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Celebrating Diwali around the World!

Diwali has also become a time to travel and experiment. That’s why, though it is a chance to spend some much-needed time with family, it has also become a time for fresh new experiences.

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Diwali has also become a time to travel and experiment. That’s why, though it is a chance to spend some much-needed time with family, it has also become a time for fresh new experiences. From outdoor adventures like a camel safari in Rajasthan or snorkeling in Malaysia to leisurely gondola rides in Macau to authentic local village stays and culinary-cuisine tours with chefs in Greece, travelling has become more about the experiences than just ticking countries off the bucket list.

If you are planning then check out the top Exciting and happening countries for a memorable vacation.

Few popular International Destinations

Malaysia
With almost 900 islands, Malaysia has plenty of offshore attractions to compete with the best. West coast isles like Penang and Langkawi offer a compelling blend of cuisine, culture and luxury, while east coast ones are more rugged and remote, with diving, hiking and edge-of-the-map relaxation spots. While in Malaysia, you can also opt to explore the well-known tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, the exquisite beaches of Langkawi or the unique street art of George Town. Definitely a destination that has something special for every traveller.

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Star Cruises – Gemini – Penang & Langkawi

Macau
Famous as the ‘Vegas of China’, Macau makes for a perfect Diwali vacation. Get started with your Diwali gambling with the world’s largest casino, the Venetian Macau. With over 3000 slot machines and more than 500,000 sq. ft. of gaming floor, you will never get stuck for options here. If gambling isn’t your thing, then go ahead and explore the magnificent Macau Towers and the historic Taipa village, ride the beautiful gondolas, visit the ancient Chinese temples or enjoy the amazing cuisine, a mix of Chinese and Portuguese flavours. Start off with Chinese congee for breakfast, enjoy a Portuguese lunch of caldo verde soup and bacalhau (cod) fritters, and dine on hybrid Macanese fare such as minchi.

Image result for world’s largest casino, the Venetian Macau. !

The Worlds Largest Casino Venetian Macao

Greece
While famous for its breathtaking islands, Greece is also a cultural and historical treasure chest. Explore the ancient Acropolis. Step into the ring where Olympians first competed. Climb stone-hewed steps to Meteora’s monasteries. Contemplate the Oracle’s insights from the grandeur of Delphi. Take in a starlit drama at an ancient outdoor theater and be stunned by massive marble sculptures dredged up from the Aegean. Greece is a fascinating collection of experiences that will make any Diwali vacation super special.

Few popular Domestic Destinations

Rajasthan
While an extremely popular tourist destination, Rajasthan is still very much in demand, especially when you feel like celebrating Diwali in India. Explore the unending desert with unique camel and jeep safaris, roam the magnificent monuments, from the Hawa Mahal to the Jantar Mantar to the City Palace and the Mandore Gardens and finally stuff yourself with the amazingly delicious and rich cuisine. Rajasthan is definitely an experience to treasure for a lifetime.

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Jaipur Hawa Mahal at Diwali Night

Kashmir
While much has been said and written about Kashmir, it’s still one of the most popular destinations in India. Starting off with Srinagar, this awe-inspiring city is best known for its lush gardens and serene lakes, where you can relish a shikhara ride on Dal Lake, or go exploring the Mughal Gardens and Old City monuments. At Gulmarg, the ski capital of India, tourists can get their adrenaline kick skiing down the snow-capped hills or admiring the beautiful vistas from the Gondolas (cable car system). The ambience of Leh, on the other hand, is completely different. Nestled in a fertile, green oasis and surrounded by miles of parched landscape, Leh is a colourfully refreshing burst of colours, cultures and natural beauty. Often dubbed as Little Tibet, it offers many opportunities to tick off some major travel goals like camping at the picturesque Pangong-Tso lak, visiting the numerous monasteries to find inner peace, and so much more!

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A shikara (boat) on Dal Lake

Andaman & Nicobar
Think clear turquoise waters, unspoilt beaches, stunning rain forests, gorgeous corals, ancient tribes, and you’ll think of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A tropical paradise in the truest sense of the term, this archipelago of islands is sure to blow your mind with all the amazing activities available and things to experience. So whether you would like to jet- ski across the beautiful blue ocean, go diving or snorkelling, watch the turtles nesting or take in some local history, this is definitely an amazing way of spending the Diwali vacation.

Image result for Andaman and Nicobar Islands diwali light

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Diwali Celebration

“Diwali is increasingly becoming a time to experience the world, especially since the rituals are such that they don’t have to be done at home,” says Viren Batra, co-founder of Nirvana Excursions. “At the same time, the rituals are an essential part of the festival, and therefore, we make it a point to customise itineraries according to our clients’ requirements and specifications, ensuring that they truly enjoy both the vacation as well as the festival.”

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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BenQ launches 4K home cinema projectors in India

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w2700 cinematic color with true 4k kv

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Taiwanese electronics company BenQ on Tuesday launched two new 4K home cinema projectors — “W2700” and “W5700” — with CinematicColor technology, projector-optimised HDR-PRO support and individual factory colour calibration in India.

The new projectors, “W2700” and “W5700”, priced at Rs 2.49 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh respectively, are the world’s first 4K home cinema projectors, the company said.

“With this new range of 4K projectors, we are extremely optimistic that these will turn any room into a world-class home theatre with video enhancing technologies,” said Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India.

Fuelled by DCI-P3 colour space, “W2700” delivers the highest level of image accuracy while the “W5700” projector provides a 1.6X big zoom along with 2D H/V lens shift that is ideal for audio visual (AV) rooms.

The HDR-PRO supported projectors also incorporate auto colour and tone mapping techniques to offer improved brightness and contrast range along with ideal image optimization for vivid video quality.

Designed with a compact profile, the light weight projectors facilitate tailored AV personalization with versatile short throw, big zoom and lens shift for a wide range of home cinema possibilities, the company said.

The projectors would begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.

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