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You can sit for hours, watching the Taj change its moods with every change of complexion in the skies. Interestingly, the vision of the Taj is framed differently from each window of the fort across the river Yamuna. And from what I have experienced, something magical happens when you come within sighting distance of the Taj. You see a landscape of greenery, with the river around leading you gently towards a point where the Taj rises majestically into the frame.

The magic starts even before you get there, with eager anticipation. As we are nearing it, crowds and long lines of visitors build up momentum. And when you enter the big gate, the monument stands majestically before you. The first glimpse of a demure, ivory-white dome set against the blue skies is a sight to behold. It beckons the visitor to go closer and closer, and get a view of the Taj in all its glory.

And when you get closer, you rub your eyes in disbelief and say to yourself: am I really in front of the Taj, or is this a dream?

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / September 2022

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One of the things we do at AIRDA is have regular conversations with travelers and vacation seekers – particularly during this post-Covid period. To review their readiness to travel, and assess comfort levels when it comes to actually going on a vacation.

And when we were putting this story together, one aspect came through as a regret or concern. “Before Covid, we were free to do anything we wanted to do, and we took this freedom for granted,” was the message that came across strongly to us.

In a way, that makes sense – maybe we did take things for granted. And this realization might help us take a closer look at things that we may have overlooked.

Here’s what one of them had to say.
I took my freedom to travel for granted. Freedom to travel sounds strange, when you actually have the freedom to travel – any time, any place and anybody you wish to travel with. But when the lockdowns kicked in, this freedom to travel was taken away from us. I then realized what it meant to lose that freedom. (Something that I had taken totally for granted.)

Strangely, during that period we did not even have the freedom to get out of home, move around in the city, or even go to office. And that’s when you know what a precious commodity “freedom” really is.

I now look at things like that with renewed respect and consideration. It’s only when something is taken away from you, do you actually feel the difference.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / April 2022

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Sariska is a beautiful location in the Alwar District of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by hilly terrain and a landscape that is visually delightful. People living here are warm, welcoming and culturally rich. As a wildlife student, Sariska fascinates me because it is home to diverse flora and fauna.

The Sariska Tiger Reserve stretches over an area of (approximately)1200 km² – a landscape that presents deciduous forests, grasslands and rocky hills. This area was a hunting preserve of the Alwar Maharajas and was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958.

In this feature interview we chat with Nilesh Singh, who is a drone pilot at the Sariska Tiger Reserve. He talks to us about roles, responsibilities and the kind of work his team does at the reserve.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / August 2021

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Mickey Sidhu,
Founder, The Himalayan Outback

After spending 15 years in the U.S. working in the IT industry in California’s Silicon Valley, Mickey Sidhu decided to return home to India. The natural draw of the outdoors led Mickey to start The Himalayan Outback with Misty Dhillon in 2004. While Misty focused on his passion of fishing, Mickey focused on ensuring that every member of The Himalayan Outback team understood that “quality” could not be compromised. This combination has led The Himalayan Outback to be named as one of the ten fly-fishing destinations in the world, with a worldwide reputation for quality and integrity.

This philosophy has also helped establish The Himalayan Outback’s trekking and wildlife trips as among the best in the industry.

In this feature interview Mickey tells us what we can expect during a stay at his wild country lodge, The Himalayan Outback, located on the Ramganga River at the Mohan Range, (Corbett National Park) Uttarakhand.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / November 2021

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