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kunzum
January 2015 Issue 14We travel. What do you do?
Travel Tech
& Books
7 PLACES
IN INDIATOWRITE
YOUR NEXT BOOK
HOW WOM...
Will 2015 mark a new
age of travel for Indians?
SUBSCRIBE to the Kunzum Magazine and access earlier issues at http://kunzu...
03 kunzum
CONTENTS
7 Places in India toWriteYour Next Book		 4
Israel
Yoga in the Desert 13
HowWomen Drop Everything toTra...
COVER STORY04
Every author works best in a setting of his or her choosing. Stephen King may prefer a windowless basement w...
05
1. LADAKH: ATTHETOP
OFTHEWORLD
You could find dozens of spots within Ladakh
itself – located at the highest points of t...
06 kunzum
2. ZIROVALLEY,
ARUNACHAL PRADESH:
MOSTLY UNTOUCHED
A four-hour mountainous drive from state capital
Itanagar tak...
07 kunzum
3. KEN RIVER, PANNA
NATIONAL PARK,
MADHYA PRADESH:
TRANQUIL ANDWILD
I have a soft corner for tranquil rivers – l...
08 kunzum
4. MOKOKCHUNG,
NAGALAND: LIVING IN
MISTY MOUNTAINS
The Ao tribe could not have picked a better setting
than Moko...
09 kunzum
5. LITTLE RANN OF
KUTCH, GUJARAT:
LOOK INTOTHE HORIZON
Driving through the endless saline desert of the Little
R...
10 kunzum
6. GOKARNA, KARNATAKA:
THE BEACH FORYOU
Land in Goa, but drive out a few hours southward
down the Arabian Sea co...
11 kunzum
7.WAYANAD, KERALA:
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
HASTHISTOO
Wayanad is the lesser (talked about) cousin of the
beaches and b...
YOGA IN THE
DESERT IN ISRAEL
AJAY JAIN
You are in the middle of a desert. Surrounded by cliffs and wind-swept rock
structu...
Hundreds of people came together from all over the world in this setting to perform yoga in early November 2014. Yes, that...
15 kunzum
Yoga on the rocks in Timna Park in Israel
16 kunzum
Yoga in Timna Park in Israel at twilight with the backdrop of Solomon’s Pillars
17 kunzum
Yogini Kaliji leading the practice at the Yoga Arava Festival in Israel
18 kunzum
Music and dinner at Timna Lake under a full moon
19 kunzum
Live music at the Yoga Arava festival in Israel
For more information on the festival, visit http://www.yogaarava...
The Holiday Experts. Every Destination. Every Airfare.
Our highly trained travel consultants have a genuine passion for tr...
Dropping
Everything
to Travel:
HowWomen
Do It
AJAY JAIN
Imagine a life of travel, where you drop
everything to be on the r...
You have seen other women heading out - for
months, or even longer than a year. What did it
take them to do it? Here is a ...
3. Letting go - but only for a while: Nikita Abhanave quit her job
to head to the Himalayas. Her first solo trip, she feel...
5. Don’t let the world stop you from seeing the world: People
around you will try to stop you, put fears in your heart and...

 About
Ajay Jain
Ajay Jain is a full time
writer and photographer,
and has authored eight
paperback books and over
30 ...
http://facebook.com/kunzum
@kunzum #wetravel
http://youtube.com/kunzum
http://pinterest.com/kunzum
http://vimeo.com/kunzum...
27
Hotel Review
OBEROI
RAJVILAS
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
AJAY JAIN
kunzum
The Oberoi Rajvilas has consistently been ranked...
28 kunzum
Housekeeping: Oberoi rarely gets this wrong across all their properties. And they do a fine job here too. The ma...
29 kunzum
Staff: You cannot fault Oberoi when it comes to their staff. They are all well turned out, courteous, cheerful a...
30 kunzum
Hotel Review
BAGHVAN
BY TAJ SAFARI
Pench National Park,
Madhya Pradesh, India
AJAY JAIN
Ok, it’s a little pricey...
31 kunzum
Food: Meals and snacks are almost like works of art here. Their chefs deserve full marks for the quality, taste ...
32 kunzum
Safaris: We all go to Pench National Park with jungle safaris as our primary agenda. Taj Safaris have a team of ...
www.primresorts.com
34 kunzum
23 kunzum
Take off on a heady travel experience that stands as one of the best you can find in India
The gorgeous apple orchards, en...
Travelling Writer?
Seven Reasons Why the
BLACKBERRY
PASSPORT
Could be the Phone for You
NIMISH DUBEY
It has taken a lot of...
It has the apps right out of the box
Yes, we know that there are some people who like nothing better than installing apps ...
TRAVEL TECH
43 kunzum
So you want to purchase a new iPhone, but do not
know which one to pick between the 6 Plus and the 6...
44 kunzum
TRAVEL TECH
The power situation
Goeth thee to a land or area (or water) where power be in short supply? Taketh t...
BOOK REVIEW
46
Memorable Moments of Travel
TheTraveller’s Daybook: ATour of theWorld in 366 Quotations
FergusFleming
480 p...
BOOK REVIEW
47
Personal Experiences, History, Entertainment – It’s All Here
Germania
SimonWinder
Pan Macmillan
Rs. 550
NIM...
48 kunzum
FIVE BOOKS ON
JERUSALEM YOU
MUST READ
NIMISH DUBEY
It is considered by many to be the
holiest city in the world ...
Book now on
www.zoomcar.com
Just follow these simple steps
Book Pay Drive Return
Rent a Self Drive Car
Rent by the hour, d...
Reading on the move?
Seven Reasons to Grab a
KINDLE
PAPERWHITE!
No, we are not getting into the paper vs digital book deba...
5. The reading is almost paper like. Yes, we know people who say that reading on a LCD can never match reading on paper. T...
T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110 016, India
+91.11.2651 3949, +91.9650 702 777
http://kunzum.com/travelcafe
mail...
About Kunzum
Since 2007, Kunzum has served as an important guide for travellers planning journeys in India and the subcont...
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015
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Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015

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The new year starts with a new look Kunzum Travel Magazine.

Travel with us to Israel for yoga in the desert. Visit seven places in India if you are seeking inspiration to write. Figure how women drop everything to travel. Check into two great hotels - the Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur and the Baghvan by Taj Safaris at Pench National Park.

And there are gadgets for travellers - the iPhone 6, Blackberry Passport, the new Kindle and more. With a few books thrown in for good measure.

We travel. What do you do?

Visit us at http://kunzum.com or contact us at wetravel@kunzum.com

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Kunzum Travel Magazine - January 2015

  1. 1. kunzum January 2015 Issue 14We travel. What do you do? Travel Tech & Books 7 PLACES IN INDIATOWRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK HOW WOMEN DROP EVERYTHING TO TRAVEL GREAT HOTELS OBEROI RAJVILAS BAGHVAN BY TAJ SAFARI M A G A Z I N E ISRAEL YOGA IN THE DESERT
  2. 2. Will 2015 mark a new age of travel for Indians? SUBSCRIBE to the Kunzum Magazine and access earlier issues at http://kunzum.com/mag Indians are travelling like never before. Within India, and beyond. Travel is the latest aspiration in town, no longer seen as an indulgence but a necessity. Fewer people are waiting for just those once or twice a year breaks; it’s pack-your-bags time at every long, and even short, weekend. What we are seeing may only be the tip of the iceberg. The market for travel amongst Indians could well be over 200 million by empirical demographic evi- dence; this includes the tight-budgeted backpacker to the super luxury seeker. Imagine the deluge if 200 millions actually started travelling – you would not find jostling space. You only had to be on the highways leading from and into Delhi during the long weekends of August 15 and October 2 in 2014 to get a curtain-raiser; the jams were worse than peak hour office traffic. And every room in the country seemed to have been sold out. Indians have seen some tough times in the recent past: political uncertainty, economic recession, and communal tensions. But that has not deterred them from travelling. Many a travel company, dependent for years on inbound tour- ists, have pivoted in recent times to cater to the domestic traveller – a steady market growing at an decent rate. The mood in the country is currently positive with the promises being made by the new Government – as long as these hopes don’t come crashing down, people will want reasons to celebrate. The foundation for mass travel has been built. The launch pad is ready. Will 2015 be the year when the market takes off? Will this be the tipping point? It could well be. We travel. What do you do? AJAY JAIN
  3. 3. 03 kunzum CONTENTS 7 Places in India toWriteYour Next Book 4 Israel Yoga in the Desert 13 HowWomen Drop Everything toTravel 21 Great Hotels Oberoi Rajvilas 27 Baghvan by Taj Safari 30 KunzumTravel List 34 TravelTech Blackberry Passport for Travel Writers 41 iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? 43 Books The Traveller’s Daybook: A Tour of the World in 366 Quotations 46 Germania 47 Five Books on Jerusalem You Must Read 48 Kindle Paperwhite for Reading on the Move 50
  4. 4. COVER STORY04 Every author works best in a setting of his or her choosing. Stephen King may prefer a windowless basement where he can transport himself to his own make-believe world – but many an author would rather be someplace more inspiring (and airy). So what makes for a good location to write your book? Beautiful viewscapes, with no madding dins to clutter the mind. Fresh air, comfortable habitat, clean surroundings, and avail- ability of essentials. All writers need to get life flowing through limbs gone sedentary after writing for hours – tracks where one can walk or jog are a must.While connectivity could be important, it often helps not to be able to plug into the Internet and emails for a while.You may want such a place as a permanent one, or only to go visiting when you seek a burst of creativity and a rush of blood to punch in the words in time available. Do such places exist? Of course they do – all over the planet.You just have to go out and seek. Here are seven in India for authors to churn that next bestseller out. Are you inviting us to the launch of your next book – written in India? Say hello to our young friends. 7 PLACES IN INDIA TO WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK AJAY JAIN
  5. 5. 05 1. LADAKH: ATTHETOP OFTHEWORLD You could find dozens of spots within Ladakh itself – located at the highest points of the Indian Himalayas. Sit along its beautiful lakes (Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri), lose yourself in the chants of monks in Buddhist monasteries, camp along the Indus river, bask in the glow of the setting sun or reflect under the rising full moon – the options are endless. Take your pick. Best to go in the summers. kunzum
  6. 6. 06 kunzum 2. ZIROVALLEY, ARUNACHAL PRADESH: MOSTLY UNTOUCHED A four-hour mountainous drive from state capital Itanagar takes you to Ziro valley, the most pictur- esque and culturally rich region of Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India. It is also home to the Apatani tribe, a society in transition where the traditional lives in harmony with the modern. With limited transport access, Ziro will retain its tranquility for a long time to come. Best to go between November and March.
  7. 7. 07 kunzum 3. KEN RIVER, PANNA NATIONAL PARK, MADHYA PRADESH: TRANQUIL ANDWILD I have a soft corner for tranquil rivers – like the Ken river cutting through Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh in central India. Full of exotic bird life in the winters, one can sit for hours along its banks or even go for a row boat ride. The landscapes will mesmerize you, the wildlife and birds will enchant you and the calm will captivate you. Best to go between Novem- ber and March.
  8. 8. 08 kunzum 4. MOKOKCHUNG, NAGALAND: LIVING IN MISTY MOUNTAINS The Ao tribe could not have picked a better setting than Mokokchung in Nagaland in north-eastern India to make their home and a cultural hub. Located about 4,347 feet (1,325 m) above sea level, it is truly the land of the misty mountains with its perfect climate; the maximum temperature hovers in the mid-20s degrees Celsius (70-80 F) for much of the year. Take your notes to the nearby villages of Longkhum, Mopungchuket and Ungma and feel the words flowing. Can visit all year round.
  9. 9. 09 kunzum 5. LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH, GUJARAT: LOOK INTOTHE HORIZON Driving through the endless saline desert of the Little Rann in the western Indian state of Gujarat allows you to look into the horizon – and adjust your vision for all that you do in life. For miles on end, you see flat- lands with mirages tempting you to take that plunge – literally and figuratively. And before you assume it is as lifeless as the Dead Sea, you will be surprised at its rich offering of bird and animal life. Best to go between November and March.
  10. 10. 10 kunzum 6. GOKARNA, KARNATAKA: THE BEACH FORYOU Land in Goa, but drive out a few hours southward down the Arabian Sea coastline till you reach Gokar- na in Karnataka. Virgin beaches, shack fun, great plac- es to stay and a mix of natural and spiritual energy - it is all here. Hike on the ghats, laze on the beaches, meditate, practice yoga, seek a dose of wellness, or go for day excursions to Yana and Jog Falls - Gokarna is for you. Weather is warm and a bit humid all year round – monsoons can be severe though
  11. 11. 11 kunzum 7.WAYANAD, KERALA: GOD’S OWN COUNTRY HASTHISTOO Wayanad is the lesser (talked about) cousin of the beaches and backwaters of Kerala, but the region merits its own place under God’s sun. Rolling hills, tea estates, wildlife parks, stunning landscapes, wa- ter bodies, festivals, culture - it all waits for you in Wayanad. You may not want to come back with just one book.
  12. 12. YOGA IN THE DESERT IN ISRAEL AJAY JAIN You are in the middle of a desert. Surrounded by cliffs and wind-swept rock structures. A cool autumn breeze is blowing at twilight. And the whole place looks surreal lit in parts with artificial lighting and the full moon above. 13 kunzum
  13. 13. Hundreds of people came together from all over the world in this setting to perform yoga in early November 2014. Yes, that’s right. In Israel. Marking the final act of a weekend long annual Yoga Arava festival. For three days, camps are set up across the hundreds of miles long Arava desert where yoga enthusiasts train under select teachers. Participants pick and choose which group they want to be a part of based on their respective interests. They can also book accommodation based on their budgets. All these groups practice collectively at Timna Park on the last evening. They start when the sun starts setting and end when the full moon has risen.The park isk- nown for its stunning landscapes and a fascinating history. Drive, cycle or walk around and see a naturally cut mushroom shaped rock, a spiral hill, and arches and formations where you can visualize for yourself what they look like. The park has the remains of the world’s oldest copper mines – going back 6,000 years. This is where people first learned to use copper or, for that matter, any metal leading to a technological revolution. Egyptians established significant mining interests here. The festival was held against the backdrop of Solomon’s Pillars; these sandstone pillars were named after King Solomon due to an earlier mistaken belief that copper mining activities in the area were a part of Solomon’s activities. Steps cut into these rocks allowed me to walk up and look down at what was truly a unique sight. If this does not inspire one to take up yoga, little else can. The party picked up tempo after this at the artificial Timna lake. A lavish spread made for a feast for the eyes and taste buds. With soulful middle-eastern music being played live, the experience was complete. And inspiring enough to want to come back the following year. 14 kunzum Yogini Kaliji demonstrating some yoga positions at the Yoga Arava Festival in Israel at twilight
  14. 14. 15 kunzum Yoga on the rocks in Timna Park in Israel
  15. 15. 16 kunzum Yoga in Timna Park in Israel at twilight with the backdrop of Solomon’s Pillars
  16. 16. 17 kunzum Yogini Kaliji leading the practice at the Yoga Arava Festival in Israel
  17. 17. 18 kunzum Music and dinner at Timna Lake under a full moon
  18. 18. 19 kunzum Live music at the Yoga Arava festival in Israel For more information on the festival, visit http://www.yogaarava.co.il/en
  19. 19. The Holiday Experts. Every Destination. Every Airfare. Our highly trained travel consultants have a genuine passion for travel and are dedicated to finding the best travel deal for any destination around the world. Flights Hotels Holiday packages Cruise holidays Visa services Travel insurance Foreign exchange Honeymoon packages Adventure & hiking tours Weekend getaways Group bookings Flight Shop travel consultants can assist you with... DELHI: M-8, M Block Market, GK-1 Great India Place Mall, Noida MGF Metropolitan Mall, Gurgaon Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden V3S Mall, Laxmi Nagar MUMBAI: Flora Fountain Kohinoor Bhavan, Prabhadevi Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla (W) R City Mall, Ghatkopar (W) PUNE: Koregaon Plaza Mall Phoenix Market City Mall, Viman Nagar 1800 200 6668 flightshop.co.in Shops open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
  20. 20. Dropping Everything to Travel: HowWomen Do It AJAY JAIN Imagine a life of travel, where you drop everything to be on the road leaving all your worries behind. Sounds like a plan? Or is something holding you back, much as you would like to have such a life? 21 kunzum
  21. 21. You have seen other women heading out - for months, or even longer than a year. What did it take them to do it? Here is a 7-point inspiration cheat sheet for you: 1. The economics of it all: This is what it starts and ends with - or at least that is what you believe. Poorva Gupta works a bit, saves some money and is off - to pay for the travels, and to support her after she is back till a new job comes her way. This cyclical uncertainty may stress some, but the travel makes it worth it. Smita Shrivastava wants lots of money before she heads out but then again, ‘lots’ is very subjective. Money can also sort out for itself on the road - you can volunteer and make money, write for some media, or pursue a career that is location-independent. Just be willing to find a way forward. 2. Motivation: If you are not motivated with a sense of ad- venture, you cannot get started. Travel blogger Puneetin- der Kaur Sidhu has it in her - throw in some money, plan a bit and you are set. For tips, read her travelogue ‘Adrift A Junket Junkie in Europe’ based on six months of bumming around the continent. 22 kunzum
  22. 22. 3. Letting go - but only for a while: Nikita Abhanave quit her job to head to the Himalayas. Her first solo trip, she feels nothing else can match her experience on that trip. She learnt to ‘let go’ for a while - but also realized travel cannot be about escapism, and one should know they have to come back. 4. Have faith in yourself, don’t allow self doubts to creep in: Gitanjali More believes nothing matters like faith - faith in your- self, faith in your ability to survive, and faith in the kindness of oth- ers - and of course, a big dose of what others would call CRAZY! Self doubts will creep in without doubt - but you will be reward- ed with something you can’t even imagine says Kashish Tandon. She should know; for almost 14 months she trekked and ventured around Ladakh, Spiti, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, and was even a part of the Raid De Himalaya - only to find herself a much happier person. Pamela Peng from Singapore is in love with travelling in India but she did it too: 14 months on the road, with little money, and a big appetite for adventure - it seemed all easy to her. You just have to decide if you want to take the plunge, and don’t look back once decided. She declined a good job offer, had amazing experiences - along the way she lost many of her things, her heart, and maybe her mind she says, but never regretted it. 23 kunzum
  23. 23. 5. Don’t let the world stop you from seeing the world: People around you will try to stop you, put fears in your heart and mind, and term it as just insane. But that is their view. Don’t let them impose it upon you. Many women have headed out - not letting others stop them no matter how genuine their concerns and love. 6. Travel today, not when you are 40, 50 or 60: “People come up to me and say that they will work till 40 or 50 before travelling the world. What’s the guarantee you will live till then, or make fresh excuses at that time?” says Kashish Tandon emphatically. It is about letting go just once she says. You never know what other challenges await in the future - including health, money, family etc. Just go when you can. Other things can wait. You need a strong sense of urgency and conviction. If you don’t have a big “why” constantly pushing you for- ward, you’re always going to use the “what” and the “how” as an ex- cuse for not following through. 7. Search for yourself within: “It takes that unquenched thirst to be more than you are, a search for completion and the acknowledge- ment of the fact that life is supposed to be more than what it is to be able to QUIT. Of course, it also takes a lot of mental and physical steel to travel for months or a year together - to leave your comfort zone and embrace the unknown,”says Aprajita Virmani. But the process of self-discovery can often be best completed through long term travel - when you see what the world is all about, and figuring your role in it. When are you kissing your family goodbye and heading out? 24 kunzum
  24. 24.   About Ajay Jain Ajay Jain is a full time writer and photographer, and has authored eight paperback books and over 30 e-books. He promotes30 e-books. He promotes his photography as collectible art, runs the popular Kunzum Travel Cafe in New Delhi and publishes e-magazines on travel and photography. He is also a regular speaker on Mindful Travel, Personal Branding, Photography and BusinessPersonal Branding, Photography and Business Networking. All his creative ideas came to the fore only after he started travelling - mindfully. He has pursued careers in Information Technology and Sports Management before he took up journalism and writing. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Business Management and Journalism.Management and Journalism.  More on Ajay Jain at http://ajayjain.com. Connect with him at ajay@ajayjain.com +91.9910044476. Or call his office at +91.9650702777.
  25. 25. http://facebook.com/kunzum @kunzum #wetravel http://youtube.com/kunzum http://pinterest.com/kunzum http://vimeo.com/kunzum http://slideshare.net/kunzum http://kunzum.com CONTACT US Kunzum Travel Café, T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110 016, India wetravel@kunzum.com | +91.99103 44476 | +91.9650 702 77
  26. 26. 27 Hotel Review OBEROI RAJVILAS Jaipur, Rajasthan, India AJAY JAIN kunzum The Oberoi Rajvilas has consistently been ranked amongst the best hotels in the world by various magazines and trade bodies. Does it deserve the accolades? I would think so. Jaipur is a very popular tourist destination in India, and leading hotel brands have set up shop here. No doubt they all jostle for business – but Rajvilas may well have decided it need not compete with the crowd and has established its own positioning. Lit- erally as well: it is located at one end of the city off the Agra highway where you would not see any of the other quality brands. A 32-acre property, the OberoiRajvilas has been designed in a way that feels soothing to the body, mind and soul. The land- scaping with its extensive lawns, trees, plants and walkways are a delight to stroll in – with the noise of the city not permeating through. You only hear peacocks and other birds who feel completely at home with guests and staff.
  27. 27. 28 kunzum Housekeeping: Oberoi rarely gets this wrong across all their properties. And they do a fine job here too. The maintenance of the rooms and the rest of the property is flawless to the naked eye – you will always get a sense of cleanliness here. Food: I would give the meals 7 or 8 out of 10. But then, that is the case with Oberoi properties across the board. Personally, I often find something lacking in their food even though it seems very well prepared and presented. Maybe they have a style of cooking that does not appeal to my tastes. Or the chefs try to cater to non-Indians who form a significant portion of business for the Oberoi group. It could well be that I was in Jaipur – a delightful place for those who love Rajasthani cuisine. No chef can please a customer whose benchmark are the local fare. The Rooms: They have different categories of rooms – Premier Rooms, Luxury Tents, Royal Tent, Luxury Villa with private pool and Kohinoor Villa with private pool. I stayed in the Premier room, and found it mostly to my taste.The beds were luxurious, and pretty alcoves with seating overlook the gardens. There is a spacious closet to keep all your belongings. The bathroom had a twin ‘his and her’washbasin – but the taps in one were not working, making it only one effectively. It also had a luxurious tub made of marble, and a separate shower cabin – all looking into a small green garden through a glass wall. I think the hotel could do with a change of taps and other fittings – not all were working smoothly.The Premier rooms are the entry level rooms – but still pricier than most other rooms in the city. What I would have liked is a small sit-out opening from the room itself. Being in a big property like the Rajvilas, one did feel a little cooped up in these rooms which were not very big anyway. In Room Entertainment: A television set and a DVD player is standard in all rooms. You can pick from a big collection of movies from the con- cierge. While the selection was good, the quality of the discs was not. They were all VCDs which were either worn out or not originals. The hotel could have invested in original DVDs instead.
  28. 28. 29 kunzum Staff: You cannot fault Oberoi when it comes to their staff. They are all well turned out, courteous, cheerful and prompt to cater to your needs and whims. Fitness and Health: They also have a good sized pool, a spa and gym. I used the gym and felt good – the ambience is conducive to a work out, and the machines are top rated. There were no trainers around to guide you though. The hotel has a mini golf, and two floodlit synthetic tennis courts – all in good shape. Stuff: The hotel has a nice gift shop and not very expensive – you may want to shop a bit here. VERDICT: The Oberoi Rajvilas may be pricey, but this is where you want to check into when in Jaipur. Actually, a great time to go is during the monsoons.You can get special off-season deals, and the place is beautiful in the rains. Next time you want to spoil yourself, you know where to be. CONTACT The OberoiRajvilas Jaipur 302 031 Rajasthan, India Tel: +91.141.268 0101 Lodge Website: http://www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_rajvilas Email: generalmanager.rajvilas@oberoihotels.com
  29. 29. 30 kunzum Hotel Review BAGHVAN BY TAJ SAFARI Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India AJAY JAIN Ok, it’s a little pricey. But then again, they can charge the price with some justification. Because a lot goes into setting up and running a place like the Baghvan by Taj Safaris in Pench National Park. It is owned by the Taj group of hotels. Baghvan is a jungle lodge you want to check in to but not check out of. Everything about the place is so right: the greenery, the birds and small animals playing hide and seek in it, the rooms, the décor, the service, the food, and the staff. It may be tough to fault Baghvan except on one small count mentioned later.
  30. 30. 31 kunzum Food: Meals and snacks are almost like works of art here. Their chefs deserve full marks for the quality, taste and creativity in their offerings. They put together delicious starters and snacks at their live counters – and that is just a curtain raiser for more to follow from the kitchen. Many a dish are those you would have at Baghvan only. You can have your meals in the big dining cum lounge area – or on the deck overlooking a stream. The Rooms: The rooms are quite an elaborate set up. Each are actually a standalone cottage. You step into a semi covered corridor with a small courtyard – this is where you can take an open-to-the-sky shower.Yes you can. One door leads into a cosy and luxurious bedroom, with a balcony overlooking a stream (which has water only after the rainy season). Another door leads into a walk-in closet and dresser with separate shower and WC chambers. The dresser has two ‘his and her’ washbasins. Between the dresser and the bedroom are a short flight of steps going up to a square sit-out covered from the top and open from the sides. With very comfortable low cushioned seating and tables. Overlooking the greens with birds who never stop chattering. It was raining when I was there and there were quite a few bugs around – not uncommon in tropical wet seasons. Hence I could not sit around leisurely in this sit-out or in the balcony – but that is what I will do the next time I check in at Baghvan. Housekeeping: We are talking Taj Hotels at its best. Known for some of the finest hotels in the country, they have spared no effort here. The linen and fittings are of the highest quality, and maintained like they should do. After all, Baghvan has been classified by Taj as a luxury brand within the group.
  31. 31. 32 kunzum Safaris: We all go to Pench National Park with jungle safaris as our primary agenda. Taj Safaris have a team of well informed and experienced nat- uralists to guide you. They take you into the parks in their own vehicles – these are refurbished SUVs made by Tata Motors (Taj Hotels is also a Tata company). These are bigger than the usual Maruti Gypsy vehicles used by others. The seating is very comfortable, and well stocked with snacks and drinking water. The part I don’t like so much: These vehicles seem a little too big and feel a little unwieldy in the narrow, winding tracks of the jungle. And photographers like me are usually sitting at the far end of the vehicle – it is not easy to communicate with the driver when you want to stop to take a picture, or ask for any information.But overall, one has a good experience in the safaris. Staff: Taj Hotels has been known for their staff and their service, and they are at their best at Baghvan. Very courteous, and always available to cater to your needs. CONTACT Baghvan by Taj Safaris Village Avarghani District Seoni Madhya Pradesh, India Tel: +91.7695.232829 / 232846 / 232847 Lodge Website: http://www.tajhotels.com/Luxury/Taj-Safaris/Bagh- van-Pench-National-Park/Overview.html Email: baghvan.pench@tajhotels.com / reservations@tajhotels.com Verdict: Pench National Park has built a sort of an unsavoury reputation with lodges catering to the party crowds from nearby Nagpur. Most lodges are more interested in attracting weekend and holiday crowds who are often loud with their drinking, music and dancing. The lodges and their guests do not seem to caremuchfortheenvironment–anditshowsintheshoddystateoftheselodg- es. Baghvan shines out amongst all these and is probably the place to stay in Pench if you can afford it. Having said that, Baghvan could be a lodge of choice anywhere in the world –they need no comparisons.
  32. 32. www.primresorts.com
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  35. 35. Take off on a heady travel experience that stands as one of the best you can find in India The gorgeous apple orchards, enchanting nature trails, beautiful mountain peaks and custom-made adventures make travelling to the Himalayas worth all the planning. Banjara Camps & Retreats, a long-standing pioneer in the tourism industry runs camper friendly properties in the higher Himalayas, and has recently been selected as one of the 22 greatest experiences from India in the book 501 Great Places to Stay, published by Bounty Books. The Himalayas are undeniably overwhelming. Home to the world’s highest peaks, for the last 20 years intrepid travellers, backpackers, families, hippies, honeymooners and adventurers alike have trekked across the length and breadth of this land. Adventure-junkies can go off-the-beaten path and test some of the more difficult hiking trails, while nature-lovers can tread along the easier ones. After the long climb come back to campsites that offer the best of comforts and stay at one of Banjara’s retreats in Sangla, Sojha or Thanedar. By day, experience the beautiful valley with mountain biking, trout fishing, jeep safari, rock climbing and abseiling expeditions. Spend nightfall by the warmth of a campfire under a starlit sky. Imagine coming face-to-face with the endangered Himalayan tahr as you trek through these rugged, wooded hills or angling for trout in glacial waters, camping by a pristine lake in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. Off-the-grid travels and undiscovered bounties of nature, Banjara Camps & Retreats guides you through it all, in the most incredible ways. For more information visit www.banjaracamps.com Heavenly Himalayas
  36. 36. Travelling Writer? Seven Reasons Why the BLACKBERRY PASSPORT Could be the Phone for You NIMISH DUBEY It has taken a lot of flak for its size and design, but if you are the type that likes to type on your travels, then the BlackBerry Passport could well be the phone that you are looking for. Here is our seven-pronged rationale. It is great for typing Right, we have all got more or less used to swiping and tapping on touchscreens but we must confess that they are not really in the same league as using a REAL keyboard. And the BlackBerry Passport deliv- ers that - a full QWERTY keyboard with three rows of keys for comfort- able typing. Want to sit down and write something and don’t have the time or patience to dig out your notebook or tablet? This is the device for it. It is great for reading Yes, you read that right (pun intended, hah!). While BlackBerry devic- es have been known for being great to type on, they have not really been considered great for reading. That ends with the Passport - the device comes with a 4.5-inch display with an amazing 1440 x 1440 resolution that lets you read close to sixty characters a line. Those who love reading - and most writers do - are SO going to love this. It works smoothly with your computer and tablet The introduction of BlackBerry Blend means that you can access infor- mation on your phone from your computer with minimum fuss. So all those notes you made and little lines you scribbled down? Download Blend (it’s free!) on to your PC and you have them on your comput- er in seconds without any problems at all. No messing around with cloud passwords or USB flash drives. And yes, you can also send and receive BBMs from your computer, before you ask! 41 Tech for Travellers kunzum
  37. 37. It has the apps right out of the box Yes, we know that there are some people who like nothing better than installing apps on a phone, but if you are the type (and many writers are like that!) that wants everything right on to your phone from the very start, then the Passport is a good option. Everything from a very good mail client, to a superb browser to a messaging ser- vice (the iconic BBM) to an office suite (with MS Office support) are right there out of the box. And setting it up is easy too. It has great battery life Authors are forgetful creatures and recharging phones is anyway pretty low on the priority list of those who obsessed with composing immaculate prose. The Passport is very good in that department - it will easily last a day and a half of heavy use and if you are not exactly bombing it, will even see you through to a third day of use. That’s rare to see in these a-charge-a-day times. It is super powerful! All said and done, the Passport is as good a phone as any out there. It has a superb quad core Qualcomm Snap- dragon processor, 3G RAM, 32 GB storage (expandable to 128 GB), a surprisingly good 13.0-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation and all the connectivity options you can think of. And I guess the days when we used to complain about BlackBerry devices not having enough apps are history - the Passport comes with support for a number of Android applications and with the Amazon App Store preinstalled. And its reception remains in a league of its own - there is absolutely no chance of your missing a call from your publisher if there’s even a smidgeon of a network around. It’s tough It’s big. It’s bulky. But its blend of metal and plastic also means that the BlackBerry Passport is one of the tougher devices we have seen out there in this era of fragile phones. No, we are not saying that it will survive steep falls and swim through waterfalls unaffected, but from what we have seen so far, it has a far better chance of surviv- ing rough treatment than most devices we have seen. So that’s it - it has the keyboard, the display, the apps, the battery life, the specs, the build and the apps. Yes, at Rs 49,999, it does not come cheap and we do not expect the iOS and Android crowd to fall in love with its inter- face and design - but if ah, all you seek is a device that will let you read and write with a degree of ease on your travels, you know the Passport is definitely worth a look. It will stretch your wallet. It will stretch your hands. But if won’t half work! 42 Tech for Travellers kunzum
  38. 38. TRAVEL TECH 43 kunzum So you want to purchase a new iPhone, but do not know which one to pick between the 6 Plus and the 6? Well, let us try and sort that out for you. How many hands, sir/madam? Let’s be honest, in sheer design terms, the 6 is better than the 6 Plus, simply because it fits more easily into your pocket and into your hand. The 6 Plus does have a gorgeous display and better hardware but it was also born to stretch your hands and unless you are the Hulk incarnate, handling it with one hand is not going to be easy. So yes, if one-handed use is essential (and it is for those who make and receive calls while hanging on to buses, trains and other assorted material), the 6 Plus is out. You want a phone...or a computer? If you are going to be depending totally on the iPhone for all your computing tasks on your trips, then well, the 6 Plus, bulky though it is, fits the bill better. That bigger, full HD display is going to be more handy for most tasks be it from making journal entries to writing your travel diary to even tweaking im- ages and videos, and of course, more routine tasks like watching films, play- ing games and keeping in touch with all those Facebook posts. If you have an iPad and/or computer handy, you can go with the iPhone 6, but if the bulk of computing muscle has to come from one device the iPhone 6 Plus it will have to be. A matter of saying cheese! Are you going to be depending heavily on the iPhone for photography? If no, then the 6 it is. If yes, then the 6 Plus. Why? Although both devices come with similar 8.0-megapixel cameras with (jargon alert) Focus Pixels, the iPhone 6 Plus camera has the added advantage of optical image stabilization which, in simple English, means more stable videos and better night shots. And as we said in the previous point, that bigger display also means editing images will be easier. That said, the iPhone 6 does have a very good camera too. It is just a tiny notch below that of the 6 Plus. iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? Answering the Traveller’s Quandary NIMISH DUBEY
  39. 39. 44 kunzum TRAVEL TECH The power situation Goeth thee to a land or area (or water) where power be in short supply? Taketh thee the iPhone 6 Plus then. For, yea, mark our words, this is the only iPhone out there that will last you well beyond a day of hefty usage on a single charge. The 6 on the other hand is great if you have a lot of charging options handy. Alternatively, you could also invest in one of those‘power cases’for the iPhone 6 but that will add to the cost of the device and bulk it up - in which case you might as well buy the 6 Plus, right? Reading and travel matters If you are the types that reads a lot on their phone and uses Google Maps for actual navigation rather than entertainment (see where they have put the Niagra falls!), the 6 Plus is a winner again. We cannot stress how important that bigger screen is for reading and viewing purposes. Yes, the iPhone 6 has a retina display too but hold the two next to each and the difference becomes painfully obvious. So there you are: our attempt to clarify whether the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus works better for you. Honestly, we would recommend the 6 only in terms of ease of use and design - it can be used with a single hand, albeit a slightly stretched. Else, if your hands and wallet can bear it, the iPhone 6 Plus is the superior.
  40. 40. BOOK REVIEW 46 Memorable Moments of Travel TheTraveller’s Daybook: ATour of theWorld in 366 Quotations FergusFleming 480 pages Rs. 899 NIMISH DUBEY There is no shortage of travel anthologies for those who like to travel or just read about travel. So what makes Fergus Fleming’s collection worth talking about? Well, the approach really. Rather than go by region or period, Fleming has opted to cobble together a collection of travel writings by date. The result is a book with 366 - yes, that many - pieces of writing on travel, one for each day of the year. And it works brilliantly if you are the type that wants to just pick up a book, read it for a while and put it down. For there are some real gems here - Mark Twain’s account of Tangier, Ibn Batuta’s initial impression of India, Shelley’s description of the Mont Blanc, Ian Fleming’s description of a cruise and so much more. As I said, there is no strict classification, so you really do not know what is coming next. These are famous moments from the life of famous people on their travels - some harrowing, some humorous, and some even faintly ironical: imagine Mallory looking at Everest and concluding that at its feet was “a gentler spirit”. He would ironically perish trying to reach the top. More conventional book readers will, however, have a problem with this approach. For one, as the book is classified by date and not too many know who was travelling on which date. So you really do not know what is coming next - a write up by Alan Clarke on the fear of flying in 1987 might be followed by Charls Sturt’s description of Australia in 1845. Some might like the abrupt changes of pace and place. Some might be put off by it. Also, the write ups often differ in length, ranging from a couple of paragraphs to two to three pages. Again, not really an obstacle for some, but very off-putting for others. And for some reason, there is no proper contents page, so you really have absolutely no way of knowing what the next write-up will be about, or cannot go to a subject of your choice, unless you skip to the index at the end. All of which makes The Traveller’s Daybook a rather interesting if odd read. Yes, there a number of gems here (Evelyn Waugh makes dusk in a jungle appear magical in a single paragraph), but you need to search for them, and the lack of organisation can be very off-putting. But yes, if you are the type that likes to be surprised at every page, just pick up this book. There will be surprises aplenty. And most of them will be pleasant. Traveller’s Quotient Ironically, a bit limited.The book is available only in hardcover at the moment (no, there’s no Kindle or e-book edition yet for the Indian market) and is definitely on the bulky side. Entertainment value for the constant traveller is also a bit on the low side, although the ability to dip in anywhere, read a bit and carry on is a definite plus. We would, however, recommend this more for the armchair traveller than real ones. kunzum
  41. 41. BOOK REVIEW 47 Personal Experiences, History, Entertainment – It’s All Here Germania SimonWinder Pan Macmillan Rs. 550 NIMISH DUBEY There are travel books that focus on a person’s experiences in a place.There are travel books that focus on the history of a place.There are travel books that entertain. And there are those extremely - regrettably - rare travel books that manage to do all three. So you can imagine how happy we are to see Simon Winder bring those three elements together in Germania which, as you can guess, is about Germany. Yes, we know that there are some who would bridle at this being called a‘travel book.’There are no discussions of routes and hotels and great pack- age deals and shady travel agents. And yet, there is so much of Winder’s own experience in the nation here that one cannot help but call it that. Yes, it is more history than travel, but it is told from a supremely personal angle. For instance, Winder writes about the Walhalla, built by Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, not just for its importance, but from his personal perspective. And praise be, it is a perspective that is high on humour and low on reverence. About the Walhalla, he remarks:“Once inside, having registered the mildly interesting view and noted with approval the underfloor heating system... all jokes are off.” And it is touch of humour and the utter absence of“oh my God, I am dwarfed by this awesomeness”that makes Germania a riveting read. No, we are not saying that Winder is disrespectful of the country that he writes about; it is just that he is grounded enough to know what is impressive and what is not, and would rather cock a snook than kowtow in amazement -“Franz Stephan had been Duke of Lorraine, but in a complex international swap of a kind that raises severe doubts about how interesting history really is, he found himself as Grand Duke of Tuscany instead, after the death of the almost unbelievably disgusting and incompetent Last of the Medicis.” The result is an almost 450 page book that is rich in characters, places, history and humour. So rich that we lapped it up in less than three days. Not because we were particularly interested in Germany but because the narration was so good and we just wanted a reason to smile. The book covers ground from ancient Germany to Hitler’s era, and our only main regret was that it did not have more pictures - perhaps an illustrated edition might not be a bad option. Mind you, with prose as good as this, pictures become a...luxury. A must read, even if you are not particularly interested in Germany. We were not when we started. kunzum
  42. 42. 48 kunzum FIVE BOOKS ON JERUSALEM YOU MUST READ NIMISH DUBEY It is considered by many to be the holiest city in the world and has been at the centre of years of battle and wars. So it is hardly surprising that Jerusalem has also inspired some very good writing, the best of which can be found in the five books : Jerusalem: One City,Three Faiths by Karen Armstrong For many people, THE book to read on the city. Karen Armstrong is one of the world’s leading authorities on religions and the result is that one gets a very objective look at the history of this amazing city and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that it has borne. Yes, it can get a bit dry at times, but in terms of authoritative information about the history of the place, this is perhaps the best book of them all. Jerusalem:The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore If you find Karen Armstrong a bit too heavy and academic for your liking (and there are some who do think she is that) but still want a detailed history of the great city, then this book by Si- mon Sebag Montefiore is your best bet. Yes, he covers a lot of the ground that Armstrong does, but with a lighter hand, and with much more trivia. You might not end up with as keen an idea of the history of the place, but hey, you will end up knowing a lot of fun facts about it. Which is not a bad thing, really. Jerusalem in theTwentieth Century by Martin Gilbert For those wanting a closer look at modern Jerusalem, Gilbert’s work is perhaps the best. No, it is not really up to date - it stops just at around 1998 - but his effort to narrate the story of the city using old documents, diaries and letters gives one of the most humane and objective views of the city as it entered an era of conflict. The division of the city, the six day war, the Palestinian intifada...it is all here. And narrated brilliantly. One of the best books on the political situation in Jerusalem today. O Jerusalem! By Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre In terms of time, this book does not cover much - just the period following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, but in terms of sheer dramatic narrative, it is easily the best of the lot we have mentioned here. Characters like David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir come to life in these pages as the authors try to reconstruct conversations. This is history writing at its dramatic best. There will be other books that will tell you more about the city, but none will move you as deep- ly as this one will. Jerusalem by Guy de Lisle Some might call it sacrilege, but this is perhaps our favourite book on the city. It is basically a graphic novel that narrates the life of a cartoonist and the challenges he faces when he arrives in Jerusalem. There is some history but the book is mostly about daily life in this holiest of cities. Some might hanker for higher quality drawings, but speaking for ourselves, no book gave us an insight into the life of the city, blending humour and information, as this one did. BOOK REVIEW
  43. 43. Book now on www.zoomcar.com Just follow these simple steps Book Pay Drive Return Rent a Self Drive Car Rent by the hour, day, or week We are now in GURGAON! Zoom off from 10+ locations Per hour 99 99 Our tariffsOur tariffs
  44. 44. Reading on the move? Seven Reasons to Grab a KINDLE PAPERWHITE! No, we are not getting into the paper vs digital book debate, but given our experience with both formats, we do think that taking an e-book reader on one’s travels makes more sense that a pile of books. And no e-book reader is better than Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. So if you are a bookworm who likes to get around (and a lot of them do), we really think you should take a Kindle Paperwhite on your expeditions. Consider the following: 1. It is as easy to carry around (actually easier than, we think) as most paperbacks. So no packing space compromised. Hooray. 2. It can pack in more books than you can carry. Want to carry around a thousand titles in a slim package that weighs about as much as a paperback? The Kindle lets you do that. No leaving your books be hind. 3. The battery life is awesome. We get a month of reading on our Kindle Paperwhite (and we really use it) before the battery even starts troubling us. 4. It is not just a book reader, it is a book store. With a Kindle, you can access Amazon’s massive e-book store with thousands of titles anywhere you wish, as long as there is an Internet connection around. Gadgets 50 NIMISH DUBEY kunzum
  45. 45. 5. The reading is almost paper like. Yes, we know people who say that reading on a LCD can never match reading on paper. The Kindle’s e-ink displays are much better than LCD displays in that department, showing fonts sharply and trying to recapture a paper-like experience. It is not like paper, but it is very close. And comfortable to read. 6. It glows in the dark. Cannot go to sleep and want to read without switching on the lights? The Kindle Paperwhite comes with a front-lit display that lets you read in the dark without waking up everyone. And no, it does not guzzle as much battery as you fear. 7. It can sub as a tablet. All right, the Paperwhite is designed for reading books, but when push comes to shove, you can use its browser to catch up with the Web. Just remember to be patient and remember that videos and colours are not supported. Gadgets 51 kunzum
  46. 46. T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110 016, India +91.11.2651 3949, +91.9650 702 777 http://kunzum.com/travelcafe mail@kunzum.com OpenTuesday-Sunday,11:00a.m.-7:30p.m.MondaysClosed
  47. 47. About Kunzum Since 2007, Kunzum has served as an important guide for travellers planning journeys in India and the subcontinent - and some international destinations too. Introductions first… Kunzum is a high altitude pass in the Lahaul Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh in India. And the inspiration behind the brand that is all about memorable travel experiences. Our journey started in 2007 as a travel blog by writer and photographer, Ajay Jain. And we have crossed many milestones - literally and figuratively - since then. Kunzum.com An independent, objective and one of the most trusted online travel information websites in India. A unique style of writing, peppered with anecdotes and illustrated with high quality photographs and videos, have won the site a fan following of tens of thousands of travellers. More at http://kunzum.com. KunzumTV A first of its kind, KunzumTV is an online travel channel with short, engaging videos from our travels.Tune in at http://youtube.com/kunzum. Publishing We publish engaging and quality travel books and guides in both traditional formats as well as e-books (for the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, other mobile readers and all computers). More at http://kunzum.com/books. Curator of collectible photographic art Available for your walls at home, office or resort and also as stock imagery for publishing and promotional materials. All printed on archival paper to last generations.The prints are on display at the KunzumTravel Café. KunzumTravel Café Another unique offering from Kunzum - a bricks and mortar place for the travel-minded to come together as a community, a sort of Face-to-Facebook network. Located in Hauz KhasVillage in New Delhi, guests can hang around, read travel books, use freeWi-Fi, participate in events, exchange stories, enjoy music, buy photographic art, post travelogues and make travel plans.They can even order tea, coffee and cookies - and pay what they like. More at http://kunzum.com/travelcafe. Connect with Kunzum Email: wetravel@kunzum.com Mobile: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.99103 44476 Facebook: http://facebook.com/kunzum Twitter: http://twitter.com/kunzum Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kunzum kunzum

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