HolidayIQ Awards

Sharing photos of an event I have wanted to do for a long time. Last month, HolidayIQ gave away the first truly Indian tourism awards. The best of Indian tourism chosen by millions of Indian travellers on the basis of their Ratings & Reviews on HolidayIQ. Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh was the Guest of Honour of the event held at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi & the awards were given away by some of India’s top travellers – people who have contributed the most number of reviews on HolidayIQ.



Benaras Hindu University

Spent a day with students at the wonderful campus of Benaras Hindu University yesterday – including eating the ultimate masala patty at one of the canteens & walking around a small part of the enormous 14km, green, wooded campus. Would certainly have loved to be a student here sometime in my life, what with so many extraordinary departments (the dept of fine arts being particularly interesting). In fact, BHU should be as much a tourism location as any other in Varanasi. I am convinced that the dream of people like Madan Mohan Malviya to create major centres of higher education excellence can indeed be achieved in India if we set our mind to clear priorities. Maybe this is a step in that direction.

Beyond the ‘scientific method’

Very interesting TED talk by a modern physicist, with the speculation that Physics might have reached its end and that we will not be able to understand Nature any more than we do now. To a non-science person, there is an obvious omission in that ┬ástatement which should actually read ‘we will not be able to understand Nature any more than we do now, through the scientifc method’. And in that small, semantic difference lies the reason to explore Hinduism’s extraordinary canvas of knowledge; it is most likely to be the best pointer of future alternatives to the ‘scientific method’
Have we reached the end of physics?

‘Foreign junkets’ by Indian politicians

Very little gets India’s media – and indeed our middle class – as vexed as the notion of ‘junkets’ abroad by our politicos. Television anchors froth at the mouth & op-ed pages take on moralistic tones every time this kind of thing is discovered in any part of India.

I think this is all totally misplaced. I do agree that many of these trips are simply ‘opportunities’ to go abroad and are, in many instances, not at all for the purposes they claim to be for. But the lesson to be learnt from this reality, should be the exact opposite of what we seem to be learning.

The point to ask ourselves is why does everybody want to run abroad at the drop of a hat. Obviously because of our deeply ingrained view that most places outside are better than our own country. If, for a moment we accept that assumption to be true, the case to ensure our politicians go abroad, see the reality for themselves, and come back with a even a vague desire to improve conditions in India, is very strong. Nothing can so fire up ambition to bring change as the exposure of travel. And so I say let them go; in fact I would say, actively encourage them (especially the younger ones at the grassroots levels) to go, without necessarily having to get devious about it. Even if most of the money is ‘a waste’, and just a handful come back with the desire to create change, India would have gained immensely.


On a recent flight back from Delhi, there was a small mix up in getting my web checkin done on time, which led me to be seated in one of the rear rows of the plane. And to my surprise, found a different and interesting world there.

The rear of Indigo flights seem to have people who dont do web checkin. They have kids, large family groups, old couples, first time air travellers and all those people who dont seem to have a blase air of the ‘been-there-done-that’ traveller. I actually found it really refreshing, especially the slightly awestruck wonder that air travel can induce before you get jaded by too much of it.

Took me back in time to my very first flight. I was a gawky youngster on a long hopping old Indian Airlines flight going from one of India’s southernmost small towns to the bright lights of Delhi – the family was moving there and I was a jumble of excitement and trepidation. And I still remember the sense of wonder of that flight.

Although I do remember sitting on one of the forward seats for that journey, I can fully understand what the rest of my fellow passengers felt sitting at the rear of the Indigo flight last week. It was that exact same mix of excitement and trepidation that mark all true wonder.

I love the world of travel!

Leveraging events in tourism marketing

Incredible India should start to look beyond old & tired events like Pushkar Festival & the Alleppey Boat race towards the new-age events of a new-age India.


The world does this well..using contemporary local events to showcase tourism. Watch this great culinary plug from Tourism Australia using The Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

Here are some of the more interesting recent events that Incredible India ought to be using in all their promotions:

GoMAD festival in Ooty

Run the Rann in Kutch

World Sufi Spirit Festival in Jodhpur

Escape Festival in Naukuchiatal