Category: General

8 startling facts about ‘magical’ Shirdi that you probably didn’t know – Part 2!

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The town of ‘Shirdi’ continues to attract millions of Sai Baba followers from all across the world that flock in large numbers day in and out. There are facts which surprise even those most familiar with the place. Here are some more facts added to the list from the previous post of the blog:

Shirdi

  • When actors turn demi-gods!
    Sudhir Dalvi, a less popular actor, donned the role of Sai Baba in the 1977 movie “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba”. The movie was a huge success in that Dalvi fast became a household name. Interestingly, whenever he was spotted in the streets, Sai Baba devotees would immediately fall at his feet to seek his blessings. Ironically, if industry gossip is to be believed, filmmakers denied him of further opportunities in the cinema world as they didn’t like the idea of an almost god-like figure playing any other roles on the silver screen.
  • Jackie Shroff abandoned smoking and drinking while shooting for a film on the great Saint in Shirdi.
    Popular actor of the 1980’s, Jackie Shroff, also played the role of Saibaba in a film made in 2010 – “Malik Ek”. He is reportedly known to have said that he totally abandoned smoking and drinking while the film’s shooting was on. Though the movie didn’t go as Jackie and the film crew expected, it even failed to revive the hopes of an already struggling actor looking to make a decent comeback.
  • The Malaysian government wants to invest in Shirdi’s airport.
    In 2016, the Malaysian Government, surprisingly, expressed interest in manning the Shirdi’s airport, in a joint operation with the Government of Maharashtra, for a cost of Rs 1500 crore.
  • One can travel all the way from Puri in Odisha to Shirdi
    Shirdi’s railway station, Sainagar Shirdi, is well inter-connected by several trains operating from major cities and towns around India. The railway station, which has been around since March 2009, is a key terminus on the Central Railway line with trains linking to places as distant as Puri and Kokata. The Sainagar Shirdi – Puri Express leaves from Sainagar Shirdi every Sunday, covering a total distance of 1619km with a travel time of about 29 hours, to reach Puri. The Sainagar Shirdi – Kolkata Howrah Junction Superfast Express that starts from Sainagar Shirdi covers a distance of 1790 km with a travel time of about 26 hours to reach Kolkata’s Howrah Junction.
  • Shirdi’s literacy rate is higher than the national average.
    The 2011 census reported the average literacy rate of Shirdi town as 70 percent with male and female literacy at 76 percent and 62 percent respectively, as opposed to the national average literacy rate of 59.5 percent.

There is more to it than meets your eye when it comes to visiting Shirdhi. If you are one among the crores of devotees who believe in the miracles of Shirdi Sai Baba, visiting the shrine can make you feel one with the divine spirit and light.

 

8 startling facts about ‘magical’ Shirdi that you probably didn’t know – Part 1

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Shirdi is one of Maharashtra’s key pilgrimage towns. Sai Baba, a 19th century Sufi mystic and saint, who arrived at Shirdi, united people of all faiths and religions with his powerful spiritual teachings and acts. Sai Baba is the presiding deity of the shrine around which the entire town’s economy thrives. Today, the small town of Shirdi, with an official population of about 36,000 people, employs thousands of migrant labourers from all across the state of Maharashtra, and acts as a solace to millions of devotees who stand in long queues for endless hours just to seek the divine blessings of one of India’s greatest spiritual masters.

 

 

You needn’t be a Saibaba bhakt or even a believer of sort, but you cannot brush aside the contribution of the mystic saint toward the livelihood and economy of Shirdi as a town.  Here are eight mindboggling facts about Shirdi you never know:

  • A whopping 60,000 visitors every day!
    As many as 1,00,000 people visit Shirdi over the weekend, with a reported attendance figure of 60,000 visitors every day. The numbers are expected to go as high as 5,00,000 during auspicious days like Ramnavami, Dussehra and Gurupoornima.
  • The temple was once privately owned!
    The magnificent temple that forms the basis of Shirdi’s economy was raised in 1922, some four years after the demise of Sai Baba. Shrimant Gopalroa, a Nagpur-based millionaire, commissioned the temple; it enjoyed private status until a certain point of time. Today the temple is owned and managed by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust.
  • A stunning donation of 110 crore astounds everybody!
    The temple is never short of rich devotees. One KV Ramani, the co-founder of NASSCOM and a well-known philanthropist, has been donating 80 percent of his earnings to the Trust. He donated 110 crores to the trust for constructing an ashram that can easily put up 14,000 devotees! Well, the numbers just keep growing!

 

We will follow this post up with some more astonishing facts on Shridhi — facts that are stranger than fiction— in the concluding part of the blog.

 

All about the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

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Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple, another famous temple, at Thiruvananthapuram in the God’s own country, is one among the few richest temples in the country. Another popular wealthy Hindu temple is the Tirumala Temple at Tirupati in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Padmanabha Swamy Temple draws millions of Hindu devotees, travellers and tourists from all across the country and abroad.

 

 

The temple has been in news recently for the wrong reasons, largely due to the riches and wealth preserved within the temple chambers, and the mystery lurking behind the hidden treasures. Let’s take a quick look at some of the facts that make this temple an intriguing eerie one.

The temple architecture is a classic blend of typical Kerala architecture and Dravidian style particular to TamilNadu. Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple is often referred to as the world’s richest temple with huge reserves of assets and wealth well preserved inside the different chambers of the temple. It’s for this reason that the temple is dubbed as the ‘Golden Temple’.

The main presiding deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu in his characteristic reclining pose on serpent Adisheshan. This posture of the Lord is called by the Hindus as ‘Anantha Shayanam.’  There have been mentions of the shrine in several places in popular Hindu sculptures such as Varaha Purana, Skanda Purana, Brahman Purana and Mahabharata.

Once you’re inside the temple, you can find six chambers in the temple. This is the point beyond where things tend to get murky. The Chamber B, as it is known here, has never been opened hitherto by anyone, inspite of the growing voices within to open the same and make matters open to public view. It is widely believed that this chamber is the home to the idol of Sri Padmanabha Swamy, Srichakram (a.k.a mother of all yantras), and that it is laden with incalculable quantities of wealth and other valuables. People dread the idea of opening the chamber as they believe it can put them to gravest dangers.

Though the temple holds several festivals, the Laksha Deepam festival, is the most followed one, where the temple premises and structure dazzle brightly with one lakh lamps lit to grace the festival that is celebrated once in 6 years. If you are in Thiruvananthapuram next time, make sure you visit the temple just to explore its profound mysteries, if anything.

 

 

 

 

30 Best Travel Podcasts every time you travel – Part 3

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Here we come again with more travel podcasts – the list getting fatter and bigger. The concluding blog of the three-part blog series, we believe, will be more infotaining and fun at the same time.

10. Travel Freedom

The podcast aims to help travellers travel more and unearth travel freedom with interviews of digital nomads, plus money-making ways of online entrepreneurs and travel hacking methods for travelling the globe, full time.

 

 

9. Keep Your Day Dream


The podcast, started by Marc & Tricia, and with over 100 episodes (during the time of writing), the travel podcast is a compendium of inspiring tales from fellow travellers, who with their unconventional thinking, left their comfort zone to explore the unexplored.

 

8. Living Unconventionally


Started by Britany Felix, and with 150+ episodes, the podcast is a collection of life stories of fellow travellers, travel safety tips, creating online business, and freelancing on the road, articles for the ‘she’ travellers and how to travel with kids, and, of course, replies to her listener’s questions.

 

 

7.The Expat Chat

Started by Tony Argyle, this podcast, with 100+ episodes, has some remarkable stories of people who have ‘travel’ in their blood. They discover life overseas and live a life of their own. Tony also discusses where to live, how to travel, how to afford it and other questions that travellers usually have in their minds.

 

 

 

6. The Suitcase Entrepreneur


Started by Natalie Sisson, a New Zealand entrepreneur and adventurer, she helps entrepreneurs develop life-changing habits, routines, tools and mindset to feel the pulse of personal and professional freedom day after day so that they can lead a life they truly deserve, while also running a profitable business they’d wish for.

 

 

5. The Dirtbag Diaries

 


Hosted by Fitz Cahall, this podcast has been bringing tales of outdoor adventurers since 2007. With intriguing stories from roads, trail, rivers and other notoriously wild places, the Dirtbag Diaries is everything what an outdoor enthusiast crave for in terms of diverse travel experience.

 

 

4. Airplane Mode

Started by two former Warby Parker execs, Away started things out as a luggage company but fast turned out to become much more. This podcast, hosted by Will Warren, features themes including business travel, wellness, in addition to interviews with people that belong to diverse industries who are pretty much passionate about travel.

 

 

3. On She Goes

 


This podcast is the perfect companion for women who wish to travel more adventurously and more confidently featuring stories shared by their community.

 

 

 

 

2. Travelogue

 


This podcast by Condé Nast Traveler is a kind of interesting roundtable-style discussion on a plethora of travel themes and tags such as sustainable travel, impact that home sharing would have on the hotel industry,  the best places to travel during a particular season, and whether it’s ethical to travel to certain countries. The theme music is a plus.

 

1.The Switchback Kids

Planning a trip to a national park, here is a podcast for you started by Elizabeth and Cole Donelson, who have visited all 59 national parks. It is worthwhile to listen to their experiences of travelling to country’s public lands such as deep dives into some parks, budgeting hacks, top rated parks and much more.

 

 

Our list would seem desperately short if we stop with this. There are many podcasts online which we haven’t covered at all. Why don’t you review them, mail us your thoughts on how they have actually influenced your travel decisions. We would simply love to hear back from you.

30 Best Travel Podcasts every time you travel – Part 2

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Did you find the first series of the blog on Best Travel Podcasts exciting? We hope you would have tried at least one of the 10 Podcasts listed on the blog.  Let’s explore another 10 podcasts in this blog that would titillate your senses and make you crave for more.

20. Tips For Travellers

This popular audio travel podcast started by Gary Bembridge, a seasoned traveller for 25 years, in 2005 and throws light on travel destinations around the globe, sprinkled with tips and advice based on his visits.

 

 

19.The Travellers

Whether you’re heading out to explore new frontiers or struggling to find your place in the world, this podcast, started by Nathaniel Boyle, is a weekly show on the ins and outs of travel.

 

 

18.Amateur Traveller

Looking to decide where to travel next? The podcast lists interview with a traveller who has travelled to the place recently or destination expert.

 

 

 

 

17. Travel with Rick Steves

If you are an American looking to experience affordable, fun and culturally broadening trips anywhere in Europe, then this podcast for you.

 

 

 

16. Travel Tales

 

Started by Comedian and TV host Mike Siegel, the podcast brings you some of the best and worst travel experiences in the form of a different guest sharing travel tales from lands far away.

 

 

 

 

15.Indie Travel Podcast

A fortnightly audio show that offers travel tips for independent travellers plus a global community of indie travellers all contributing amazing stories to the podcast.

 

 

 

 

14.Travels in Music

Travels in Music that dabbles with travel musicians telling stories on music from around the world; the podcast does its bit to turn the planet into a beautifully musical one.

 

 

 

 

13.This Week In Travel Podcast

A Semi-Weekly Podcast joined by traveloggers Gary Arndt, Jen Leo and Chris Christensen

 

 

 

12. Budget-Minded Traveller

Started in 2014, this podcast was the finalist for “Best Travel Podcast” in 2015 and “People’s Choice Podcast Awards 2016”. The podcast provides practical tips and hacks that make international travel accessible to every traveller.

 

 

 

11. Travel Writers Radio

An up and coming media outlet with global reach, imparting a unique local flavour. You need to become a member of the website to contribute reviews, news, culinary interview, travel experiences and tips for travellers.

 

 

 

The above podcasts are unique in one way or the other. They are almost guaranteed to make one an agile and intelligent traveller. We will follow the list up with the concluding post of the blog series.

 

30 Best Travel Podcasts every time you travel – Part 1

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This year, podcasts turned out to be sharper, wittier and funnier, and even more niche-based.  The social media team of Emperor Travels brings you 30 Best Travel Podcasts for the frequent traveller. Though we haven’t ranked the podcast, every podcast is unique in itself. We believe this 3-part blog series will titillate your senses when you are on the move.

30. Alone: A Love Story

A Love Story’ is scripted and narrated by Michelle Parise, a CBC producer since two decades. The podcast comes as a solace for people trying to cope with loneliness, despair, heartbreak, lust to eventually finding the courage to face the adversities of life.

 

 

29. The Bill Simmons Podcast

Started by Bill Simmons, the podcast features unbroken, long-form interview of celebrities and athletes that scarcely find place in the mainstream media.

 

 

 

 

28.Every Little Thing

Every Little Thing is a podcast created by Gimlet Media, an award-winning narrative podcasting company that helps people understand each other well.

 

 

 

 

27. This Is Actually Happening

A bi-weekly podcast that helps one discover the inner chaotic experience of the human mind and find out what actually happens when things change.

 

 

 

26.IVFML


Here is an interesting podcast that takes a frank and humorous route to discussing parenthood and the hilarity and humiliations of miscarriage, infertility and IVF, as comedy writer Simon Ganz and health reporter Anna Almendrala share their experiences.

 

 

25.DTR


This podcast is a collection of shows from profile pictures, dating someone out of your network, to opening lines. Every episode accounts for a hilariously weird aspect of dating in an Internet fad world.

 

 

24.Dirty John

A unique podcast comprising a network of storytellers that brings you wholesome entertainment and knowledge.

 

 

 

 

23. Pod Save America


A no-nonsense podcast on politics, hosted by Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, that breaks down the week’s news and helps people dope out what matters and how to fix things.

 

 

 

22. Science Vs

The podcast is a musing on trends, fads and the blinkered mob to ascertain what the fact is and what isn’t and what’s somewhere lurking in between.

 

 

 

 

21.Maed in India

India’s first indie music podcast. Get the hottest and latest music from India and abroad, plus exclusive interviews and acoustic sessions of some of the best independent musicians in the country.

 

 

 

 

We won’t stop with this. We have more podcast collection for you. But that’s for another day. Until then, why don’t you take some time to download and listen to the podcasts on your next trip?

Green business travel tips for frequent business travellers

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Do you consider your impact when you travel for pleasure, work or a combination of both – “bleisure”. Travelling employees go around different places several times a month for business seeing new places and relishing local foods, but do they actually have any idea of how much it would have impacted the planet.  Here are some easy to use tips for green business travel:

business travellers

 

  • Teleconference:
    Before you plan a business trip and decide if it is actually necessary, check with the client or customer in question if he is okay with a teleconference or a Skype call. If so, a simple tele-or video-conference call can save you a lot of time, expenses, while reducing the adverse environmental impact.
  • Take the bus or train:
    If there is any chance of your taking a train or a bus instead of a flight to your destination? If so, it would have a positive impact on the environment.
  • Fly non-stop
    When a train is not a choice, fly non-stop; with non-stop travel the emission is reduced by up to 50 percent.
  • Schedule back-to-back trips
    If you need to cover a number of cities, try to schedule back to back trips. While this can be a bit taxing, you will save on time and resources by not flying back home halfway through the tour.
  • Take public transportation to go around:
    Once you are at your destination, take advantage of public transportation to move around. In some cities, taking the metro or subway can prove faster than a cab dodging through the traffic. Public transportation has improved tremendously in most major world cities and it’s a fab way to travel.
  • Get in an Ecocab:
    Most major international cities now have eco cabs and hybrid taxis. If you must hire a cab or taxi, check if it suits your bill.
  • Share your ride:
    If you must travel with co-workers, you can plan your travel at the same time in such a way that you can share the ride, be it rental cars or taxi cabs.
  • Go for a hybrid rental car:
    If the only option in hand is to go for a hybrid rental car, ensure the associated rental costs lies within a firm’s or organization’s per diem; also, you can substantiate savings claims with reduced gas costs.
  • Stay in a Green hotel:
    Green hotels come as an excellent option for business or corporate travel.

Finally, always remember the three phrases that sums up green travel: “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

 

 

10 best Travel-related scenes from holiday movies

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Hollywood, over the years, has given the world some of the best travel movies. From Home Alone movie series, the biggest and the most exciting travel movie made, to the Scent of a Woman, Hollywood has a few both poignant as well awesomely ‘off da heezie’ travel-related scenes. Here is a compilation of a few Hollywood movies’ cut-scenes related to travel:

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
    Year of release: 1989
    Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeskbiJjCXI
  2. Home Alone
    Scene: In the van with the polka band
    Year of release: 1991
    Director: Chris Columbus
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9wo1_xEuug
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y60bLuV6J8
    Year of release: 2000
    Director: Ron Howard
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLvvkTbHjHI
    Scene: Jack’s flaming sleigh ride
    Year of release: 1993
    Director: Henry Selick
  5. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2pu0m9iTo4
    Scene: Two pillows
    Year of release: 1987
    Director: Henry Selick
  6. The Polar Express
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cht63QybtiA
    Scene: Train on ice
    Year of release: 2004
    Director: Robert Zemeckis
  7. A Christmas Story
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwF4qieecEM
    Scene: Flat tire
    Year of release: 2004
    Director: Robert Zemeckis
  8. A Charlie Brown Christmas
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=tvwybofO7UY
    Scene: Flat tire
    Year of release: 1965
    Director: Bill Melendez
  9. Scent of a Woman
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itr0jcR0S4s
    Scene: Blind guy driving a Ferrari
    Year of release: 1992
    Director: Martin Brest
  10. Elf
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSx4r8Gayb4
    Year of release: 2003
    Director: Jon Favreau

Are we done with it? Definitely not.  We may have missed out on quiet of lot of travel-related scenes from the world of Hollywood. Add more to these if you want. Holiday travel and movies go hand in hand. The above mentioned collection is a starter in this direction.

10 Apps to keep you safe while travelling – Part 2

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Safety is the biggest concern when you travel to new places and being absolutely safe is the key. Thanks to a few safety apps that do everything from sending alerts, storing medical information to notifying whether a particular action is covered by insurance or not.

image 46. Red Cross

From earthquakes to hurricanes to floods, the Red Cross App stands out in terms of allowing one to be prepared for the unforeseen natural calamities.

7. SafeTrek

The App is designed to rescue lives. If you feel unsafe, but can’t take the risk of calling up the local police, you can simply launch the SafeTrek personal safety App, holding your thumb down on the app’s safe button. Release it and enter your security code if you consider yourself unsafe. If you feel safe, do not type in the code and the police will be immediately notified of your location. This app is functional anywhere in the US (at the time of writing).

8. TravelSmart

Built by Allianz Global Assistance, TravelSmart is free and available for use both by Android as well as iOS users. It is packed with a host of helpful features if you are a policy holder, as you can gain complete access to all the information on your insurance policy. This makes it convenient for you to refer what your policy cover and what it doesn’t. And if you are not covered by any insurance, you still have lot more information left to make the most of.

9. Crime and Place

An iOS-only App, the Crime and Place, a paid App, comes with an interesting “Crime Compass” that allows users on the move to quickly view their surroundings. Other features include completely interactive heat map, search capabilities and GPS tracking. Keep tab on the notifications as they would require running GPS on the background, thereby dramatically reducing your mobile’s battery life.

10. ICE

In case of medical emergency, ICE is the safest best. The app keeps a tab of your medical conditions, your doctor’s or physician’s primary contact details and information related to insurance that can be easily accessed even if your phone is locked. You will also gain access to translation in 10 different languages.

What really is certain during travel is uncertainty.  You are lucky if every little thing turns out as planned on paper, though that’s a distant reality. While travelling abroad, your smartphone can turn out to be greatest asset in case of mishap or emergencies. Therefore, don’t forget to load all or some of the apps discussed in the two-part series of the post during your travel.

 

 

 

 

How to plan corporate business tour for your employees?

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If you are an employer entrusted with the task of carrying out travel programs for your organization or company, you really have a job cut out for yourself. Be it purely business trips, deal negotiation or attending conferences or seminars, any travel program should factor in the company’s size, culture and available budget and yes, there are some readymade hacks that help you in planning and organizing business trips all throughout the year.

business travel

Finalize the budget

You have to be absolutely clear and upfront on the financial side and come out with a realistic budget that will dictate the overall travel decision and planning. Having a planned budget ensures maximum security and that everything falls within manageable monetary terms. Therefore, planning a trip with a definite budget only helps you to travel without any hiccups and hassles.

Save money or tickets

Regardless of your mode of travel, you can save a lot on the ticket prices. This involves booking the tickets in advance so that you can save more by paying less in return. This can be achieved by meticulous, early planning so that you get enough time to book the ticket. Get in touch with us and we will keep you abreast of the best time and cheap travel deals.

Going for TMCs

There are several companies that approach travel management companies (TMCs) nowadays for a handful of cashbacks, reward points, deals, discounts, offers, tailored-packages, freebies and even complementary breakfasts. If you are a looking for a TMC, then make sure you research well and grab a few deals and custom business travel packages.

Keep your passports and paperwork ready

If you’re travelling abroad, ensure you are ready to fly with the updated passport and all the paperworks completed in time to steer clear of last minute confusion and needless hassle.  If you’re managing the trip, you need to keep a tab of the travelling employee’s expiration date and ask him or her to go for renewal if required. Also, ensure if the place the employees are required to travel needs visa or not.

All said and done, planning a corporate business travel program can prove tricky and you need to manage quite a lot of things to selecting the right travel agency, to fixing the date, to planning nitty gritty agenda — these, of course, in addition to making the trip a successful one and that everyone involved has a ball.