. For example, a lot of the average traveller coming from other countries, hear only about Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Red Fort, frequently, while India as a destination has so much more to offer in every state. Fascinating, yet factual, stories around nature, landscape, history, people, cuisine etc. must be created to generate curiosity & interest in the minds of the people to visit the destination. Ministry of Tourism will do well to introduce short term courses in subjects like “art of storytelling”, “historical importance”, geological inheritance”, etc.

Long Haul & Short Haul Source Markets

The Ministry must encourage short haul source markets as there are stronger trends in travel from rest of Asia to the South Asian region. Various reports indicate that Asian travellers percentage is likely to increase in the next five years as there is a decline from the European travellers market into Asia. India also requires a specific tourism strategy to tap the Chinese market which brings in a huge potential. Data shows Indian economy could have received an additional US$8.7billion to its GDP over the last decade if Chinese tourism potential had been better leveraged.

Infrastructure Development

Focused approach to tourism-associated economic and social infrastructure – hotels, connectivity, human resources, hygiene, health facilities, etc are largely underdeveloped in India. The poor quality of infrastructure is reflected in India’s 112nd rank in the ICT readiness component and 104th rank in the health and hygiene components of the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017. The prime reason for this apathy is the poor allocation of financial resources.

Safety and Security

Safety and security of all tourists is a major roadblock to the tourism development. Attacks on foreign nationals, especially on women, raise questions about India’s ability to welcome tourists from far away countries. Among the 130 countries surveyed, India was placed at the 114th position in terms of safety and security aspect in the WEF Index 2017. This requires measures to be taken on a war footing if our ranking has to improve.

Accessibility

Many of the tourist spots in the country are not accessible to the poor, specially abled and elderly. This is because of high costs of travelling, poor connectivity and a series of permissions required for various reasons. It is a fact that Divyangs, who constitute more than 2 per cent of the population, cannot access many of the tourist spots in the country. The Ministry should be able to put together a public private partnership to encourage this category of citizens to travel across the length & breadth of India.

In Conclusion

Tourism & hospitality not only create jobs in the tertiary sector, they also encourage growth in the primary and secondary sectors of industry. Hence, it is high time, the government encourages the participation of the private sector in a big way for the all-round development of the tourism sector that has the potential to act as the key driver of inclusive growth.
India’s share in international tourist arrivals is a meagre 0.50%, while the share in the global international tourism receipts is around 1.30% only. Mr Prahlad Singh Patel can make it his Ministry’s mission to increase these percentages in the next three years and make the Ministry of Tourism truly a Ministry to reckon with.

What makes you an ideal travel companion?

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“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So, get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss 

To travel is to feel and remember our basic unit of life – breathing. We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. 

 And, every part of your travel unravels a great story.  

 Sharing these great stories comes when you have chosen your one and only partner in crime or as the saying goes “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” 


However, if you’re looking to travel the worldthe right companion can enhance the adventure far beyond what you would have experienced by yourself. 

We believe, personality determines what kind of travel companion you need. If you are considering inviting someone on your travelling adventure, consider these few traits that will help figure out your true ideal mate. Read on…  

Choosing an ideal travel companion calls for someone who is a great comforter but ALSO pulls you out of your comfort zone once in a while. Looking for someone who is easily adaptable to every kind of behaviour, is something rare.

Being spontaneous and flexible are traits that should go hand in hand for every traveller out there. Sticking to plans almost never works because, something different almost seems to pave its way in every traveller’s journey. 

 Let’s not forget, that travel can be messy and having someone with a good sense of humour and a great deal of thoughtfulness is a compliment in itself. 

 

Traveling with a similar idea of a budget in mind is one of the most important things to ensure a harmonious trip with your travel companion.Find someone who knows how to go about their spending and at the same time is not calculative to the very last rupee. Don’t let money ruin memories and the start of many shared adventures together soon. 

 

Alright, this might catch everyone’s attention. You do not want someone who is not a foodie. Enough said? Find yourself a travelling partner who is willing to eat anything and automatically sniffs off anything that smells inviting and mouth-watering!  


 While there are many personality traits that might make certain people better travel companions than others, much of it is about matching personal temperaments. 


Travel changes us. Every time. Why not accept these changes along with a companion that wants you to experience life altering decisions and have your very own story?   

Fictional places people love to travel to

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Do you ever find yourself wanting to be taken to places that are part of your favourite books and movies? Or any of those places that you grew up reading about and only wished that they really existed. Well, for a while, we can make you go down memory lane with the 7 best fictional places that you would desperately wish to visit right now:

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, Harry Potter

You all have been waiting for your letter, haven’t you? The first stop one might want to take on their first fictional trip would be Hogwarts. Who doesn’t want to head to Diagon alley for their first wand and then move into this school full of moving photos, magical classes, and lifelong friends!

Do you want to know the earthly location for Hogwarts? The real Hogwarts school is in an old Polish castle that clearly has the same aura and mystique as J.K. Rowling’s fictional counterpart.

While you are still on the go, you can now book train tickets for the Hogwarts Express, which runs across Western Scotland.

Also, a tour at the Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando & LA is pure indulgence for all the muggles out there.

2. Wakanda, Black Panther

One of the greatest fictional countries to live in would be without a doubt, Wakanda, the African kingdom ruled by T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther. Fundamental to Wakanda’s self-sufficiency is its supply of vibranium, which nearly every character in Black Panther helpfully explains is the strongest metal in the world. Anyone shouting out ‘Wakanda Forever”?

The closest you can get to Wakanda is to plan a trip to Cape Town in South Africa, which was used as an inspiration for this movie!

3. Central Perk, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Central Perk shouts out to the quintessential and familiar moments we all want to relive from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Surely, the service her is lousy and the best seats are always taken. Only by a group you would love to meet! This place is unbeatable and hosts the chance of possible meet-cutes, what say?

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of our beloved show and guess what? To celebrate this, Comedy Central is bringing Friendsfest for a special anniversary tour this summer! Stopping at four fantastic locations: Manchester, Bristol, Milton Keynes & London.

Could we BE any more excited?

4. Willy Wonka’s Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Any chocolate addicts in the house? This is us calling onto all candy addicts. All your dreams of plucking chocolates and candies from trees come alive here. And, yes, meeting the wacky owner, Mr Willy Wonka cannot be missed!

Has anyone ever imagined having a real-life experience at an actual chocolate factory? We all can now. That’s because, this has been found in the quaint and serene backdrops of Switzerland.

Among rolling hills and green meadows, there is a real-life chocolate factory called the Chocolarium! It is a place to let the imagination roam and to discover why the Swiss are masters at chocolate making.

Ready to unfold this reality and discover some hidden treasures?

5. Neverland, Peter Pan

Isn’t this place just about apt for all of us? It’s no wonder that Neverland is on this list. Here, you never have to grow up, which means no bills, responsibilities, or other adult things that no one wants to think about. Someone tagging along in quest to search this place.

We found the perfect path for finding our Neverland.

Yes, Its Halong Bay in Vietnam. It makes up for the spectacular natural beauty. Who doesn’t want to experience the emerald waters and thousands of towering islands? Sign me up please.

6. Winterfell, Game of Thrones

Need we say more? If you want to live in a wildly violent and mystical world with dragons, wolves and an army of the dead, you might as well do it in a place that takes your breath away. Jon Snow’s presence is a bonus.

This spectacular castle can be found in Northern Ireland. A must visit, Castle Ward is found in the west of the village of Strangford. Fans can visit this place anytime, as this is the place where the set of Winterfell was built.

7. Narnia, Chronicles of Narnia

Okay, hands up in the air if you’ve ever tried to look for Narnia in the back of your closet? A beautiful country, though filled with dangers, it sure has its beauty set with Aslan’s protection and enduring love.  If that weren’t enough to make you want to live there, don’t forget about the majestic scenery and talking animals!

The stories of Narnia have been part of our growing childhood and one surely should visit Oamaru and the surrounding South Island area of New Zealand. This was the backdrop to much of the film version. Selected for its dramatic landscape and temperate climate, Oamaru is a popular filming location.

Yes, we are concluding this list of fictional places with this one, and we are letting the world know that we would love to visit Narnia now and forever!