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Nepal-The Roof of the World

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Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia and mainly located in the Himalayas and has a diverse geography including fertile plains, highest point on earth – Mount Everest and that’s why backpackers gave a nickname to Nepal as, “The Roof of the World”. Nepal is a trekker’s paradise and offers a combination of charming hill villages to jungle wildlife to beautiful temples.

Nepal attracts various types of traveller’s from backpacker to Luxury travel. The country is still recovering from the Twin Earthquakes which shattered the Himalayan Kingdom in the year 2015. After a sharp decline in visitors post-earthquake, the numbers are slowly recovering and now it is a great time to go to the mighty mountains.

Kathmandu – Capital city of Nepal also serves as the gateway to the country. Kathmandu is an interesting city to visit, however, tourists will face the crazy traffic of Nepal and poor road conditions. Monuments located at the Durbar Square in Kathmandu were severely damaged or completely ruined during the earthquakes of 2015.

Chitwan National Park is one of the World Heritage listed reserves that protects over 932 sq. km of forests, marshlands and grasslands. The park is considered to be one of the best parks for viewing wildlife in Asia. One-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys and over 500 species of birds are regularly spotted. If you are lucky, you may spot a leopard, wild elephant or sloth bear and if your luck prevails, you may also spot the majestic royal Bengal tiger.

Pokhara offers spectacular scenery, adventure activities and is the getaway for treks to the Annapurna range. The Lakeside of Pokhara is a chilled out version of Kathmandu’s busy Thamel area. From the Lakeside as well from a lot of hotels one can enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains. Pokhara boasts a booming adventure sports industry and is one of the best paragliding venues on the globes.

Annapurna region has been considered one of the best treks in Nepal and known for the world’s classic walks. The walk follows the marsyangdi valley to the north of the main Himalayan range and crosses a 5416 m pass to descend into the upper Kali Gandaki valley. The walk offers spectacular views of the numerous 7000 meters plus Annapurna peaks and boasts some of the great trekking lodges of Nepal.

Breakfast at Everest base camp – This is a new private concept for affluent traveller’s where one can do a short excursion from Kathmandu and enjoy the breakfast near the Mt. Everest base camp with the fascinating Everest in the backdrop.

Travel Tips for Traveller’s to Nepal:

– Avoid drinking tap water, use bottled water

– Where possible avoid intercity road journeys and use local flights. The roads in Nepal are narrow and have traffic; a 200 km journey may take 7-8 hrs.

– Local flights are substantially dependent on weather conditions and there may be delays, so plan accordingly

– If you are doing any trek, do ensure that you have necessary permits to trek in the region

– Indian National enjoy special rates at hotels and for trekking permit at most trekking routes, NRI’s or Foreign nationals will have to pay the regular foreigner rate for the permits

– Be sure to ensure the Nepalese currency prior to leaving, one cannot exchange Nepali currency outside of Nepal

– Indian Nationals can use denominations of Rs 100 or lower very easily. Higher denominations are legally not accepted.

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Realm of Sultans- Oman

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Oman

The Sultanate of Oman, considered as a hidden jewel at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman offers an excellent combination of heritage and modern life. Omani’s are very hospitable people and during travelling through the country, locals may invite you to have coffee and dates at their houses, an offer that never to be refused. From mountains and deep gorges to water-filled wadis (valley of a stream) and endless beaches and some of the stunning desert landscapes, diverse beauty of Oman can be sight throughout the country.

Oman received independence from Britain in 1951, following independence the country brought them under the leadership of Sultan Said bin Taimur, however not until his son His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin said ascended to the throne in 1970 that Oman entered a modern renaissance evolving into the contemporary and forward facing country it is today. It is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s foresight that has helped Oman to secure prosperity and ensure that the country remains one of the safest countries in the world.

Oman’s population is just around 4 million people, Oman is an Islamic country that with an acceptance of other religions and cultures, allows anyone to practice their faith freely without any prejudice. Oman has seen the rapid transformation to modern society since 1970 and has never lost sight of its roots. Traditional Omani culture is embedded in nearly every aspect of daily life, from clothing and food to arts and craft and the hospitality the Locals show the visitors. The unique Omani culture and heritage continue today in many of the same ways it has seen for hundreds of years.

Muscat means Anchorage – Stunning modern capital of Oman offering a combination of old and new. Mountains and deserts surround Muscat while sea and fishing today remains an important industry. Muscat is also a busy port city. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece with 50 meters dome and beautiful Persian carpet, the mosque can accommodate 20,000 people. Muscat’s old Muttrah (administratively a district) quarter, this known for its labyrinthine souk and bustling fish market and famous Corniche waterfront promenade. One can also catch the glimpse of the Sultan’s residence, a colourful Al Alam Palace built in the contemporary Islamic style. Muscat offers several museums exhibiting Omani culture and crafts. The Royal Opera House presents international performances. Shatti and Ourum are popular beaches that offer great experiences to beach admirers. Lagoon and Reefs at Bandar Jissah and Bandar Khayran are located close to Muscat, which is popular for diving.

Muscat offers abundance choices for visitors from world-class shows to fine dining at one of the many restaurants scattered across the capital or shopping for traditional souvenirs at Muttrah Souq to museums and art galleries showcasing Omani traditions and art. Even when the summer temperatures are at its peak in the rest part of Oman, Dhofar and mountaintops of Al Hajar range serve cooler temperatures on their overture.

Jay Kantawala founder of WIYO Travel contemplates that, ”Oman is a relatively unexplored destination and has a lot to offer to the tourist, the country is well- connected from major cities in India with daily direct flights. One can explore Oman for a short break or even for a week to 10 days. Micro-trips can be held here by exuberant travellers”.

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Avoid travelling as Snow may block Himachal roads

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Shimla, Jan 2: Moderate to heavy snowfall may occur across Himachal Pradesh in the next one-two days, the Met Office said on Wednesday.

Residents and tourists have been advised not to venture in the high hills as snapping of road links are high.

The supply of essential commodities and transportation of people may get hampered in remote areas of the state, a government official told IANS.

Hills of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur, Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts are likely to experience moderate to heavy snowfall from January 4-6, an official of the meteorological office here told IANS.

He said the western disturbances — storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — are likely to remain active in the region till January 9.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie and Manali are likely to have light to moderate spells of snowfall, he added.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw mild snowfall. It recorded a low of minus 3.4 degree Celsius.

Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus 4.6 degree.

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 0.6 degree in Manali and 2.8 degrees in Dharamsala.

IANS

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Pakistan International Airlines sacks over 50 employees for fake degrees

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Pakistan International Airlines

Karachi, Dec 29 : Pakistan International Airlines has sacked over 50 employees, including pilots and cabin crew, for holding fake degrees, the media reported on Saturday.

A statement by the country’s national carrier said that the employees were fired on the instructions of the Supreme Court in a fake degrees case. Three pilots and 50 crew staff were sacked, Geo News reported.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had taken notice of alleged appointment of pilots holding fake qualifications in January this year.

A two-member bench headed by the Chief Justice had issued a deadline of December 28 to the Civil Aviation Authority for completing the verifications of the degrees of pilots.

IANS

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