New e-visa fees implemented As per the e-visa announcements made by the Hon’ble tourism minister, Mr. Prahlad Patel, e-visa facility is now available online for all the eligible countries. A 30-day e-tourist visa is now available for a fee of $25 during the peak tourism season from July to March. For the lean season between April and June, the 30-day e-visa fee is $10. Certain countries are exempted. Please click here for the entire list of countries and the fees for different time-frames during the peak and off seasons. Illumination of Qutab Minar Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (I/C) recently inaugurated the first ever architectural LED illumination at the Qutub Minar at New Delhi. Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qila and Safdarjung Tomb has already been completed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), with Tughlakabad Fort next in line in the near future. A Baby Feeding Centre has been set up at the Taj Mahal, Agra, and similar services are being set up at all ASI protected UNESCO world heritage sites. ‘Gallery of Confiscated and Retrieved Antiquities’ inaugurated at Purana Qila, New Delhi Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (I/C) recently inaugurated the ‘Gallery of Confiscated and Retrieved Antiquities’ at Purana Qila in New Delhi. Curated by the (ASI), the Gallery is now open to the public from 10 AM-5 PM except Fridays. The 198 antiquities on display are a part of Central Antiquity Collection (CAC). The exhibition also sensitizes the visitors about the illegal trade of precious heritage items and process and regulations for retrieving them. Water Conservation System inaugurated at Taj Mahal, Agra Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC), recently inaugurated a Water Conservation system and a Baby care & Feeding Centre at the Taj Mahal in Agra, in the wake of PM Modi’s call to conserve water. About 10000 litres of waste water coming out of RO systems will be collected into an old well of the heritage site and treated. Speaking on the occasion, the minister urged all officials and citizens alike to commit themselves to keep India’s iconic heritage sites clean and make it accessible for all visitors.
Nrityagram, The Dance Village Nrityagram is one of India’s most illustrious cultural organizations and artistic ambassadors, being the only institution of its kind to uphold the holistic traditions associated with the classical arts of India in the world. Established in 1990, this dance village was set up in the ancient Indian traditional concept of a residential Gurukul and the guru-shishya tradition of teaching and learning, for the preservation and popularization of the dance heritage of India, especially Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharat Natyam, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Manipuri and Kathak disciplines, for dance training, practice, research, experimentation, creation, performance, preservation and popularization. The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble has won rave reviews for its stellar performances across the world. Designed by celebrated architect Gerard da Cunha in sync with the vernacular architecture in the region, it is a dynamic artistic community that practices and upholds the holistic traditions associated with the classical arts of India. Several guided tour options are available for the visitor, which include an opportunity to view classes or rehearsals, and requests for private performances, as well as get a glimpse of their Community Outreach programme in which approximately 150 children and young adults are imparted dance lessons. Additional information and rules and restrictions for visitors are available on the website. Visiting hours: 10 AM-2 PM (Mondays closed)
Chambal Wildlife Safari Lodge, Jarar, Agra A wilderness experience on the banks o the Chambal River and set in the relatively unexplored Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, CWSL is merely a 90- minute- drive from Agra. On offer are 6 rustic yet luxurious cottages which bring in the outdoors. The lodge is flanked by lush fields beyond which one would enjoy exploring the abundant avian life besides spotting jackals, civets, jungle cats and others. Revel in private dining at natural interactions or indulge in community dining facility for in-house guests, over entertaining folklore by locals.
Ramlila, (Ramnagar, Varanasi) September 29 - October 08, 2019 ‘Ramnagar ki Ramlila’ upholds the famous 200- year-old tradition of Ramlila (the oldest in the world). Performed over 31 days and held in Varanasi (Banaras), it unfolds the myth of Lord Rama during the days preceding Dussehra. Local artists perform various scenes from Lord Rama’s life and his triumph over the evil Ravana, to rescue his abducted wife Sita. Ramlila is an enthralling visual treat, despite being so old-school that artists do not even use microphones and loudspeakers. All the scenes are performed in natural lighting and all actors below the age of 18 are chosen by none other than the Maharaja of Banaras himself. Banaras is a feast for the senses during the Ramlila fiesta. The ghats (river front) are illuminated at night, and temples hold elaborate rituals and pujas (obeisance and offerings to the lord). Enjoy interacting with the friendly locals and indulge in treats like the famous Banarasi paan, Puri Bhaji, and Jalebis amongst others. With hymns, theatrical performances and grand rituals including caparisoned elephant processions and the chanting of the sacred text of Ramcharitmanas, Ramnagar ki Ramlila is indeed a cultural gem, an embodiment of the intangible cultural heritage of India, fittingly acknowledged as such by UNESCO in 2004. If there is any Ramlila that you must watch, then this one is it.
SpiceJet to launch 12 new domestic flights from October With effect from October 2019, SpiceJet, the budget airlines, is all set to expand its domestic sector network by launching 12 new daily direct domestic flights (including Delhi-Aurangabad), as well as increase the frequency on existing routes. It will be deploying its Boeing 737-800 aircraft on these routes. The expansion was initiated in April 2019, when it announced 142 new flights, which include 78 connecting Mumbai, 30 connecting Delhi and 12 flights between Mumbai and Delhi. Kerala airports to be linked with 39 new domestic services Thirty-nine new domestic services will be operated from all of Kerala’s airports in a bid to end the crisis caused by a huge drop in services from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, as per an announcement by CM Pinarayi Vijayan, who has urged airline companies to operate more services from the state, especially Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kannur airports. Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) tax has been cut down in the wake of the crisis.