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Chasing coffee: This little known museum is a ‘must-visit’ hotspot in Dubai



Dubai Coffee Museum

By Saket Suman

Dubai, Sep 18: A popular beverage in most parts of the world, coffee is much more than just a drink in the Middle East. It is an integral part of the region’s heritage, a celebration of its culture and a dedicated coffee museum in Dubai — the first of its kind in the Middle East — stands as testimony to the region’s longstanding tryst with the drink.

Just like the traditional value that most Indians associate with “chai”, coffee is the customary drink served to visitors in most homes in the Middle East.

“It is a part of our heritage. The way we have been brought up, coffee has always occupied a vital space in our culture. So even the poor, those who cannot afford anything, will serve coffee to their guests and welcome them,” museum owner Khalid Al Mulla, a noted coffee trader and collector, told this visiting IANS correspondent.

But even before Mulla elaborated on the history of coffee and its particular significance in the Middle Eastern context, the museum was already a feast for our eyes. In a city of skyscrapers that revels in pomp and gaiety, this museum comes as some sort of relief to the souls of wanderers. It tells not only the regional but also the global history of coffee.

The museum’s shop is the first thing that catches the eye on entering this villa. Here one finds coffee mugs from several countries, personal hand grinders and other similar stuff to carry home.

Enter the museum and your are spellbound at the sight of a beautiful lady, dressed in traditional Egyptian attire serving traditional coffee and popcorn to visitors. Along with a cup of coffee prepared in authentic African style, she also told us a fable. “Marriages are not made by gods. They are made by coffee,” she proclaimed, before bursting into loud laughter.

She explained that in Turkey, marriages are often decided over coffee. When a proposal comes to the family, the girl approves it by preparing a good cup of coffee. But when she has to reject the proposal, she adds a pinch of salt.

Coffee Museum in Dubai

Coffee Museum in Dubai. Photo IANS

The ground floor includes a room for Western antiques, and another for Orientalism. A dedicated corner is designed to showcase various types of coffee. There is also an Egyptian corner, which shows the history of coffee since the days of the Ottoman Empire. One of the most rare treasures in the basement, which transports you to back into time, is the “Swedish roast” dating to 1840.

Then, there is the German grinder from the World War II era and many mills that were collected from Britain, dating as far back as 1860. The museum also contains ancient toasters and old paintings that tell the history of coffee and its methods of manufacture and preparation. There is also a literature room, which displays texts related to coffee, from the eighteenth century to the present day.

The upper floor lounge includes a small coffee shop, offering coffee and snacks to visitors. What strikes you is that even the sweets offered here have a distinctive coffee flavour.

As we stroll through the museum and its distinctive rooms, Mulla, who is a mobile information bank about the cultivation of coffee and the ways of transporting and making it, elaborated on the history of what is one of the most popular drinks in the world today.

He said that the origin of coffee can be traced to the Ethiopian highlands many centuries ago. As the Legend of Kaldi has it, he said, coffee was discovered accidentally when a goat ate some unknown berries from a tree and remained alert for the rest of the night.

A drink was prepared from these berries by worshippers in the local monasteries and it helped them stay awake during the long hours of prayers. The message spread rapidly until it reached the Arabian peninsula, from where the Arabs took this newly found drink to other parts of the world.

The Coffee Museum opened its doors to public in October 2014.



Honeymoon spots that will make your marriage more memorable



honeymoon on beaches

After finally tying the knot with each other, the couple is always waiting for their best days of life; their honeymoon. Wedding always has a lot of planning from the big decisions down to the tiniest details that make the life miserable at times. Hence, to come out of this madness of wedding the best thing is to go for a honeymoon and relax. The honeymoon is their chance to be with each other, just the two of them and temporarily detaching their workaday lives and worries. This is a place where they want to spend their best time and hence most of the couples worry about finding the right place that is fun and enjoyable for both. Excited about being together in their own cosy space the couple feels happy. They need a place of their choice and comfort to start off their new journey and a new life together. Comfort and candour are important in a lasting relationship which starts with the honeymoon. Some may want to have a luxury honeymoon and some may want a short trip as per their budget. Anything is fine as long as both enjoy the most. The honeymoon is a chance for a newly wedded couple to reignite the inspiration that led them to choose each other in the life forever.

Vishal Kejariwal,Co-founder and CEO – Taxidio Travel India suggested five best honeymoon destinations outside India especially if you’re planning for a honeymoon in December, January and February. The base of the destination recommendations are on the season and that will help the couple to enjoy more.


Considered as the perfect post-wedding stress buster honeymoon spot. Mexico is a great combination of some exceptional nightlife along with beaches. The two must-visit beach places are, Cancun – known for its beautiful beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. Tulum, is known for its palpable beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. Here the couple can enjoy romantic walks along beaches by spending quality time with each other. Though Mexico is little far from India, it is one of the best honeymoon destinations. Since the flights to Mexico from India are slightly expensive, it could be a good idea to fly to the USA and then go to Mexico by road.

Mexico is not as cold as other western countries; the cities are in the typical range of 15-20 degree wherein Indian people can adjust easily. Beaches the atmosphere is around 25 degree so it is pleasant for Indian couples.


One can get the best memories captured in the camera when they are at the snow-capped mountains of Norway. Scandinavia offers to makes your honeymoon pictures and memories more beautiful. Couples can spend their days exploring the unspoiled snow along with the northern lights. Till the month of early April, the couple can get the chance to see the beautiful northern lights which are like having a once in a lifetime opportunity. Scandinavian nations like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are popularly visited by honeymooners who have thick pockets.


Enjoy your private and special place in each other’s heart in the mid of water. Water villas are one place where couples dream of staying with each other lifetime. If your travel plan is short for a week or so then the Maldives is definitely the place to go. The best thing in the Maldives is you just go park in the resort. The best place to stay is the ocean villa if your pocket supports that kind of villa and stay there for a few days. Ocean villa becomes a bit out of budget sometimes so we recommend people to take a good hotel or a beach villa and stay there for a few days and enjoy. Also, staying and relaxing in the ocean villa for a day can weave good memorable days. Many airlines give direct flights from India to the Maldives


This is a place that is typically unexplored by Indians, but it is one of most romantic gateways for any newlywed couple. It is one destination in Europe that is easy on the pocket. One can visit the beautiful city of Lisbon which is Portugal’s hilly and coastal capital city. It is a blend of tradition and modern as well as it is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Europe. Another place to visit in Portugal is Porto that is a coastal city in its northwest. Madeira island is one must place to explore here as it has a lot to explore from adventure sports to water sports etc. Direct flights are there; lowest fares also available.

New Zealand

If you’re a couple who loves adventure then New Zealand is the best place to visit. It will be summer this season. If you love water rafting, sky jumping, hiking then this is the best place and season to do the same. Provided you’re an adventure person you will like this place a lot. This place also offers spectacular diverse landscape, stunning natural scenery and a welcoming community. Flights typically from India fly via Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Hongkong.


Above places are based on what kind of traveller you are, Mexico if you love beaches or nightlife, Scandinavian is high on a budget but very interesting in terms of the exceptional beauty of the place for Indians, as it is a great place to visit because of the snow-clad tops. Maldives is a place if you enjoy staying in the water; Portugal is one unexplored place by Indians but very beautiful and good for the pocket. And lastly, New Zealand is best for the couples who want to explore in adventure sports etc.

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US bill over reciprocity of access to Tibet awaits Trump’s signature



travel access to Tibet

Chicago, Dec 13 : The unanimous passage of a bill that insists on reciprocity between the US and China over travel access to Tibet is seen as a clear message that the US Congress is sending to Beijing about the situation in Tibet.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which deals with “the level of access Chinese authorities granted US diplomats, journalists, and tourists to Tibetan areas in China”, seeks to deny admission to Chinese officials who prevent Americans from visiting Tibet.

It says, “The State Department shall report to Congress annually, identifying individuals who were blocked from US entry during the preceding year and a list of Chinese officials who were substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies to restrict the access of US diplomats, journalists, and citizens to Tibetan areas.”

The bill now awaits signature by President Donald Trump to become law. Its passage was a result of a nearly four years of efforts by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and other Tibetan groups under the leadership of ICT chair and Hollywood star Richard Gere, a passionate activist and a committed Buddhist, as well as its president Matteo Mecacci.

Asked how optimistic he is about Trump signing the bill into law, especially at a time when his administration is engaged in a tense trade war with Beijing, Mecacci told IANS in an interview via email, “The overwhelming support shown by the US Congress for this bill, which passed unanimously both in the House and the Senate, is sending a very clear message to the Chinese government that the American people care deeply about the situation inside Tibet, and are concerned about the isolation that China has imposed.”

He said this bill is about the “principle of reciprocity that complements the Trump Administration’s policy”. “The State Department has also conveyed, during a hearing in the Senate, that it shares the goals of the bill and will implement it. We are confident that President Trump will take all these elements into account, when it comes to signing the bill into law,” Mecacci said.

On how, once it becomes law, it might impact US-China relations in the specific context of Tibet, he said, “The State Department, which on December 4 expressed official support for the goals of the legislation and plans to implement it, will have to assess the level of access to Tibet for American citizens and identify the Chinese officials who are responsible for blocking access, and eventually denying them visas to the United States.

“This is about reciprocity and fairness, and it is very important that the United States challenges China’s policy not only on trade or economic issues, but also on civil and human rights, such us freedom of movement, freedom of information and the rule of law,” he said.

President Trump has not been known to pay particular attention to Tibet. It is questionable whether he is aware of the historic complexities of the problem. Given that, it has not been clear how he might approach the bill waiting for his signature.

However, Mecacci is optimistic. “As I mentioned, the US Administration has been following this bill very closely and supports its goals. In general, the Trump Administration has already issued a report on the status of Tibet negotiations in May 2018 in which it has outlined its position on the Tibetan issue.”

On whether the bill may become a sort of political football in the trade dispute, he said, “This legislation was introduced in Congress well before the beginning of the Trump Administration and of the trade dispute with China. For decades, the US Congress and US Administrations have supported the aspiration of the Tibetan people to a better life. This will continue beyond a trade dispute. Since it is about American interest, we do not see how this can be impacted by the trade dispute.”

(Mayank Chhaya is a senior journalist of Indian origin based in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Taj Mahal entry fee hiked by Rs 200

Visitors who buy the Rs. 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.



Taj mahal

Agra, Dec 10: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday enforced a new ticketing system for the Taj Mahal, aimed at reducing increasing human impact on the fragile 17th-century white marble marvel.

Vasant Kumar Swarnkaar, the ASI chief in Agra, said the new ticketing system came into effect from Monday morning.

According to the ASI, visitors will now have to shell out an extra Rs 200 to enter the main mausoleum with the graves of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Earlier, the domestic tourists were initially paying only Rs 50 only.

Now, the visitors who buy the Rs. 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.

Foreign visitors will also need to buy the Rs 200 ticket in addition to the Rs 1,100 entrance fee.

The visitors from SAARC countries will have to pay Rs. 740 instead of Rs. 540.

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had originally suggested two tickets, to help reduce the number of visitors to the main structure.

The tourism industry has not appreciated the increase, fearing this step could hit arrivals.

The Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest specimen of the Mughal architecture.

In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”


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