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India’s nomination of Dholavira, the Harappan City in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. India submitted the nomination dossier for Dholavira: A Harappan City to the World Heritage Centre in January 2020. The site was on the UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014. Dholavira: a Harappan city, is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Absolutely delighted by this news. Dholavira was an important urban centre and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology.”
G Kishan Reddy tweeted, “It gives immense pride to share with my fellow Indians that Dholavira is now the 40th treasure in India to be given @UNESCO World Heritage tag. Another feather in India’s cap as we now enter the Super-40 club for World Heritage Site inscriptions.”
With this successful nomination, India has 40 world heritage properties overall, which includes 32 cultural, 7 natural and one mixed property. The Union Minister for Culture was referring to the countries that have 40 or more World Heritage sites and apart from India, this now contains Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France. The Minister also observed in his tweet how India has added 10 new world Heritage sites since 2014, and this is testimony to the Prime Minister’s steadfast commitment in promoting Indian culture, heritage and the Indian way of life.
About the Harappan city of Dholavira
Dholavira: a Harappan city, is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE. Being the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far, and occupied for over 1,500 years, Dholavira not only witnesses the entire trajectory of the rise and fall of this early civilization of humankind, but also demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system. With extremely rich artefacts, the well preserved urban settlement of Dholavira depicts a vivid picture of a regional centre with its distinct characteristics that also contributes significantly to the existing knowledge of Harappan Civilization as a whole.
The property comprises two parts: a walled city and a cemetery to the west of the city. The walled city consists of a fortified Castle with attached fortified Bailey and Ceremonial Ground, and a fortified Middle Town and a Lower Town. A series of reservoirs are found to the east and south of the Citadel. The great majority of the burials in the Cemetery are memorial in nature.
The configuration of the city of Dholavira, during its heyday, is an outstanding example of planned city with planned and segregated urban residential areas based on possibly differential occupational activities, and a stratified society. Technological advancements in water harnessing systems, water drainage systems as well architecturally and technologically developed features are reflected in the design, execution, and effective harnessing of local materials. Unlike other Harappan antecedent towns normally located near to rivers and perennial sources of water, the location of Dholavira in the island of Khadir was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others) and to facilitate internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.
Dholavira is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement pertaining to the Harappan Civilization (early, mature and late Harappan phases) and bears evidence of a multi-cultural and stratified society during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE. The earliest evidence can be traced back to 3000 BCE during the early Harappan phase of the Harappan Civilization. This city flourished for nearly 1,500 years, representing a long continuous habitation. The excavated remains clearly indicate the origin of the settlement, its growth, zenith and the subsequent decline in the form of continuous changes in the configuration of the city, architectural elements and various other attributes.
Dholavira is an outstanding example of Harappan urban planning, with its preconceived city planning, multi-layered fortifications, sophisticated water reservoirs and drainage system, and the extensive use of stone as a building material. These characteristics reflect the unique position Dholavira held in the entire gamut of Harappan Civilization.
The expansive water management system designed to store every drop of water available shows the ingenuity of the people to survive against the rapid geo-climatic transformations. Water diverted from seasonal streams, scanty precipitation and available ground was sourced, stored, in large stone-cut reservoirs which are extant along the eastern and southern fortification. To further access water, few rock-cut wells, which date as one of the oldest examples, are evident in different parts of the city, the most impressive one being located in the citadel. Such elaborate water conservation methods of Dholavira is unique and measures as one of the most efficient systems of the ancient world.
Union Tourism Minister announced that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conferred the World Heritage inscription to Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, near Warangal in the state of Telangana.
“Just inscribed as World Heritage Site: KakatiyaRudeshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telengana in India. Bravo! “UNESCO announced in a tweet yesterday.
“It gives me immense pleasure to share that @UNESCO has conferred the World Heritage inscription to Ramappa Temple at Palampet, Warangal, Telangana,” tweeted Reddy.
Reddy observed that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting of the World Heritage Committee(WHC) of UNESCO could not be conducted in 2020 and the nominations for 2020 and those for 2021 were discussed in a series of online meetings that are currently underway. The discussion on Ramappa Temple took place on Sunday, the 25th July 2021.
He stated that there were 21 Members in the World Heritage Committee with China currently as the Chair of the Committeeand creditedthe the success to the goodwill that PM Narendra Modi has built with UNESCO member countries during his tenure.
The Rudreswara temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by RecharlaRudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva.The presiding deity here is RamalingeswaraSwamy. It is also knownas the Ramappa temple, after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
The temple complexes of Kakatiyas have a distinct style, technology and decoration exhibiting the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor. The Ramappa Temple is a manifestation of this andoften stands as a testimonial to the Kakatiyan creative genius. The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiyan sculptors.
The sculptural art and decoration specific to the time and Kakatiyan Empire have an outstanding universal value. The distinct style of Kakatiyas for the gateways to temple complexes, unique only to this region confirm the highly evolved proportions of aesthetics in temple and town gateways in South India.
European merchants and travelers were mesmerized by the beauty of the temple and one such traveler had remarked that the temple was the "brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan".
Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Bengaluru will organise a virtual seminar on Civil Aviation Security on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav on July 28 & 29, 2021 at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.
BCAS is a regulatory authority to stipulate standards and measures in respect of security of civil aviation in India.
The two-day seminar will be virtually inaugurated on July 28, 2021 by Jaideep Prasad, Joint Director General -BCAS, in the presence of special guests Hari Marar, MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited, SK Mohanka, CASO, DIG-CISF and Rajiv Kumar Rai, Regional Director, BCAS, Bengaluru.
Stakeholders from the aviation ecosystem would participate in the seminar that will see discussions on issues related to security as well as ways to address latest and emerging threats on civil aviation.
The seminar is in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) theme for the year 'Year of Security Culture'. To make this event a success, BIAL and other stakeholders from the aviation ecosystem, have extended all support.
Skyscanner has launched its new beta travel planner, Road Trips. In partnership with Inspirock, the personalised itinerary platform combines Skyscanner’s booking services with the latter’s personalisation engine for sightseeing and activities.
Travellers can plan the perfect road trip, including optimal routes, hotels and accommodations and car hire options, and an itinerary of fun and enjoyment.
With searches for domestic travel now making up 43 per cent of global searches on Skyscanner, the travel marketplace identified an opportunity to expand on its popular flight booking services and meet growing traveller demands for trip inspiration and travel options within their own countries.
Skyscanner wanted to deliver an end-to-end road trip planner with tailored recommendations for everything from where to stay to what to see, do, enjoy, and experience.
The company turned to Inspirock to leverage its powerful algorithms and unparalleled reach in over 80,000 destinations worldwide, which enable personalised itineraries for travellers based on their unique interests, desired destination and trip duration, time of year, and other key factors.
Paul Cumins, Head, car hire, Skyscanner, said, “As travel starts to return, people are yearning to explore new places and favourite destinations once again. While we are already seeing air travel pick up more momentum, many travellers are opting for driving holidays, reviving the adventurous spirit of the road trip and discovering (or rediscovering) places closer to home.”
Road Trips is currently live as a beta and available on the Skyscanner platform in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Ireland.
Anoop Goyal, Chief Executive, Inspirock, said, “We’re proud to deliver technology to help Skyscanner strategically expand its offerings, and meet the real needs and demands of today’s savvy travellers. Skyscanner has always helped travellers easily find the best prices and trip options to suit their travel needs, and now together, we’ve created the ultimate tool for personalised road trips. Travellers today seek more than just the logistics of where to stay and the best route to get from A to B and B to C — they want to make the most of their precious holiday time by maximising their enjoyment of activities and experiences along the way, and that are tailored to them.”
India is home to some of the most majestic works of architecture (think Taj Mahal), and with charming, quaint hillsides and exotic beaches, it’s no wonder Indian travellers are rejoicing in hybrid work. Amadeus, the world’s leading travel technology company has released its latest Travel Trends, detailing four key trends that are shaping up travel.
Indian travellers are embracing the workcation, one of the key trends that offers city dwellers a chance for remote working whilst holidaying. The report identifies two key findings:
This year Indian travellers are searching for their destination just one day before departure
These travellers are searching for long-term stays with a duration of 14 to 30 days and sometimes more
Both of these in contrast to 2019, where travelers were searching much more in advance of their trip and were averaging a total of eight days total for their trip.
Mani Ganeshan, Head of R&D, Asia Pacific, Amadeus, said, “In 2021, we can see that Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are still the most searched destinations in India, the same as 2019. This suggests that Indian travellers are looking to explore closer to home, albeit cautiously as the pandemic is still widespread. However, in 2021, the travellers’ duration of stay is lengthening which tells us the desire to travel never falters, and that travellers are creatively making the most out of their travel and taking advantage of the new hybrid working model we are seeing unfold.”
Amadeus also explores three other emerging Travel Trends around the world:
Bubble Travel - With uncertainty ongoing, the growth of bubble travel has significant implications for health passports. A recent Amadeus study reveals that 93% of Indian travellers are willing to adopt digital health passports to help facilitate travel reopening, which is key in rebuilding traveler confidence. Across Asia, countries like Australia and New Zealand formed a bubble travel agreement with similar initiatives slated for Singapore and Hong Kong. With vaccination rollouts, these steps could potentially help provide a much-needed boost towards helping travel recover.
Conscious Travel - When it comes to being more environmentally and socially conscious, Amadeus data shows that one third of millennials would like to see more availability of sustainable travel options and ways to reduce their carbon emissions when traveling. It was a similar story across all ages and global markets, with one in four sharing this commitment to travel sustainably.
Indulgent Travel – A renewed thirst for travel is seeing consumers book more indulgent trips. Within Asia, Hong Kong travellers are starting their searches two weeks earlier than they did in 2019 to make the absolute most of their journey while China has launched Viking Cruises, a luxury cruise ship from the port of Qianhai, Shenzhen.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has officially commemorated its cruise comeback with a double debut: Norwegian Jade was not only the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests after 500 days, she also made NCL history as the first vessel to homeport in Athens (Piraeus).
Until November 2021, guests sailing aboard Norwegian Jade’s immersive Greek Isles itinerary will wake up in a new destination every day, able to spend eight-to-nine hours exploring some of Greece’s most picturesque islands including luxurious Crete, Mykonos, historical Rhodes and the iconic blue and white Santorini.
Harry Sommer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian Cruise Line, said, “Welcoming our guests and crew on board has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career. We are excited to embark on the Great Cruise Comeback with a brand-new itinerary and homeport for our brand, offering our guests an even greater selection of unique vacations at sea.”
Ben Angell, Vice President and Managing Director, APAC, Norwegian Cruise Line, said, “Our long-awaited global return to cruising marks an incredibly significant moment for our brand, but also brings us one step closer to our restart in the Asia Pacific region. When Norwegian Sun arrives in the region for the very first time in 2022, guests will have the chance to experience NCL’s Freestyle cruising right from their doorstep.”
Harry Theoharis, Greek Minister of Tourism, added, “We are overjoyed to welcome Norwegian Jade and her guests to Greece. The planned itineraries will offer unique experiences that combine our rich history, bustling culture and famous gastronomy.”
Norwegian Jade’s deployment in Athens is part of a long-term strategy to further increase NCL’s presence in Europe, one of the line’s most popular cruise destinations. Through 2023, the Company plans to position nine ships in the region, with Norwegian Dawn, Epic, Escape, Getaway, Gem, Jade and Star scheduled to sail in Greece.
Sommer, said, “Norwegian Jade’s first Greek Isles voyages sold out shortly after we made the announcement that we were on our way back. With such strong demand, we are glad to expand our offering in Greece with seven ships through 2023, providing our guests with a range of innovative vessels and itineraries to choose from.”
Norwegian Jade is the first ship to recommence voyages as part NCL’s larger restart efforts. On August 7, 2021, Norwegian Encore will be the first ship to return to service from the U.S., when she debuts in Seattle for her inaugural season of Alaska cruises. The fleetwide redeployment will continue in partnership with local governments and are guided by the robust protocols of the Company’s Sail Safe health and safety program, which at its cornerstone includes that all crew and guests must be fully vaccinated to embark for voyages through October 31, 2021. Working with the leading experts of the Sail Safe Global Health and Wellness Council, the robust protocols will regularly be evaluated and modified as needed, making science-based decisions to protect guests, crew and the destinations it visits.
Understanding that water transport being economical as well as eco-friendly mode of transport, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways under Sagamala programme has undertaken Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax projects across several routes.
The Ministry has identified a total of 71 projects of which 7 are completed and 14 are under implementation. Moreover, 50 projects are under development.
Based on the outcome of techno economic feasibility and Detailed Projects Reports (DPRs) prepared for National Waterways (NWs), 23 NWs have been found to be viable for cargo and passenger movement and 2 NWs have been found to be viable for tourism purpose. Development of these NWs and integrating them with the coastal routes will enhance the economic development of the country.
This information was given by Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shantanu Thakur in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) branded the European Commission’s (EC) decision to set the winter slot use threshold at 50% as “out of touch with reality,” and argued that the EC had ignored the advice and evidence presented by EU member states and the airline industry, which had made the case for a much lower threshold.
The EC’s announcement means that, from November to April, airlines operating at slot-regulated airports must use at least half of every single series of slots they hold. There is no alleviation to hand back slots at the start of the season allowing airlines to match their schedule to realistic demand or enable other carriers to operate. Additionally, the rule on ‘force majeure’, by which the slot rule is suspended if exceptional circumstances related to the COVID pandemic are in effect, has been switched off for intra-EU operations.
The result of these changes will be to restrict the ability of airlines to operate with the agility needed to respond to unpredictable and rapidly changing demand, leading to environmentally wasteful and unnecessary flights. It will also further weaken the financial stability of the industry and hinder the recovery of the global air transport network.
“Once again the Commission has shown they are out of touch with reality. The airline industry is still facing the worst crisis in its history. The Commission had an open goal to use the slots regulation to promote a sustainable recovery for airlines, but they missed. Instead, they have shown contempt for the industry, and for the many member states that repeatedly urged a more flexible solution, by stubbornly pursuing a policy that is contrary to all the evidence presented to them,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
The Commission’s argument is that the intra-EU traffic recovery this summer justified a 50% use threshold with no alleviation. This flies in the face of significant evidence of the uncertain outlook for traffic demand this winter, provided by key EU member states as well as IATA and its members. For example:
The extent of intra-EU recovery is at best only a partial indicator of the extent of recovery at slot-constrained airports, where the key slots are needed for global traffic connections which have not yet recovered. IATA estimates that international travel will only reach 34% of 2019 levels by end of 2021 (see chart 1 below).
“There is a rich irony that only a week after the Commission released its ‘Fit for 55’ carbon emissions plan, it publishes a slots regulation that may force airlines to fly regardless of whether sufficient demand for that route exists. Transport Commissioner Valean said ‘We need to act with ambition for our planet, but without punishing our citizens or businesses.’ Clearly, this decision on slots fails to meet these conditions,” said Walsh.
Accor has signed a hotel management agreement with S Hotels and Resorts Public Company Limited and Wai Eco World Developer Pte. Ltd. (WEWD) to introduce SO/ Hotels & Resorts to this idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago.
Nestled on its own exclusive island overlooking the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon, SO/ Maldives will showcase a selection of 80 luxury villas, all adorned with designer interiors and an audacious twist.
Scheduled to open in 2023, the new resort will take centre stage on the third island of CROSSROADS Maldives, the extraordinary integrated leisure destination in the exotic South Malé Atoll, connecting it to a wealth of world-class attractions and facilities.
SO/ Hotels & Resorts are only found in socially vibrant destinations such as Berlin, Bangkok, St Petersburg and Singapore. It is designed for savvy travellers who have a passion for fashion and like to keep their finger on the pulse.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce the arrival of SO/ Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives. SO/ Maldives will be a place to see and be seen for bold and stylish socialisers and we look forward to working with S Hotels & Resorts and WEWD to bring this project to life,” commented Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer - Accor Southeast Asia, Japan & South Korea.
“We are so excited to unveil SO/ Maldives as the latest jewel in CROSSROADS Maldives’ crown, as we continue to transform the tourism landscape in this highly-desirable destination. With its signature sense of style and commitment to creating unique guest journeys, SO/ is the ideal fit for our third island. It will stand out from the crowd, complement our two other industry-leading brands and complete our collection of luxury and lifestyle resorts, further raising the bar for hospitality in the Maldives,” said Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer, S Hotels & Resorts.
“The Maldives is a truly special place and we are delighted to enter the market with such a prestigious project. S Hotels & Resorts has a proven track record of developing exceptional lifestyle resorts, including CROSSROADS Maldives, and the edgy style of SO/ always strikes a chord with its trend-setting guests. With such strong partners, we are confident of creating a one-of-a-kind resort experience at SO/ Maldives,” added Zaw Win Maung, Managing Director, WEWD.
Leisure Hotels Group (LHG), an experiential hospitality chain with 26 properties across 4 states in India has hailed the decision to open Corbett Tiger Reserve for round-the-year tourism. The hotel chain is preparing to host guests this monsoon season as it foresees an influx of visitors.
Highlighting the popularity of Corbett also as a wildlife weekend destination, Vibhas Prasad, Director, Leisure Hotels Group said “Corbett is well connected to several big North Indian cities, which enables convenient travelling by road. Less than 5-hours’ drive from Delhi NCR, Corbett is a perfect weekend getaway for family, friends & couples, away from the hustle bustle of the city. We anticipate a peak season this monsoon at our resorts in Corbett. We are stepping up efforts at our properties in Corbett to cater to the surging demand by adhering to the adequate safety and social distancing protocols in place. This push towards a round-the-year tourism in Corbett will also support local communities whose livelihoods depend on it.”
Uttarakhand’s Forest and Environment Minister Harak Singh Rawat recently announced that Corbett and Rajaji tiger reserves will now remain open for visitors throughout the year. Five ranges of the reserve including Garjia, Bijrani, Dhara-Jhirna, Dhela, and Pakhron will now remain open for day visits round the year.
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