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Metro Mart November 2013


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Please Read, Share and Subscribe-Metro Mart e-edition …

Please Read, Share and Subscribe-Metro Mart e-edition

Metro Mart aims to examine the existing conditions in the tourism sector as well as highlight areas where significant improvement is needed. Our intention is also to bring in to focus tourist locations in Thiruvananthapuram beyond Kovalam.We would like you to share your views with our readers on the current situation of the tourism sector in Thiruvananthapuram, which areas are in need of improvement, and the future of tourism industry in Thiruvananthapuram.
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  • 1. METRO mart Volume 3 Issue 4-5 N0vember 2013 `40 T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M Kovalam & Beyond Indian Hospitality Internationally Tourism must go rural A long way to go Preserve Kovalam Connectivity needs to be boosted “Veendum, veendum I like dancing for the people of Thiruvananthapuram.” The boutique of designer products Manju Warrier is Goodwill ambassador for ‘She Taxi’ FEATURE STORY Mannarasala - the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods November 2013 1
  • 2. 2 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 3. November 2013 3
  • 4. 4 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 5. Why Sikkim topped the 2014 Lonely Planet list? Hailing from a city where tourism is one of the prominent revenue makers, this news caught my attention, which was published in Times News Network on 3rd November 2013. The article is an eye-opener for anyone in the tourism industry to learn how we can develop a tourism spot. Sikkim was nowhere in the global tourist map a decade ago. But with long-term plans by the government and using of funds from various agencies for the benefit of the industry and the people, Sikkim rose to the top spot of global tourism. Foreword Hi Readers, All these years what have we achieved greatly in the tourism development of our city - apart from Kovalam? If nearby areas like Vizhinjam and Poovar developed, was it due to private venture or government initiatives? We are blessed with natural spots – be it lakes, hill stations, rivers, etc. Can a city which does not have a proper master plan for years, be expected to have a tourism development plan? We talk a lot, but when it comes to action we miss the essentials. But we cannot survive by taking things for granted. Kovalam is an international tourism spot, tourists will come! When that is the case, visit the beach; you will see empty shores during the beginning of tourism season. Only a combined and sincere effort from every stakeholder including each citiyite can bring a positive change in the growth of tourism. Each of us has to participate and inspire our leaders to act, to enable growth. Hari Shanker Manag8ing Editor With the help of Japanese and American experts Sikkim was the first state to frame an eco-tourism policy. In underdeveloped areas of the state, Sikkim has successfully developed homestay-based tourism model. Union government projects like Indira Awaas Yojana aided to develop the houses in villages with provision of additional funds to build an extra room and western style toilet for tourists. Then the family members were given training in all aspects of hospitality at Hotel Management institutes. Today these home stays are a preferred destination for nature-loving foreign and Indian tourists. Development of infrastructure and adequate skilled manpower brought Sikkim a sustained tourism growth. In this edition of METRO we are featuring several articles on cities’ tourism opportunities – ‘Kovalam and Beyond’ penned down by experts from the industry. We have our complete menu offered in this edition for your reading delight. Do write back to us to make METRO more useful to you. November 2013 5
  • 6. CONTENTS Volume 3 Issue 4-5 November 2013 8 Indian Hospitality Internationally 12 A long way to go 14 Collaboration would develop the destination 16 Preserve Kovalam Sub Editor 18 Connectivity needs to be boosted Editorial Assistant Ampili Nair Creative Assistant Sayan Chaudhuri 20 “Kerala”- World’s Best Family Destination Annual Subscription `400 Managing Editor Hari Shanker CEO & Managing Director Siji Nair 22 Experience Luxury Grooming at The Leela Kovalam 24 Grand Kerala Shopping Festival 26 V Viswanath Roopesh Shekhar GM Sales Sibu Nair Sparkles – The boutique of designer products GM Administration Binoy Krishna Manager - Promotions Anoop I S Corporate Office:- 36 Metro Mart Thiruvananthapuram Jayaraj Plus Towers, Murinjapalam, An Oasis of peace Medical College Post 30 34 How to Follow Table Manners Trivandrum - 695011 Tel: +91 471 6065511/ 9947733339 Paithrika HomesEmail: 40 Mannarasala 48 Recipe 56 Metro Update 66 Last Leaf Redefine fine living! Bangalore Office:- No:217, 3B Main, OMBR Layout Bangalore – 560 043 Tel: +919038000711 Email: Published, Edited and Printed by Hari Shanker A G and Owned by Haritha Media Pvt Ltd and Printed by him at SB Press Private Limited, Statue, Trivandrum 695001 and Published from Tharangam, Kodunganoor Post, Trivandrum 695003 Metro Mart is a monthly journal published from Trivandrum. Views and opinions expressed in the journal are not necessarily those of the Publishers. Metro Mart reserves the right to use the information published here in any manner whatsoever. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information published in this edition, neither the Publisher no any of its employees accept any responsibilities for any errors or omissions. © All Rights Reserved 6 November 2013 RNI No: KERENG/2011/40037 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 8. Indian Hospitality Internationally Kovalam & Beyond Kovalam is nature’s gift to Kerala with such an idyllic beauty which could lure any tourist who looks for a scenic location. Kovalam is known for its lush grove of coconut trees, crescent shaped beaches, calm blue waters, and a rustic village life around. Kovalam was brought to the world as a beautiful tourism location by the Maharaja of Travancore realizing its potential. E M Najeeb The European guests of the royal family in 1930’s had discovered the potentiality of Kovalam as a tourist destination. It was Col. Goda Varma Raja of the Travancore Royal family who took lead in the late 60’s to establish Kovalam as a destination. By the beginning of 70’s India Tourism Development Corporation set-up a five star hotel resort at an amazingly beautiful spot at Kovalam, bringing Indian hospitality of international class to this location. It was Kovalam that had brought Kerala into the Indian tourist map first. In the later years we found a gush of unplanned development at Kovalam. Later we found many more congesting constructions coming up to cater to the charters that started landing for Kovalam. A good number of hotels contracted with charter operators at very lower tariff, and as 8 November 2013 a result their yield dropped and at the same time could not entertain the conventional operators sending groups and FIT’s. Charters unfortunately could not continue to operate. It is a set of good quality highend hotels which came up later in Kovalam that retained the high yielding tourists at Kovalam and METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 9. saved the traffic. Now the strength of Kovalam zone is the excellent resorts adorning the place. experience with the local ambience. It is more of a beach village with a visible village life around. So far we could not define All through Kovalam has the destination in that been ailing, and has been character, and has been in need of basic infrastruc- treating it as any other ture, except for some beach destination, which cosmetic developments was a mistake. We need to done here and there. It has convince ourselves as to been lacking a good mashow this destination has ter plan, a clear destination to be developed realizing product definition and a the most satisfying and futuristic development unique visitor-experiences road map. In the absence it offers. Based on that, we of such blueprints, nobody should make a master plan integrating necessary infracould do much for the structure, hospitality faciliquality enhancement at ties, recreation and activity Kovalam. centres, and natural village Kovalam is not a convenlife with prominence to tional beach destination. fishermen’s life. Kovalam It does not have long should be linked to an stretches of white sand attractive tourist circuit beaches like Goa or any making it a worthwhile other places. Kovalam destination. Though a touroffers a very unique visitor ism circuit was developed at the southern region of Kerala with Kovalam as the major hub and other tourist centers as part of it, the circuit has not been worked upon to perfect it and promote. There is a backwater stretch leading from Kovalam to beautiful lakes like Kadinamkulam. Ones the canal is cleared at Varkala, it will connect further north upto Kottapuram making it an attractive inland waterway. At Kovalam, beyond the present beaches there are attractive beach locations developed at Chowara, Vizhinjam, etc which have already developed as excellent resort destinations. Trivandrum is a unique tourist spot where one can reach a beautiful hill resort like Ponmudi in 2½ hours November 2013 9
  • 10. of travel from the beautiful Kovalam beach. Neyyar dam is known for its ecologically rich environment, Veli village – a picnic spot and Varkala is yet another beach resort. From Trivandrum, it is easy to visit the land’s end Kanyakumari enjoying the confluence of the three oceans and the Vivekananda Rock. If all these attractions are arranged in an excellent circuit and marketed, Trivandrum region will gain a lot of attention. The Trivandrum international airport is provided with Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) facility for tourists from more than 40 countries recently, which would trigger-off the growth of tourism in the region very fast. But, pathetically the infrastructure is poor at many locations and tourist centers like Ponmudi and other such locations are neglected. In such a situ- 10 November 2013 ation, Kovalam and just the surrounding places are the consolation we have. Trivandrum city with its heritage and historic grandeur is another major strength of the region. Infrastructure, failed to be provided include good approach roads, fresh water supply, waste management, sewage systems, public lighting, signage, beach cleaning and a blueprint for a planned beach village. The authentic village life of Kovalam should be revived. History and heritage be brought back. People or agencies polluting air and water of the place should be penalized. Sound pollution should be banned for peaceful atmosphere. Necessary legislation should be applied for ensuring the same. There are very unique local attractions like fishing, local cuisine, seafood, local life, local knowledge, traditional medicine, et al, to be integrated to give the beach village a stand alone character. The place used to be known for its fresh fish, lobster, king prawns, kalamari, fruits, coconut-toddy etc, could be brought back with its authentic freshness to attract the tourist. There is a ‘Responsible Tourism’ movement initiated in this village, participating the villagers in the tourism industry as stakeholders and service providers. They produce the local produces and supply to the local hotels. This movement has given a new perspective about tourism that tourism is their affair too. Responsible Tourism initiatives can be integrated to the product development of Kovalam beach destination. There should not be isolated buildup of tourism by certain segments alone. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 11. Instead it should be a total and comprehensive movement of the local community, hand in hand with the mainline tourism industry. Unfortunately this destination is also gripped by negatives like growing number of peddlers, hawkers, touts and stray dogs. Studies show that there are drug trafficking, prostitution, organized begging and such others. This should be contained on a war-footing basis strengthening intelligence and law and order. If necessary, our law should be modified to contain such menaces effectively. The best way to clean up the activities of the desti- nation is to involve the local bodies and the general public in the management of the place. There should be regular interfaces with the local-body authorities, village leaders and opinion makers which should support a healthy tourism activity and a healthy destination. There is already an appreciable environmental movement at Kovalam namely ‘Zero Waste Management’. Similar movements should be strengthened and an environmental awareness should be created. Such movements with objectives of social betterment also should be linked to the tourism development efforts of Kovalam. Local culture should be revived. Traditional products, crafts, arts and festivals of the locality should be revived and brought to prominence. This only would help to keep the identity of Kovalam as a unique beach village location and be able to showcase the innate wealth of the place. This would surely bring back its image as the “Paradise of South” as it used to be known once. The author Mr E M Najeeb is the Chairman and Managing Director Air Travel Enterprises Group of companies Tourism must go rural Kallingal Shafeeq Managing Director Kallingal Bajaj The focus of tourism industry is mostly focused on the city limits of Thiruvananthapuram. Not much tourism promotional activities are done for the scenic areas of Ponmudi, Neyyar Dam, Agasthyakoodam, Kallar, etc. Proper accommodation facilities are not provided at Ponmudi. Safety and security has to be ensured for families that visit Ponmudi. Ponmudi could come up like Munnar if appropriate development is carried out in the area. The tourism potential of Agasthyakoodam is not realised as it should be. Basic facilities at Kallar, Aruvikkara, and Neyyar Dam should be well maintained and enhanced. The work of Kallar-Ambasamudram Road is still lagging. The completion of which would boost tourism in the region. November 2013 11
  • 12. A long way to go Kovalam & Beyond With the onset of the tourist season in Kovalam, it is high time that one takes a measure of the arrangements that we have in place for welcoming the visitors and ensuring that they have one of the finest experiences in God’s Own Country. Year-on-year, everyone associated with the hospitality industry does an introspection as to what went well, where it went wrong and what needs to be done to make it better. As a result, both the government and the private sector have played a major role in bringing quite a few changes as far as the development of Kovalam, as a destination of international repute, is concerned. But there is still 12 November 2013 a long way to go to make this destination more appealing, friendly, and easily accessible, etc. Government officials, prominent citizens, hoteliers, associations have all brainstormed time and again to bring the changes that have happened so far. But I still strongly feel that there are a few key areas that need to be addressed on a war time footing to avoid the further decline of inflow of visitors to this Mathew Thomas destination. These areas have been there since long and needs to be addressed immediately and on a larger scale. Prominent among the issues is accessibility. The Kovalam bypass road especially from the Trivandrum International / Domestic Airport to Kovalam and Poovar is very narrow with the Thiruvallam bridge being a constant sore point which throws traffic into chaos not only in this METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 13. stretch, but also around the neighboring routes too. Disposal of garbage is another major issue which not only Kovalam, but the entire city of Trivandrum seems to face. Necessary measures need to be taken for disposal of garbage in a systematic manner. Prominent hotels and resorts like Taj, Leela’s, Uday Samudra, Somatheeram, etc., have some measures and processes in place within the hotel premises to take care of effective disposal of garbage. But this alone does not suffice. The garbage disposed in the other general public areas and way sides give an unhygienic feel to this destination. In spite of various awareness campaigns and drives by the government, rampant dumping of garbage at unauthorized locations and road sides is evident. Drinking water is another cause for concern for this destination especially for the numerous hospitality establishments. The major source of drinking water is the water tanker which brings them from a distance. With the onset of rains, the chlorine level in the water is also very much high. A trend among tourists is that they prefer to travel to Sri Lanka nowadays rather than come to Kovalam. The reason for the same is the very high air fares for Trivandrum sector whereas one can get cheaper tickets for Sri Lanka. It also gives the visitors a feel of having had an international holiday at lesser travel expense. To add salt to the wound, the heavy taxation in the state for all associated services takes a toll on the tourist thereby making them think twice before travelling to Kovalam. These two points need to be seriously looked into before Kovalam gets the impression of being an expensive destination for tourists. The main thought about any tourist destination in the minds of the traveller is always – “What All Can I Do Once I Reach There?”. As a beach destination, Kovalam is yet to be tapped to its potential. Leisure and holiday activities are still lacking in a major way, though here and there some initiatives are being taken. One main area to be explored is Water Sports which is always a major attraction for any beach destination. Options for speed boats, water scooters, surfing, kayaking, water skiing, jet skiing, paragliding, parasailing, etc., should be looked into with investment from private players. Equally important or even more important is the night life in Kovalam. There are hardly any night life options available in Kovalam hence not so attractive to the younger generation. Kerala Tourism’s focus on development of Kovalam and especially the Kovalam – Poovar belt is a very important initiative and needs to be done in a time bound manner. November 2013 13
  • 14. Collaboration would develop the destination Kovalam is not what it was 10 years back. It has become a very common place. People are looking for places which are not yet crowded. As far as infrastructure is concerned, there is limitation to what government can do. Karan Bakshi However, this destination will survive for the next 50 years, whether it is domestic clients or foreign clients. So it needs to be supported with good roads, power supply and needs to have sufficient water facility. Beach-wise what they can really improve on is providing space for all travelers who come to enjoy the beach here, which is a unique thing. Domestic clientele will compare what he gets in Goa. Since the beach is better than in Goa and as it is not yet crowded as Goa, we can get this exclusivity in that space. But the facility at the beach is a problem. If there is collaboration between local people and the hotel the necessary facility such as well-maintained pool cots, keeping the beach clean, etc. can be provided to the travelers. The crowd now is spreading up to Chowara and Poovar. Hotels have come up there. People 14 November 2013 want to go to places which are not that much covered. Everybody wants to have exclusive place, good location. So Poovar that way is getting promoted quite well. Better boats need to be organized there. During the off-season, it is a very strong MICE destination. Access by boat needs to be enhanced. Government needs to ensure proper boats with safety. The interior roads also need to be maintained well. The impression that the guests get while driving down to the destination should be taken in to consideration. Local people are the key to any success of the hotels. So collaboration with them would aid developing the place as a tourist destination. People who stay in Kovalam for longer duration need to have some entertainment apart from the beach. Tourism department could put up one central place in Kovalam where they have some sort of local cultural performances every day, which could be charged. Kerala’s art and culture should be showcased at one location for the customer. It would be a big boost for Kovalam. Visa-on-Arrival will really help as there will be more inflow of tourists. The author Mr Karan Bakshi is the Regional General Manager , Thomas Hotels and Resorts METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 16. Preserve Kovalam Highlight the stretch of Shanghumukham - Poovar as tourist destination Kovalam is one of the best beach destinations in the world and we have to preserve the uniqueness. Lately, a number of issues have crept up in and around Kovalam. The most important is waste management. Efficient waste disposal programmes need to be developed and carried out by the government. Across Europe, the trend is eco-friendly, responsible and sustainable tourism. However, the image of Kovalam as a serene and eco-friendly spot is changing. With the new port coming up, travelers see the construction activity around it. Travel agents around the world get the feel that Kovalam is changing to a port. 16 November 2013 New travel agents would be reluctant to promote Kovalam if they are unsure about the status of Kovalam as a tourist destination. The resorts and hotels who voice that environment should be protected and Kovalam should be preserved are labeled as people against port development. Government, in particular, Subhash C. Bose tourism department is doing nothing to counter these ramifications. There should be strong PR efforts from the government to nullify the fears of the guests and travel agents. Efforts should be taken by the government for simultaneous development of tourism industry and port. The METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 17. focus of government on Kovalam is almost nil. The road shows conducted by tourism department are not reaching the targeted audience. Kovalam and Poovar were declared as a special destination. The area demarked is quite small. Since the beach at Kovalam is becoming crowded, the good beaches before and after Kovalam could be highlighted. A model tourism project can be put up at Chowara beach since the government owns acres of land at this place. Even though Poovar – within 22 km from the city – has been declared as a tourist spot, there is not much promotional activities about it. Along with preservation of the lake and environment at Poovar, infrastructure development is necessary for further advancement of the destination. When we say Kovalam and Beyond, the entire belt of ShanghumukhamPoovar – with all the beautiful beaches and scenic locations between it – should be declared as tourist destination and the required facilities and benefits provided. Dog menace, trouble from beach vendors, and lack of safe facilities for the guests at the beach are some of the other ongoing issues. Hotels have only limited permission and private parties who have permission to provide facilities is not up to the standard. Tourist resorts and hotels could aid in development of the tourist destination if some leeway is provided to them. Some area in the beach should be earmarked for the use of tourists exclusively. Connectivity between Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram needs to be boosted. Responsible tourism should be followed. Guests could be taken to local villages and given a glimpse of the daily life of local people, fishing activity, etc. Currently, safety is an issue to give such demonstrations. Earlier guests used to reach Kovalam first and only a fraction of that went ahead to other places. That situation has changed. To have tourism in Kerala, Kovalam has to be preserved. The author Shri Subhash C Bose is the Corporate General manager of Somatheeram Ayurveda Group September 2013 November 17
  • 18. Connectivity needs to be boosted As all are aware, this season started very badly, and it was mainly because of the deflation of the currency and the simultaneous inflation in the daily used commodities, fuel and airline rates. Unnikrishnann V Menon Firstly, the Civil Aviation dept should allow more schedules to Thiruvananthapuram from major sectors like Delhi, Gujarat, and Bangalore, as these are the major sectors, which has scope of business for hoteliers, especially in Kovalam. Secondly, to inhabit the tourism sector in Kovalam, we need a permanent solution to clear off the garbage disposed in both sides of the national highway between Kovalam and Thiruvananthapuram Airport. There should be action not just discussions. It should be taken up at the government level and hoteliers’ forum should be involved in the proceedings. These discussions have been going on for a long time, without any result. extended to countries such as Russia from where we could expect more tourists. Tourism Promotion Council should act on time to appoint proper lifeguards and cleaning staff to keep all the Kovalam Beaches clean and tidy throughout the year. Kovalam must have further entertainment avenues such as Water sports that would double the revenue to Kovalam. Shacks with liquor license should be set up in demarcated areas at the beach. A certain degree of liberty and privileges to guests would enable them to enjoy their stay in Kovalam. Visa-on-Arrival has to be The author Mr. Unnikrishnann V Menon is the General Manager of Swagath Holiday Resort Pvt .Ltd. Kovalam, Trivandrum 18 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 20. “Kerala”- World’s Best Family Destination Jonty Rhodes Visits Kerala Pavilion at WTM, London Lonely Planet has named Kerala as one among the world’s 10 best destinations for taking the family along for a holiday in 2014.The Lonely Planet award for the Best Family Destination was bestowed on ‘God’s Own Country’ at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London, the world’s leading travel trade event attended by industry representatives from around the world Kerala joined the likes of New York City, Denmark, Prague, Iceland, Italy and Hawaii in being described by the travel expert as a child-friendly destination ideal for the family. “The intensity of travel in India could put you off taking a trip here en famille, but Kerala is a family-friendly version: more laid-back than other regions, greener, slower paced. There are also lots of national parks for elephant spotting, palm-fringed beaches and boat trips along the lush canals of the backwaters,” it said. Kerala Tourism Director Shri S Harikishore, who led the state delegation to the WTM, received the award from Lonely Planet. The WTM, which began on November 4, concluded on Thursday. Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes was among those who visited the Kerala pavilion at the WTM, themed on the Ayurveda. Rhodes, who retired from international cricket in 2003 after a spectacular career during which he became best fielder in world cricket, is a brand ambassador for South African Tourism. “With the British economy registering the fastest growth in the last three years in the previous quarter, the mood at the World Travel Mart hosted by London was upbeat,” said Shri Harikishore. The United Kingdom is the most important market for Kerala, recording nearly 1.5 lakh tourist arrivals in the state last year. 20 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 22. BEAUTY Experience Luxury Grooming at The Leela Kovalam The salon at The Leela is the only salon in India that offers advanced skin care by Clarins and Forest Essentials. Anti-ageing to Hydrating to Purifying – there is a wide variety of treatments that are designed for relaxation and beautification. Also offered at this salon are rejuvenating therapies for hands and foot by Forest Essentials. Pedicure and manicure by OPI is made available here for the guests’ benefit. Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts in their ongoing efforts to enhance the luxurious experiences of the guests at The Leela, is collaborating 22 November 2013 with the American salon brand Warren Tricomi – legends in the world of hair color and hair styling. The unparalleled signature work at these brand salons has ensured them a large client base including celebrities. The superior pampering and subtle sophistication of the Warren Tricomi METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 23. salons are regularly enjoyed by the likes of Ivanka Trump, Jessica Alba, Kate Beckinsale and Adrien Brody. Specialties at this salon include dry haircut techniques and custom-designed coloring experiences. Warren Tricomi salons define the latest hair trends for each season. Color customization for each client is done by unique coloring techniques at Warren Tricomi. Contrast, shadow and depth are well maintained with these techniques. To style hair, dry-hair precision cutting technique is used. The rapid-fire style of cutting is quite artistic. The guests at The Leela can get a new look with the salon’s custom design coloring or avail of hair or scalp therapy. Experts at the salon diagnose the hair and recommends appropriate hair care. Kovalam’ – with its cliff-top The effect that ‘The Leela The Leela Kovalam. setting looking out over pristine beaches to the far horizon – has on its guests is unparalleled. The world class dining, seamless service and palatial accommodations at The Leela Kovalam are distinctive. Now with the luxury hair and beauty care by Warren Tricomi, they can also have an exclusive luxury grooming experience at the salon in November 2013 23
  • 24. ww SHOPPING Grand Kerala Shopping Festival Starts in December-Federal Bank Bank becomes title sponsor The seventh season of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) is all set for a transformation on a wide scale and create a new pattern, boosting the commerce and tourism sectors of the state in the future. Federal Bank Bank becomes title sponsor of GKSF Season7 With an assurance of close association offered by the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) this time, registration of shops and establishments evincing interest for participation has gone up to one lakh, from the mere 7,000 in the sixth season. Chief Minister Oommen The third prize of Rs 5 lakh each will be given to 20 coupon winners and fourth prizes of Rs 1 lakh each will be presented to 50 winners, he said. The Minister said that gold coins in one, two, four and eight grams – weighing a total 27,532 grams – will be given to 6,893 winners in ‘’We want the festival to have the widest reach and it is with this objective that we have decided to start the campaign earlier,’ A P Anil Kumar Tourism Minister Chandy will set the GKSF Season 7 into motion in Kozhikode on December 1. Announcing the fest and details, Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar said that the canvas of the event was undergoing a massive change with a prize kitty comprising Rs 11-crore worth of gold and a mega draw for giving cash prizes totalling Rs 4 crore. The first prize winner will get Rs 1 crore and 15 second prize winners will take Rs 10 lakh each. 24 September 2013 November 2013 draws of coupons, to be held in the 14 districts in all the six weeks of the fest. One of the highlights of the upcoming season of GKSF is that shop owners will also get consolation prizes from coupons won by customers – in a format of the state lotteries – in the prize range of Rs 1 lakh-Rs 5,000. Anil Kumar said that a conscious effort was being made to convert the 45-day GKSF programme into a highly popular and attractive MM Desk event from this season. The State Government had sanctioned Rs 25 crore each in the past seasons for promotion of GKSF. “This year, the budgetary allocation was only Rs 15 crore. Next year,it will be only Rs 10 crore and it will be brought down further in the years ahead. The Federal Bank has become the official ‘title sponsor’ of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival) this year with the Bank signing an MoU with the Tourism Department. Tourism director S Harikishore and Federal Bank zonal manager C P Sasidharan signed the MoU in this regard in the presence of Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar. Ahead of the signing of the MoU, Anil Kumar said that campaign for the GKSF will begin on November 15, ahead of the shopping festival season. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 26. Sparkles – The boutique of designer products Sparkles has brought in Bollywood-style to Thiruvananthapuram for the first time. The strength of the fabric is further enhanced with the additional stitches in the designer sarees at Sparkles Sparkles – a boutique inspired by a love for design, variety, and colors. As Ms. Ann – the proprietress – says, the idea of a boutique started when she and her mom designed a saree for herself. With the design being a mega hit, orders poured in for designer wears. Currently, Sparkles 26 November 2013 has a team of designers and tailors who cater to the needs of each customer. Ann feels the support she has received from family and friends has given her great strength. She said that her mother gives support in all aspects from designing to final setting, while she concentrates V. Viswanath more on marketing and paying attention to Sparkles’ customers. A variety of fabrics, designer tops, seasonal specials, handbags, accessories, etc., are made available at Sparkles. At this boutique, utmost care is given to perfect the products. This designer boutique has customised METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 27. designer wears made of handpicked, fine quality materials. Sparkles has brought in Bollywood-style to Thiruvananthapuram for the first time. The strength of the fabric is further enhanced with the additional stitches in the designer sarees at Sparkles. All the additional care given to the designer products at Sparkles are at affordable price. Tops, kurtis, handbags, jewellery, fashion accessories, utility designer products, etc., are also at this boutique. Made-to-order wedding sarees is another specialty of Sparkles. cotton sarees and tops are also available. Customer footfalls at Sparkles have been increasing day-by-day. The clients at Sparkles include cityites as well as visitors to Thiruvananthapuram. Every festival season, a variety of new and special products are offered at Sparkles. This Diwali, the boutique has introduced half-saree, dhavani and lacha sarees which are in demand among teenagers. Daily wear dresses such as Sparkles is frequented by people from the film world. Professional dancer Lakshmi Gopalaswamy who visited Sparkles recently says about Sparkles, “This is a very good concept. One shop where you can pick up sarees to bags. You can just come in and get everything. Top to bottom you can dress up and go. I have selected some accessories which are very attractive. It is within reach of most people. I also relate to this beautiful heritage-type building of Sparkles.” The entrepreneur Ann feels the challenges that women face in any stream of life should be tackled with confidence and positive attitude. She says one can achieve success and happiness if they move forward with a clear conscience. The ambience, the availability of trendy fashion wears and accessories are some of the features that make a visit to Sparkles Fashion Studio at Sasthamangalam a must for all fashion lovers. November 2013 27
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  • 30. HEALTH HYPERMARKET An Oasis of peace Thirty kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram the capital city of Kerala, at the end of a picturesque drive lies Neyyar Dam. A left turn from the main road, just before reaching the bus stop takes me into a steeply inclined road forcing me to shift to first gear. As I reach the top of the incline, a haven of peace and spirituality comes into view- the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram.Their mission : – to spread peace, health and joy through Yoga. About the Author Shri Ravi Easwaran,is a graduate of the Teaching Training Course (TTC) of Sivananda Ashram, Neyyar Dam and teaches at the West Fort Centre of the Ashram. Shri Ravi Easwaran was a Banker and then Head of Retail business at two major investment banks in the country before he sought premature retirement to concentrate on his first love , Yoga. Their motif :- Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise. The Ashram was founded by Swami Vishnu-devananda, a direct disciple of Swami Sivananda. Swami Vishnudevananda was born in Kerala in 1927. Swamiji entered the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh at the age of 20 in 1947. Ten years later, in 1957, Swami Sivananda instructed his disciple, with the words “people are waiting”, to proceed to the West to spread the teachings of Yoga. Swami Vishnu-devananda established the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Montreal, Canada in 1959. Over the years sixty other Ashrams and centres have been established all over the world to enable the teachings to reach to as wide an audience as possible. The Dhanwantari Ashram at Neyyar Dam was established in the year 1978. In India, apart from the Dhanwanatri Ashram, there is the Meenakshi Ashram at Madurai and the Sivananda Kutir at Uttarkashi. Apart from these three full fledged Ashrams, there are five Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in India, two in Delhi, one in Chennai, one in Madurai and one in Trivandrum. The Dhanwantari Ashram sits in the middle of twelve acres of unsurpassed breathtaking natural He can be contacted at Or +91-80860-70630 30 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 31. beauty at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains. The outer tranquility of nature is reflected in full measure in the serene atmosphere inside the Ashram. I check into my accommodation and fall asleep immediately. As dawn breaks over the Ashram, the first bell tolls at 5.20 am. A few minutes later residents move into the main hall for half an hour of meditation. For the benefit of newcomers, the meditation session is preceded by brief instructions on how to ready oneself for meditation. As the session ends, Satsang begins with the haunting strains of “Jaya Ganesha”. This is followed by an hour of prayers, bhajans and winds up with a beautiful Aarti. In keeping with the Ashram traditions, the day is packed with activity. Asana classes begin after the Satsang. Asana classes are graded-those who are new to Yoga can opt for beginners classes, there are also gentle yoga and intermediate yoga classes. The instructors are outstanding and completely dedicated. They are available for guidance throughout the session and after the session too should you choose to approach them.After Yoga class, is brunch at ten am. Lunch is simple but tasty food and is served by volunteers (from among residents) in a spotlessly clean brightly lit dining hall. The brunch is followed by Karma Yoga – a variety of daily ashram chores from serving tea, serving brunch and lunch, disposing of garbage etc. Though participation is voluntary, one finds that almost all residents participate cheerfully. And, believe me, it is an uplifting experience. By the end of your stay you will find yourself looking forward to the daily Karma Yoga. After Karma yoga, there are classes and lectures, Asana class again at four pm followed by dinner at six. Evening meditation begins at eight pm followed by Satsang, usually winding up between 9.30 pm and ten pm. Lights are expected to be out by 10.30 pm. For those who would like to benefit from the serenity of the Ashram, the yoga vacation programme is offered. This programme is based on the five points of Yoga enumerated by Swami Vishnu-devananda for radiant health and inner peace. The five points are proper exercise (Asana), proper breathing( Pranayama), proper relaxation (Savasana) , Proper diet (vegetarian diet) and positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana). A lifestyle within the framework of September 2013 November 31
  • 32. these five points promotes a healthy and harmonious life. The programme is structured for two weeks for best benefits. However, if you have time constraints, you can opt to stay for a shorter period with a minimum of three days. The best benefits are received by giving up our preconceptions and submitting oneself wholeheartedly to the ashram lifestyle and its routine. Many who have benefited from the Yoga vacation opt for the teacher trainng programmes. Sivananda Ashram is one of the leading Yoga Schools in the world and its Teacher Training and Advanced Teacher Training Certificates have wide international recognition. The Ashram conducts four TTC courses a year which are attended by a large number of international students. The organisation has, through its worldwide network of Ashrams and centers, trained more than 29000 teachers over the last five decades. The TTC/ATTC courses are very demanding, and require full involvement of mind and body, sixteen to seventeen hours a day, for a month. It is this course that I have signed up for and it is a truly life transforming experience. I find that over the one 32 November 2013 month period my body, of course, becomes more flexible than it has ever been but more importantly my thinking changesnegativity loses its hold and a silent peace takes hold of my mind and heart. It is not just me.. here is a sample of reactions from graduates of the course:- from Austria “Yoga made me softer. It changed the way I experience and appreciate my body, how I treat myself and, of course, others” (iii) Says Suman Maheshwari The one month at Thiruvanthapuram is one of my most precious (i) Says Sri Devi from memories. Sivananda Canada:Ashram has maintained “Almost 6 months later yoga in its pure form back in the worldly life, without any dilution of its the benefits experienced essence…..the chantings while doing the TTC, are were heart melting….I am impacting every doing, definitely coming back for every thought, every more love, knowledge and day, no matter whether practice. As mentioned I am in the ashram, the earlier, the Ashram has a grocery store, or the centre at West Fort on the office… my body became Airport road. The current healthy enough to bear centre, inaugurated in discomfort, my mind February 2009, by the became calm enough to Maharaja of Travancore, allow me moments of offers daily Yoga courses genuine peace. And most morning and evening as important of all, my heart well as meditation courses. became big enough to carry you all and share the It caters to beginners and upwards all the way to love I have been blessed advanced students. The with.” And the following centre caters to the needs words addressed by Sri Devi to one of the teachers of those who want to learn yoga and practice :- “Despite our mood it on a daily basis in their swings, fatigue, lack of lives. The course ends with enthusiasm, you kept a grandiose graduation going on, every day, with ceremony. Armed with the same consistency, my teaching certificate, I the same self-confidence, reluctantly pull away from the same presence. the Ashram. It has taken You showed us what is roots as my second home detachment, and not and I promise myself that indifference. I will definitely be coming (ii) Says Anna Kantner home frequently. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 34. DINING How to Follow Table Manners Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression. They are visible signals of the state of our manners and therefore are essential to professional success. The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel comfortable and not uncomfortable. Table manners are the rules of etiquette used while eating, which may also include the appropriate use of utensils. Different cultures observe different rules for table manners .Many people feel out of place when dining simply because they don’t know how to follow table manners. Especially if they have been invited to a nice place. Admittedly, it is difficult to learn every point of etiquette at a glance .But here are a few general pointers. Remember, good manners never go out of style. 34 November 2013 • The key objective in learning table manners (etiquette) is to feel comfortable when dining with others and the host generally the leader at a dinner party or meal. If you are the host, don’t panic. Ensure you read up on etiquette before taking on the role of hosting and operate within the boundaries so that you are easy to follow. • Wait for host to invite you to the table, stand behind the chair as the other guests get assembled. When the host Ajith Kumar P sits, take your seat. You will get extra points for helping others such as the elderly, into their seats before you take yours. After you sit, pull your chair to the table, without dragging it over the floor with a horrible scrape. Take your napkin from the table immediately and place it neatly on your lap. • Emulate your host, Put your napkin in your lap when you see them doing it .Match their rate of eating. (After all, no one wants to have an empty plate when their METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 35. host is only half way done with the dish.)If you see them eating finger food with a fork, follow their lead – even if it seems unreasonable. • Use the appropriate cutlery. If there are many utensils in your place setting and there is more than one course, start on the outside and work your way in. • Consider every action before you do it and if you have the slightest doubt, don’t do it! you must consciously refrain from embarrassing yourself and your host. Take small bites; do not chew with your mouth open; do not talk with food in your mouth; and do not place elbows on the table. • When someone says, “please pass the (what they would like passed to them),” reach for it only if you are the closest one to it. Take the item and place it next to your neighbour. Continue passing the item in this manner until it reaches the person who asked for it .Refrain from helping yourself along the way, before the person who asked for it gets the chance. Wait politely until they have served themselves. Then ask for the bowl to be passed back to you. • Take one roll or one slice of bread only. If you have a bread plate to the left of your fork, put the bread on it. When the butter is passed to you, use the serving knife to take a pat. Place it on your bread plate then pass the butter dish along with the serving knife to the next person. Use your fingers to tear off a bite-size piece of bread. Butter ONLY that bite – sized piece. Then eat and repeat as desired. • Place your napkin next to your plate on the table when you wish to leave. Wait for your host to indicate the meal is complete. Then stand up. Push your chair back in and thank your host for a delicious meal. TIPS • Do not talk about distasteful things at the table. • Keep elbows close to your body when cutting and eating • Sit up straight. • Pick up your glass when drinking through a straw. • Do not tilt your chair back. •If you are chewing gum, dispose of it before you sit down to the meal. Often, there is no place to put it, and sticking it under the table is definitely not good manners. • Bring food up to your mouth, not your mouth down to your plate. • Do not talk with food or drink in your mouth. • Do not embarrass yourself or your host • Most importantly – eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die. And have fun! The author Mr Ajith Kumar is the Front Office Manager of Mascot Hotel Trivandrum November 2013 35
  • 36. METRO LIVING Paithrika Homes- Redefine fine living! ‘Redefine fine living’- is the axiom of a bunch of young bloods in the capital. With their custom made style and cozy living statements, Paithrika Homes and Estates Pvt Ltd, their venture, is all set to change the facade of the city. Home sweet home is where your heart is. Cherished in our bosom, carved out in the golden hues of our dreams it is the Taj Mahal for the Mumtaz of your life. A memento for your loved ones... Your search for happiness and prosperity ends here. An enriching experience to be felt, warmth to be experienced….its all this and more. …. Paithrika homes –the elixir that colors your desires is within your reach! Walk into their premises. And walkout…blessed What is a home and how 36 November 2013 it differs from a building of brick and mortar? It is something very close to your heart, a place where you can be yourself far from the maddening crowd, a place where you can unwind yourself after a day’s toil .Not all the houses that splurge on luxury can be rightly called a home. The indulgence may invite the awe of onlookers but not the coziness and comfort the owner long for .Here comes Paithrika homes-a perfect blend of poise and elegance! It is furnished with quality materials and maintained by expertise Ampili Nair extraordinaire. Set in the tranquil environs, these homes flaunt a refreshing sight! Materials of international standards, on time completion, customer satisfaction competitive rates…. the features of Pathrika homes continue... The features that turned a novice overnight into a favorite. No segment in real estate is without their imprint. Plot development for residential and commercial purposes, villa projects, commercial buildings, hotels, estate management Name it. And they have it. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 38. Spellbinding innovative designs but rooted in tradition, paying homage to vasthu- the science of architecture. No compromises on ultimate customer satisfaction, yet magnanimous enough to climb down on the price tag. The impeccable professionalism they hold and the ultimate commitment they show towards the clients make them a name to reckon with. Pranamam, the premier designer villa project at Chengottukonam has swept the clients off their feet. This eco-friendly villas; amidst the green pastures is a heaven on 38 November 2013 earth for the discerning. Its nearness to Technopark, Techno City, Kinfra Park, International airport, and Madavoorpara Ecotourism Project makes it all the more dearer. Serenity, another project from the paithrika group coming up in the serene locales of Aakulam is sure to be an awesome experience, says Abhilash the managing director of the firm. He is in high spirits over the grand success of its first venture. He says as they are very particular about handing over the apartment to the clients in the stipulated time, the customers are overwhelmed. Moreover the additional and hidden expenditure incurred due to the delay is avoidedAbhilash adds. He invites you with open arms to enjoy the opulence of life in style on moderate means. And he means business….A banquet of happiness is grab it! For more details Paithrika Homes & Estates TC 4/2122, Near BabyShop Kuravankonam, Trivandrum - 04 Phone: +91 9495954488 Phone: +91 9446554488 Email: sales@paithrika. com wwhttps://www.facebook. com/Paithrika METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 40. FEATURE ARTICLE Mannarasala - the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarasala as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods is associated with Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. The Raising of Kerala: Sree Parasurama decided to seek release from the sin of killing the Kshathrias. He approached the holy Rishis. They suggested that he should make a gift of a land of his own to the Brahmins. Parasurama, the son of Bhrigu, propitiated Varuna Deva (the Lord of the Seas) to get some land for himself. 40 September 2013 November 2013 He threw into the sea the axe which Paramasiva had given him with his blessings. Thus he raised the land from the sea and gave it as a gift to the Brahmins according to the rules. This land came to be known as Kerala. That piece of land was not habitable because of the salinity. Not even vegetables grew there. People began to leave the Geetha Rajendran place. Bharghavarama was pained at this. He undertook penance to please Lord Siva, who advised him that the objective could be realized only if the flaming poison of the serpents was spread everywhere and that the only means of doing that was the worship of Nagaraja. Parasurama, a Yogi, firm of will and above all desire, METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 42. decided that he would take no rest until he saw Kerala come up as a land of evergreen beauty full of trees and plants, prosperous in every way. He set out with his disciples in search of a deserted jungle in order to please Nagaraja who was inaccessible and beyond anybody’s understanding. He found a suitable place near the seashore in the southern part of Kerala. Satisfied with having found a proper place for the realization of his cherished dream, the great Rishi constructed a Thirthasthala for the performance of penance. Bharghavarama, a partial incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had to undertake very severe penance. Nagaraja makes his appearance Nagaraja, who was 42 November 2013 pleased, appeared before Parasurama, willing to grant him his desire. According to the poem by Mannarasala M.G.Narayanan Namboodiri, the Nagaraja made his appearance as if : “ The unspeakable splendor of millions of moons! The bright magnificence of emeralds stuck to the hoods. Golden jewels made attractive by miraculous embroidery! Lotus feet worshipped by crowds of Gods! Brilliant beauty of form, full of youthfulness!”. Parasurama prostrated at the lotus feet of Nagaraja and prayed to realize his objective. Nagaraja granted his request with great pleasure. Ferocious serpents arrived at the spot at once to spread the flaming Kalakuda poison. Because of the percolation of poison, the land of Kerala was desalinated, to become habitable with envious greenery. Parasurama then requested the Lord to bless the land forever with his eternal presence, and that was also accepted by the kindly-disposed Nagaraja. Installation At a very auspicious moment Bhargavarama, the supreme devotee, installed, according to Vedic rites, Nagaraja, who is Brahma, Vishnu and Siva in one in the ‘Thirthasthala’ (Hall of pilgrimage) filled with Mandara trees, the place now known as Mannarasala. (The installed deity here represents Anantha (Vishnuswaroopa) and Vasuki (Siva in spirit). The installations of METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M September 2013 42
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  • 44. Sarpayakshi, Nagayakshi and Nagachamundi, the Naga deities, as well as of their associates were conducted in the proper places with the proper rituals. Parasurama performed to the accompaniment of Vedic recitation and singing of Sama, Abhishekam, Alankaram, Neivedyasamarpanam, Neeranjanam, Sarpabali and other rites pleasing to the serpents and thereby made all the serpents happy. Parasurama brought learned people from other religions; installed Durga and other deities in different places; appointed Brahmins who were Thanthric experts for performing poojas; nominated Kshathrias, peasants and the Ashtavaidyas who were supreme among the physicians; thus he brought Kerala, filled with beautiful vegetation and 44 September2013 November 2013 to prosperity. After giving important instructions to be followed to preserve the sanctity of the place, Parasurama left to do tapas on Mahendra Mountains. Vasudeva & Sreedevi Many generations passed by. The family fell into the grief of childlessness. Vasudeva and Sreedevi were the sad couple who had to bear that heavy load of sorrow, who resolutely worshipped Nagaraja to allay their grief. It was about this time that unexpectedly fire broke out in the jungle around the dwelling place of Nagaraja and burnt down the jungle. The serpents were tortured by the flames, forcing them to hide in their pits with great difficulty. Vasudeva and Sreedevi looked after the serpents, who had their hoods charred, bodies half-burnt, and fainting from time to time, falling down and crawling along. They gently fanned them with fans made of sweet-scented grass and poured ghee mixed with honey and oil on the wounds; cooled their melted bodies with sandalwood ointment; and comforted them. They put them at the foot of banyan trees. They performed purification ceremonies and consecrated the pits; and were put up in special places under the shade of deodar trees and in Chitrakudas. The couple performed abhisheka with thirtha like Panchagavya (a holy mixture of five items from the cow’s milk, curd, butter, urine and dung); observed elaborate poojas according to rules with areca nut METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 46. flower bunches, fragrant flowers and water, incense etc., Nivedyam with melted butter (ghee), milk, payasam with molasses, rice powder, turmeric powder, coconut juice, Kadali fruit, cow’s milk, all mixed together in the proper form as Nurum Palum, equivalent to the elixir of life. They offered serpent deities with great devotion, appam, aval (beaten rice or rice wafers), tender coconut etc. They chanted vedic mantras, performed circumambulation and performed all kinds of poojas to restore those crowds of serpents to full health. The omnipresent and omnipotent Nagaraja was greatly pleased with their continuous penance and the love shown to his associates; Nagaraja made himself visible to the couple and blessed them that he would incarnate on the earth as their beloved son. He said “ I shall assume the form of a serpent and stay here (in Mannarasala) 46 November 2013 permanently, as long as the sun and the moon are there, showering prosperity on your family and granting protection to all the devotees who come here …”. Thus Mandarasala, the place filled with Mandara trees, the holy spot where the serpents got shelter, where the earth was fully cooled, became Mandarasala. The boon came true. The Brahmin lady became pregnant and gave birth to five-hooded serpent-child as well as a human child. The two brothers grew up together. Initiation ceremonies and Vedic education were carried out at the proper time in the traditional style. Nagaraja instructed the younger brother to enter into matrimony for the perpetual reservation of the holy family and he obeyed it. When the fivehooded Nagaraja realized that the objectives of his incarnation were realized, he informed the Holy Mother that henceforth he would live at this Illam by entering into Samadhi to bless the devotees. Then he suggested certain inviolable rituals and rules for offering worship and then went into the immaculate cellar and vanished. (It is believed that even today that five-hooded Nagaraja stays in the cellar doing Tapas for the abound prosperity of his dependents. The members of the household always refer to him with great respect and devotion as “Muthassan’ and “Appoppan” (Grand father). The jungle close by is the exclusive preserve for his unobstructed peregrinations (Appoppan Kavu Grandfathers’ Grove). Mannarasala celebrations The Ayilyam day in Tulam, Kanni and Kumbham months in the Malayalam calendar and the Mahasivarathri are celebrated here with great pomp. The Ayilyam in Kanni is METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 47. the birthday of Nagaraja and that in Kumbham is the birthday of Anantha, the Muthassan of Nilavara (cellar). Mannarasala Ayilyam The most celebrated festival at Mannarasala is the Ayilyam of Thulam. In the beginning, the Ayilyam of Thulam had no speciality or importance. It was a regular custom for the Maharaja of Travancore to visit this temple on Ayilyam day in Kanni. On one occasion, the Maharaja could not reach the temple as usual and had to postpone the visit to the Ayilyam day in Thulam. The royal palace met all the expenses for the celebrations of that Ayilyam.Several landed properties were given away to the temple free of land tax in order to make the festival more attractive, as an expression of repentance. Thus the Ayilyam of Thulam came to secure a royal splendor and official glamour without difficulty. The Ayilyam days of Kanni 47 November 2013 47 and Kumbham are still celebrated with befitting grandeur. • On Sivaratri day; Sar- Mannarasala Temple Timings Sivaratri: Nurum Palum in Valia Amma has a special pattern of pooja everyday, and she must perform pooja in the sanctum sanctorum itself on certain days like :• On the first day of every month, malayalam calendar • On the day of Pooyam star each month, malayalam calendar. pabali in the temple. • On the day after Nilavara and Appooppan Kavu. LocationIt is located near Haripad, 32 km south ofAlappuzha,14km from kayamkulam,115 km from Cochin International Airport and 125 km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Kerala. In this temple, the rites are presided over by a priest- • From the beginning of Magha to the eve of Sivaratri. ess. The temple covers an • Thiruvonam in the month of Chingam. two main idols are Nagara- • From the 1st to the `12th of Karkitakam. • Twelve days before Ayilyam in Kanni and Tulam. • On the Ayilyam day of every month: the special Nurum Palum in front of Nilavara at the Illam. area of 16 acres of dense green forest grove. The ja or the serpent king and his consort, Sarpayakshini. The most popular offering of this temple is ‘Uruli Kamazhthal’, the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity, which is believed to restore fertility to childless couples. Mannarasala METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M November 2013 47
  • 48. RECIPE Erissery (Cowpeas and yam cooked in a spicy coconut masala) A lovely combo of cowpeas and yam which taste amazing when combined with a spicy coconut masala. podi - 1 tsp For Tempering: Coconut Oil - 2 tblspn Mustard Seeds / kaduku - 1 tsp Urad dal / Ulundu - 1 tsp Curry leaves - 1 spring Ingredients: Cow peas / Vanpayar / ThattaPayir / Karamani / PerumPayir - 1 cup Elephant Yam / ChenaKilangu - 2 cup cubed Salt to taste For Grinding: Coconut - 1 cup Whole Pepper / Pepper Powder - 1 tsp Chilli Powder - 2 tsp Garlic - 3 cloves Turmeric powder / Manjal- Method: Soak Cow peas over night in lots of water. Drain the water and Pressure cook it with a some water for 3 whistle. Let it simmer for 5 mins. Switch off the flame and let the pressure go all by itself. Remove and set aside. till the yam is completely cooked. Add the cooked cowpeas in this and mix well. Now take the grinding ingredients in a mixer and make into a fine paste. Pour this over the cooked yam and cow peas and mix well. Let it simmer for 10 mins. Now make the seasoning. Heat oil and add mustard, urad dal and curry leaves in this. Let it sizzle and crack. November 2013 Pour this over the curry and mix well. I am Aarthi, I blog at Yummy Tummy. My passion towards cooking started just few years back. From that day onwards I started creating new recipes which was really appreciated by my friends and family. I wanted to save those recipes in a place where it never gets destroyed. Hence Yummy Tummy is born. It started as my little space where I store all my 48 Now take cubed yam in a kadai and cover it with water. Add salt to it.cover and cook for 15-20 mins recipes, but now it has a grown a lot more than I thought it would be. I update my blog on a regular basis with step by step pictures which helps my readers a lot and show the ease of cooking. Do drop at my space sometime, everyone is welcome. Serve with rice. My Blog : METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 50. METRO EVENT Dr Vasudevan bags the Non Resident Kerala Entrepreneur of the year award Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere is a premium 5 star resort located on the tranquil and unexplored backwaters of Vayalar in the Alleppey district of Kerala. The hotel offers 60 luxurious accommodations including tastefully appointed floating cottages and houseboats, complemented with elaborate on-site dining options, recreational and wellness facilities including a Spa. Dr Vasudevan MD of the Vasundhara Sarovar Resort has bagged the Non Resident Kerala Entrepreneur of the year award from D.C. Media and D.C. Books and many more accolades are in waiting if all his visionary dreams become true. Towering hills, plain lands, lagoons, backwaters and beautiful beaches, Kerala has everything to lure travelers across the globe to her bosom. Over the years it has become a favorite destination for backpackers round the world. Earlier, if it was beaches that caught their fancy, now it is backwaters that force them to pitch their tent here. Hitchhiking was the norm in olden days but now they come to Kerala with a well planned holiday package. Resorts of class have come up everywhere to accommodate these cherished clients. Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere on the Vayalar road is one of the finest resorts that 50 November 2013 have come up along the waters of Vayalar. Vayalar -the terrain that once witnessed revolutionary upheavals and Rama varma is now renowned for this premium resort. The cozy rooms, furnished with all modern conveniences, the resort has everything to pep you up. The corporate interests are catered by the wellequipped conference rooms .Kids and adults will find the well-framed Swimming Pool and Jaccuzi in the Spa amusing. Dr. P Vasudevan, MD of the Resort has always been associated with handicrafts industry. Here at Vasundhara Sarovar too, he plans to have involve- ment from the vil¬lagers of the area to bring the small town of Cherthala as a prominent destination on the map. Being the one with a humble beginning, he does not believe in competition. He wishes to see the small scale coir industry in the village flourishing. He has aimed for trips of the guests to the houses of the welcoming locals to show them how the coir ropes and footmats etc are made and give them a base level peek inside the life of Keralites. In addition local ladies are invited to spin cir yarn as well as weave coconut leaves to make them useful for roofing or making walls. This gives extra income to the local METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 51. ladies by way of tips from guests, especially foreign guests and knowledge to the guests how coir is made. In addition to all these, Dr P.Vasudevan, the Managing Director of the resort has immense plans to make Vayalar a tourist hub. He is planning to grow fish in every water body and vegetables in every bit of land organically, using manure produced with an organic waste converter, the only one in Kerala. With this OWC, he is planning to convert waste generated into organic manure in 15 days, without any stench. In addition promote entrepreneurship by providing ready made set ups like growing milking cows, chicken, fish, organic farming etc. He also wants to start making vermi compost using the water hyacinth, make baskets out of hyacinth A farm filled with cows ,chicken, turkey, emu and ornamental birds like parrots, pheasants, love birds etc is his dream. Each one to be handed over to a local, no wages or salary. The produce will be bought by the resort at market price. He believes in improving education, then only the Athithi Devo Bhava slogan of the tourism industry Mr P. Vasudevan with Mr. Prashanth Vasudevan son of Dr. P. Vasudevan. Prashanth is a director in Vasu Coco Resorts Pvt Ltd and Chief Executive Officer at India Merchandising Services the Delhi based buying house. work, the corruption, rape and terrorism get reduced. With this in mind, he got a two room building made and handed over to the local LP School, so that they can start pre-primary classes. A brand new nursery building in area double of the existing one, with proper toilet, water and electricity and some play equipments, along with area for farming - growing vegetables and fruits - is ready to be handed over to the Panchayat soon. A scolarship for one needy child, selected by the Head Master of the Upper Primary School in Bheemanad, where he studied is instituted, to meet all educational expenses till graduation. After the graduation the student is welcome to contact him or other functionaries in the resort for placement. Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, Vayalar recently awarded as the‘Best Upcoming Spa Resort in Kerala’ at a recent event in New Delhi. These are amongst world’s most authoritative travel awards that offer exceptional recognition to best service provider brands that contributed immensely in transforming the face of the global travel industry. Government of India has honoured him with a Life Time Achievement Award for his enormous contribution towards the growth of handicraft export. His international business relations and philanthropic activities rewarded him a Doctorate by Viswaprakash International University. The income tax department has recognized his integrity and honoured him with an “ Honest Tax Payer”/highest in his category award. November 2013 51
  • 52. METRO BYTE Indian Institute of Spa Research and Management (IISRM) Inaugurated Spa industry is the fastest growing segment in global hospitality and leisure business. The increase in annual disposable income and the increased level of health and beauty awareness envisions the potential for dynamic growth in the spa industry. Dominance of Yoga and Ayurveda therapies is seen in the Indian spa and wellness segment. industry being 20-30 per- Indian Institute of Spa Re- cent annually, the need for search and Management trained professional also (IISRM) is promoted and runs high. managed by Center for Natural Beauty Therapies Thai, Swedish and Turkish The number of medical form of spa and wellness professionals in various therapies are in nascent fields of medicine and in CNBT sources, collates stage. With India climbing the hospitality sector who and documents beauty on the global tourism list, are unemployed and un- traditions and traditional there is a growing demand deremployed is quite high. beauty therapies. It has a for wellness spa and body An additional qualification growing central repository treatment firms. Currently, in a fast growing industry of traditional knowledge the spa industry in India which complements their on beauty therapies and is highly fragmented. The education would increase systems of healing across projected growth of spa their income potential. the world. 52 November 2013 (CNBT). The organisation METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 53. IISRM caters to both the contact networks and get requirements of the indus- on-the-job training. try and of the job seekers. The institute provides a comprehensive range of international standard professional programs. At this educational organization, technical and practical aspects of different spa therapies, yoga and meditation, quality consciousness, skill techniques etc. are imparted. Adequate emphasis is also given on the managerial aspects like spa management, beauty & wellness marketing, financial management and budgeting, communication, stress management, beauty and wellness sociology etc. The experienced industry practitioners from across the globe and the IISRM has brought in a major initiative to the spa and wellness industry in India, i.e. of Academic-Industry partnership. This would be of utmost benefit to the spa and wellness industry. The spa firms would not be lacking professionals since the institute could provide them the required number of highly trained spa and wellness professionals. Another segment in the spa industry that would benefit is spa equipment’s manufacturing. National and international marketing and sales opportunity could be derived from the functioning of the institute. students from around the IISRM is ideally located world make the learning in the heart of Thiruvana- environment at IISRM nthapuram city and the multicultural and truly campus facilities are state- inspiring. Internships at of-the-art. The certifica- reputed spas would aid tion provided at IISRM is the students to develop of high value. It has joint certification program with REACH (Resource Enhancement Academy for Career Heights, Kerala State Women Development Corporation), Super Salon - the makers of one of the most widely licensed spa-salon software systems in the world, and Red Cross, Thiruvananthapuram. The institute assures 100% placement assistance on completion of courses. Students who complete courses at IISRM could also be ambassadors of traditional Indian, Ayurvedic knowledge and spa therapies. The spa management and therapy courses at IISRM are taught on a professional scale that would enable them to move in to various roles in the industry. The courses are exclusively for women. Indian Institute of Spa Research and Management is thus best placed to acquire a lot of citation across the spa and wellness industry. November 2013 53
  • 54. AUTO MART Ashok Leyland launches ‘STILE’ MPV The Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland today launched the STILE, a stylish Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) based on a contemporary, awardwinning vehicle platform. STILE will follow the highly successful DOST as the second product offering from Ashok Leyland’s fastgrowing Light Vehicle business and was developed by the Ashok Leyland– Nissan Motor Company Joint Venture. The Ashok Leyland STILE will roll out from Nissan’s manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai. In an economic environment where cost of fuel is of significant concern, the STILE MPV will offer the Indian customer bestin-class fuel e ciency of 20.07kmpl (as certified by ARAI) as well as global levels of performance and comfort. Speaking at the launch occasion, Dr. V Sumantran, Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland, said, “We are extremely delighted to launch the second product from the Ashok Leyland Nissan JV, which we believe, will change the dynamics of Indian MPVs. With STILE, our mission was clear – to deliver to the Indian customer, a contemporary MPV with lots of space, contemporary styling, comfort features and most of all, classleading fuel efficiency. With the STILE also in our portfolio, we are now better positioned to cater to a wider customer base and range of transportation needs.” Kallingal Bajaj ‘Compact’ Three-Wheeler Passenger Vehicles Launched Kallingal Bajaj, unveiled its new range of RE Compact three-wheeler diesel passenger vehicles in Thiruvananthapuram. RE Compact comes with advanced features such as higher fuel efficiency, lower maintenance cost, and better ergonomics. “We have around 85 per cent market share in the small-sized passenger three-wheeler category in petrol and diesel versions. 54 November 2013 The new range will help us defend our leadership position,’’ he said. Kallingal Shafeek said “ The new Bajaj RE compact range is very efficient, and offers lesser maintenance and more savings and comfort for our customers. Our mission is to keep enhancing the customer benefits and the user experience through continuous improvements and the new range promises to fulfill this mission”. NIMS Medi City Managing Director M S Faizal Khan,Kallingal Shafeek,Kallingal Shafeer, Jalal, Shaju attended the function. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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  • 56. METRO UPDATE Kerala to launch ‘She Taxi’ for women on the move Government’s Gender Park initiates service by women for women The Government of Kerala is getting ready to introduce a first-of-its-kind, safe, 24X7 taxi service owned and operated by women entrepreneurs for women travellers. ‘She Taxi’ is the first offcampus project initiated by The Gender Park which has been newly set up by the Department of Social Justice, Govt. of Kerala, to unify all activities in the state aimed at achieving gender equity. The pilot service will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram on November 19 with an initial fleet of five cars, expected to be scaled up to 100 in three months, with plans to extend the service to Kochi and Kozhikode in the next phase. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, is partnering the Gender Park as the official supplier of the customised pink and white ‘She Taxi’ cabs, which will be kitted up with the best available 56 November 2013 automobile technology including GPS, precision metering systems, personal and emergency alert systems, in-car entertainment and other luxuries. The carmaker will also help provide training to women drivers at the Maruti Driving School. The Gender Park will identify the beneficiaries and assist the women in securing low-interest loans from the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC). It will also arrange for health insurance and provide selfdefence training for the women drivers. The fleet operations and marketing will be handled by Technopark-based Rain Concert Technologies Ltd which is setting up a 24-hour call centre for the purpose. The taxis will have round-the-clock access to the control room and they will be monitored and assisted by the Police. “A safe and reliable mode of travel for women on the move is perhaps a longoverdue service. ‘She Taxi’ is going to be a milestone for the public sector,” said Kerala’s Minister for Social Justice Dr M K Muneer. “We know of womendriven taxis operated by private firms and NGOs, but this is the first initiated by a government platform and we will make sure this becomes a model for everyone to follow.”and what makes it even more special is the fact that these taxis will be owned by the women drivers, Dr Muneer said. “So the METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 57. ‘She Taxi’ is not just for security of women, it is a means of promoting entrepreneurship and selfemployment.” Shri PT M Sunish, the CEO of Gender Park, said they have developed a business model for the ‘She Taxi’ which projects a monthly income of at least Rs 20,000 for the women entrepreneurs. “We have factored in every possibility and still believe it will be possible to earn around Rs 20,000 a month for an estimated 8 hrs of operation everyday for 22 days a month. We are also thinking of maximising revenues for these women through adverts on the sides of the cars, in-car LCD systems for streaming ads and so on.” He said the Gender Park would like more women to come forward to take up the entrepreneurial opportunity. “With so many women travelling singly for business, professional and personal needs and the current concerns about their safety, we believe there is a huge market for womenoperated cab services,” Shri Sunish said. “It is also very empowering for a Manju Warrier is the good will ambassador of She Taxi woman to strike out into a business dominated by men. We see that in the extraordinary, selfconfident women drivers who have signed up to be part of our pilot service.” The She Taxis will initially carry only women passengers travelling by themselves, in groups or accompanying families. The Gender Park hopes that as attitudes change and the women-driven cabs find their social space, the service will be extended to everyone. November 2013 57
  • 58. Bhima Legacy Adds A New Dimension With Bhima Boutique If innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower, Bhima Jewellery is certainly the former. Adding a dimension to the glitz off 88 years of Bhima’s heritage is Bhima Boutique, an innovative concept in jewellery retailing. The word boutique pops up in a conversation every now and then but what makes them stand out is their true purpose. The idea of a boutique in jewellery is quite new, though the term ‘boutique’ is often used in fashion and accessory. What Boutique stands for is ‘unique’, as in a style or fashion. The new Bhima Boutique will offer you unique designs that are matchless in beauty and style. Here one can find luxury defined at its finest waiting to be handpicked. “At Bhima Boutique each piece of jewellery is as unique as you. There are no replicas. That is the uniqueness we bring out in our collections,” says the chairman, Dr. B. Govindan. Crafted flawlessly under the finest quality, the 58 November 2013 Boutique also comes in signature Bhima style. In the current scenario where everyone wants to choose something special for themselves, Bhima Boutique makes that possible with exceptional designs. “We give you the ambience you have always looked for. At Bhima Boutique, it’s just you and your jewellery,” adds Managing Director, Mr. Suhas Rao. “Here one can enjoy comfortable shopping experience along with personalized individual attention,” says Ms. Gayathri Suhas, Director, Bhima Jewellery.Founded by K. Bhima Bhattar in 1925, the Bhima brand has a legacy built on honest workmanship and ethical business practices that has inspired the abiding trust of generations of customers. Since inception, Bhima has focused on the principle of selling pure gold. With Bhima Boutique, the brand has once again proved has to be a pioneer and innovator in the jewellery retail sector and continues to be so. As ever, Bhima comes with its mark of distinction in being the benchmark of purity and style. Bhima Boutique was inaugurated by cine star Amala Paul on 10th November, at Bhima Jewellery, M.G. Road showroom. Chairman - Dr. B. Govindan, Jaya Govindan Managing Partner, Suhas Rao M.S - Managing Director Gayathri Suhas Director were present at the occasion. METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
  • 59. “Veendum, veendum I like dancing for the people of Thiruvananthapuram City.” Lakshmi Gopalaswamy Professional Dancer and Cine Artist shares with MetroMart on her experiences and views of Thiruvananthapuram Thiruvananthapuram for me is always a special city. It is very culture oriented. I have had many dance programmes in Thiruvananthapuram; very great audience from dance point of view. Because of the history of Thiruvananthapuram and its royal family connection, it is a very rich city. Being from Karnataka, when I go to some places in this city I see a lot of similarity between Thiruvananthapuram and Mysore. The architecture is different, but the atmosphere here is very much like Mysore. Thiruvananthapuram is also unique because of its being near to Tamilnadu and the interesting blend of Malayalam and Tamil culture. Most importantly, I have enormous faith in Sri Padmanabhaswamy. Every time I go to the temple, it is a great experience for me. It is one of the most beautiful temples that I have seen. So, my connect is actually with Sri Padmanabhaswamy. The dance audiences are very exposed and hence their expectations from dance programmes are high. They do not easily appreciate. It is always a challenge to dance for Thiruvananthapuram audiences. I hope they keep encouraging me like they have for all these years. I look forward to every opportunity to come to Thiruvananthapuram. November 2013 59
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  • 66. Greetings! Upbeat tourist season is again at the thresholds of Kovalam. The stakeholders in hospitality sector and others in the tourism industry are hopeful of witnessing an increase in number of domestic tourists along with an increase in international tourists this year. The commencement of chartered flights with tourists from all over the world heralds the Kovalam tourist season. The tourism sector and the Government is gearing up to ensure a congenial atmosphere this tourist season. In our current edition, Metro Mart aims to examine the existing conditions in the sector as well as highlight areas where significant improvement is needed. Our intention is also to bring in to focus tourist locations in Thiruvananthapuram beyond Kovalam. Many experts have shared their views with our readers on the current situation of the tourism sector in Thiruvananthapuram, on the areas in need of improvement, and on the future of tourism industry in Thiruvananthapuram. We would continue focusing on the same feature in the coming editions and valuable comments and suggestions from people in the hospitality industry, tourists, etc. would be presented to our readers. The seventh season of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) is all set for a transformation on a wide scale and create a new pattern, boosting the commerce and tourism sectors of the state in the future. Happy Shopping! Siji Nair 66 November 2013 METRO mart T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M
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