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Ingenious tech innovations paving the way for safer travel

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The novel Coronavirus has knocked the wind out of the tourism and hospitality industry. But the sector is resilient and has already come up with inventive technology-led ways to reopen business and cater to grounded travellers.

Observing an increase in queries for places to go on vacation, Google is providing COVID19-specific updates for various destinations,from the start of this week. It will also show trendlines for hotel and flight availabilityand local updates, such as the number of virus infeced cases in that region.

Smartvel, a Spanish travel tech company has harnessed its AI solutions to recently develop a COVID-19 Travel Advisor widget that pulls up travel requirements and policies for any destination where the user is planning to travel.

To restore confidence to the travel industry, the World Economic Forum (WEF) will soon be rolling out CovidPass, an app that that acts as a health passport, using blockchain technology to store users’ blood test details.

COVID-19 has accelerated tech adoption for hotels, airlines, OTAs, and destinations. New protocols likecontactless check-ins and temperature checks, andcontact tracing apps may soon become a part of not just our travel experience but daily lives.

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5 of India’s most popular palace hotels that exude luxury

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Image Credit: By Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces – Taj images, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia

India is a fascinating country with its terrain and heritage as rich as its history. There are significant landmarks and sites from the Indian coastline to the magnificent peaks that one can explore here in this beautiful country.

One can look at the beauty of the lush green forests, pristine lakes, mountain ranges, and mighty rivers in an awe-inspiring India. But what makes India a fascinating tourist destination is its architecture, history, and India’s rich treasure of cultural heritage. 

India’s rich royal history is still alive and admired in the form of magnificent royal palaces created by the erstwhile Nizams, Kings, Maharajas who once lived here. It reflects the expensive lifestyles of royal families who have conserved this part of their heritage well. Many of them have turned their palaces into heritage inns for tourists.

Here is a list of India’s most splendid royal palaces that provide an unprecedented glimpse into the glorious era and the royal life’s cultural and social aspects.

  • Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

This beautiful castle was built in 1929 on Chittar Hill overlooking the blue city of Jodhpur by the British draftsman Henry Lanchester for Maharaja Umaid Singh. With the help of 3000 laborers, it took 15 years to complete its 365 rooms palace. Classic revival, Western Art Deco, and Indo-Saracenic architectural styles feature this grand edifice’s stunning interior and exterior.

The Museum located there is composed of a classic art-décor interior, has classic cars used by Maharajas, and has an exclusive collection of elaborate clocks, memorabilia, and photographs.

Umaid Bhawan Palace is built on 26 acres of land, and is amongst the sixth-largest private residences globally. Around 64 rooms of this magnificent Palace were converted into a heritage hotel managed by Taj Hotels. This beautiful castle is proof of the Indian royal heritage.

  • Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior

Jai Vilas Palace is located in Gwalior, an ancient and the fourth major city in Madhya Pradesh of India. This Palace was built in 1874 under the supervision of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia. The Palace was priced for INR 1 crore at that time, but today its cost is more than INR 4000 crores.

This deluxe European architecture is a three-storied palace, an exclusive Tuscan, Italian, and Corinthian Palace. The 400-room Jai Vilas palace has Persian rugs, Italian marble flooring, and all other decorated items from Italy, France, and China.

This beautiful castle was constructed by Jayaji Rao Maharaj when he invited England’s ruler, King Edward VII, to visit his native city Gwalior. He planned to throw his reception party in Jai Vilas Palace.

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He hired Sir Michel Philos, the French architect, to build a 400-room majestic Palace. In the future, it became the residence of the descendants of the Scindia Dynasty. The Vilas palace was made open to the commoners later in the year 1964.

  • City Palace, Jaipur

City Palace, located in the Pink City Jaipur, is one of the India’s most royal palaces. This treasured castle, built-in 1732, belongs to the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Maharaja of Jaipur, who governed the empire for around 45 years.

Maharaja Man Singh II was the last Maharaja who ruled this Palace after getting ruled by several successors. Although the Kingdom of Jaipur merged with the Indian Union in 1949, the majestic Palace remained the regal family’s domicile.

This Palace is a beautiful combination of Mughal, Rajput, and European architectural styles that mark various pavilions, temples, and gardens. Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-E-Khas, Diwan-e-Aam, Maharani’s Palace, City Palace Museum, Shri Govind Dev temple, and Chandra Mahal are the few remarkable structures inside the City Palace.

One of the unique features of this Palace is its rare and designed peacock gateways. The Palace is among the top 3 staycation picks, where the tourists can book the rooms with a swipe on Airbnb.

  • Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

The Lake Palace, a floating paradise nestled amid the scenic Lake Pichola, was built between 1743-1746. Initially, it was a winter castle of the royal Mewar dynasty, but now Taj Group manages this luxurious white-marble hotel.

Presently, this 5-star property is home to 83 rooms and grand suites, which were all beautifully decorated with royalty that may take you back in time to Rajasthan’s majestic roots.

This Palace is known to be one of the world’s most romantic and royal hotels and spending a night here gives a glimpse of royal taste. Here a Rajasthani-style crafted boat ride through Lake Pichola is a must-do activity that takes you through all the areas of palaces dotting the complex.

  • Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Falaknuma Palace, owned by the Nizam of the princely state of Hyderabad, was built in 1894. This Palace has now been transformed into the new Falaknuma ultra-luxe hotel in 2010, which the Taj Hotels are managing.

It welcomes its guests to experience the splendor beauty of the Hyderabad Nizams. Located on the top of a 2000 feet hill, one can enjoy looking at the City of Pearls.

Palace built across 32 acres of land is fully furnished with its eclectic interiors, featuring marble staircases, Venetian chandeliers, exquisite period furnishings, and roman pillars with lovely Japanese Mughal and Rajasthani gardens.

9 famous places to visit in Coorg , Karnataka

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Coorg, the most opulent hill station of Kodagu district, is popularly known as the Scotland of India. The reason which made Coorg one of the best luxurious holiday destinations in Karnataka is the presence of many beautiful places which one can visit, almost all around the year.

In fact, among all the hill stations present in the country, Coorg is the first choice of tourists from all over the country and abroad because of its unparalleled natural beauty and pleasant climate.

Apart from offering spectacular scenery, Coorg also lets its visitors enjoy the enriching experience of staying at Coorg Resorts in-between nature. Cottages in Coorg provide an enthralling experience of the place and its local life.

Moreover, Coorg is not only about visiting an awe-inspiring holiday destination, but it also offers plenty of fun activities like trekking, camping, bike adventures, river rafting, and much more.

Here is a list of few different tourist spots that one must visit, while in Coorg.

  • Nagarhole National Park

The Nagarhole National Park is among the renowned wildlife sanctuaries in our country with its wide range of flora and fauna. Apart from several animal species present there, it is also home to 270 recorded species of birds.

It is among those national parks of India that one can visit at any time of the year because of the lovely weather of Coorg. Many budget-friendly luxurious homestays in Coorg make it tremendously favorable and truly dreamy to stay in the lively forest area and visit the park conveniently.

  • Abbey Falls

Abbey or Abbi in Coorg is the mesmerizing waterfall located between the scores of coffee plantations. Due to the existence of much more fascinating sightseeing around, there is a tremendous increase in the number of tourists visiting the Abbey Falls over the years. Coorg’s pleasant temperature and cool breeze make the trip to this attractive place even more pleasurable.

  • Whitewater Rafting

White River Rafting in Barapole River is a must to do activity in Coorg. The river surrounding the lovely landscapes and its white-water rapids makes the river rafting experience more thrilling and exciting. The river also offers a scenic view of the exotic Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, as a boon.

  • Namdroling Monastery

Namdroling Monastery is one of the extraordinary unmatched experiences among the Coorg Tourist Places. Namdroling is also known as the Golden Temple because of the detailed gold paintings adorning the monastery walls.

In this Tibetan monastery, one can find a wide array of collections of a canvas depicting certain phases of Buddha’s life, demons, gods, and culture. This beautiful monastery is quite famous for its stunning architecture that reflects the beauty and significance of this art form.

  • Raja’s Seat
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Raja’s Seat used to be the popular leisure place for the Kings of Kodagu, where they love to spend time with their queens.

It is always flocked with large numbers of tourists, either visiting from distant parts of the country or Bengaluru because of its beautiful mountain ranges, seasonal garden flowers, and artificial musical fountains. Here, you can also enjoy beautiful sunrise and sunsets, while a toy train safari will keep your kids busy.

  • Tadiandamol Peak

Tadiandamol is a trekker’s paradise which is the second-highest peak in Karnataka and the highest in the Coorg region. The Tadiandamol Peak sited at an elevation of 1748m above sea level makes it the best spot for nature photography.

The presence of grassy terrain and gentle slopes lures the visitors with its scenic charm. The Tadiandamol trekking trail is the popular adventurous activity in Kodagu.

  • Chettalli

The coffee plantations surround the Chettalli square, which attracts tourists with its sweet aroma. Chettalli Waterfall is the favorite tourist spot there as one has to cross two streams and walk a few miles through the coffee plantations and rich Shola Forests to reach the Falls. Chettalli is home to a unique Indian Institute of Horticultural Research. The Todikana temple here is a point of reference, from where one can start the walk towards the fall and the hike.

  • Talacauvery

Talacauvery or Talakaveri, a holy place for Hindus, is among the admired tourist spots in Coorg. It has high religious importance and thus attracts devotees in large numbers.

River Kaveri is known to be the source for Talakaveri, as it is among one of the seven sacred rivers of Sapta Sindhus. It is believed that the river originates from a small spring called a Brahma Kundike and Tirtha Kundike. Often pilgrims visit a temple here that is located at 1276 m above sea level.

  • Somwarpet

Somwarpet, a panchayat town, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Coorg District. There are many tourist spots present in this region which keep the visitors engaged in various activities.

A village called, Doddamalthe is situated at a distance of 6 km from Somwarpet, where a beautiful lake Honnamana Kere is present. This lake is known to be one of the largest lakes in the Coorg region.

8 interesting facts about the luxurious Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior

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Image Credit: By Mohitkjain123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21272957

Gwalior is a historic city in Madhya Pradesh, India and is famous for its architectural monuments, enchanting palaces, and famous temples.

Gwalior, the heart of Modern India, often attracts unnumbered tourists from across the globe. Historical buildings play a significant role as it attracts tourists and also increases cultural tourism in India. Jai Vilas Palace of Gwalior is among such ancient palaces. The Vilas is also home to a treasure of antiques and gadgets of ancient times.

Here are eight lesser-known facts about Jai Vilas Place, Gwalior:

Jai Vilas Palace Durbar Hall’s majestic carpet

Durbar Hall of Jai Vilas Palace is one of the main tourist attractions. It is 50 feet in width, 41 feet in height, and 100 feet in length. It features magnificent interiors decorated with 560 Kg gold and gilt ornamentation.

The luxurious carpet covers this grand hall. It is known as one of the largest carpets in the world. The weaving of this huge carpet was finished in 12 years by the prisoners of the Gwalior Fort. It also features the two most world’s famous crystal chandeliers imported from Vienna.

The Great Train Banquet of Solid Silver

Madho Rao Scindia in 1906 ordered the silver toy train from a famous British Toy Rail company, Bassett Lowke, that ran along with the royal dining table in the Banquet Hall of the Vilas Palace.

For this train to move, small tracks were laid on the table, where the model train would carry after dinner liquors, ports, and cigars to the guests of Maharaja. The engine and carriages of the train were made up of silver and crystal containers.

Jai Vilas Palace Museum

The Jiwajirao Scindia Museum expanded across 35 rooms out of 400 rooms of the palace. The museum displays various splendid collections of furniture, royal carriages, silver buggy, silver chariot, portraits of the Scindia royal family, lithographs of Tipu Sultan and Napoleon, vintage luxury cars, etc.

The museum is home to the collection of swords dated back to the reign of Mughal rulers, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. It also has an original shield of Queen Lakshmibai. Traditional boat-shaped turbans of Scindia’s were displayed there too.

Art Gallery and Library in the Vilas Museum

The museum also houses a well-equipped royal library and Chitrangada Raje Art Gallery. The library has a collection of around 5000 books from various subjects associated with the palace’s theme. It includes books that give you in-depth details about the role of rulers of Gwalior in World War I.

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The main motive behind setting up the Art Gallery is to allow the craftsman and artisans of the country to showcase their talent and work to the international audience. And, to publicize the cultural and artistic heritage of Gwalior too.

Jai Vilas Palace was built to Welcome the then ruler of England

This magnificent palace was established by Jayaji Rao Maharaj when he invited England’s ruler, King Edward VII, to visit Gwalior.

He planned to construct Jai Vilas Palace for his reception. To build this 400-room majestic palace, he hired the French architect, Sir Michel Philos. Afterward, it became the residence of the descendants of the Scindia Dynasty. In 1964, the Vilas palace was made open to the commoners.

Pair of 3500 Kg Chandelier

The center of attraction of Vilas Place is a unique pair of 3500 kg chandeliers of Durbar Hall. These chandeliers were so heavy that before hanging them on the roof, architects suspended eight elephants from the top to see whether the roof could withstand the weight of the chandelier or not.

Continuously for seven days, they were mounted to prove that the roof can endure twice its weight, only after which chandeliers were installed. These two gigantic chandeliers are around 12.5m high, with 250 bulbs placed inside them. This chandelier is the world’s largest chandelier and the heaviest in Asia.

Palace Worth Rs. 4000 Crore

Jai Vilas Palace was established in 1874 under the guidance of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia. The palace valued at INR 1 crore at that time, and today its value is more than INR 4000 crores.

This splendid European architecture is a three-storied palace, a beautiful combination of Tuscan, Italian, and Corinthian designs. The 400-room Jai Vilas palace has Italian marble flooring, Persian rugs, and all other decorated items from Italy, France, and China.

Inherited by the grandson of Scindia

Jyotiraditya Madhav Rao Scindia, the Grandson of Jivaji Rao Scindia is the present heir of this 19th-century palace. Currently, he owns a property worth around $27 million, including the inherited Jai Vilas Palace, a perk of being born in the Gwalior princely dynasty.