Wednesday December 13, 2017

Mathura: Ripe destination for domestic tourists

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source: indiatourismpoint.com
source: indiatourismpoint.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Mathura:  Mathura district has evolved from a major pilgrimage centre for the Hindus to a major tourism hub for visitors from within the country.

Around 10 crore people annually visit the holy places connected with Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha — mostly for circling the holy Goverdhan hill that the Lord Vishnu incarnate lifted on his little finger.

With a string of festivals taking place round the year, there are no seasonal ups and downs here, as the district is fast evolving as a favourite getaway for busy urbanites from the national capital, who wish to mix pleasure with religion.

In recent years, the Braj circuit that also includes Agra, has become very popular. Weekend tourism has picked up and visitors are combining pilgrimage with pleasure. Mathura’s profile is all set to further change as it has been listed as a heritage city for development.

“No other district in India attracts so many visitors — call them pilgrims or tourists — as Mathura district does. The pressure never ends. It is the favourite getaway point for people from Haryana, Punjab and Delhi who drive in through the Yamuna Expressway over the weekends or on festivals,” says restaurant owner Mahesh Kumar.

The ghats of the Yamuna river in Mathura and Vrindavan — where the evening ‘aartis‘ have become a major attraction for the pilgrims, the Mathura museum, the Birla Mandir, dozens of ashrams in Vrindavan, the temple of Bihari-ji, Rangji temple, the renovated Brahm Kund, the newly- constructed Prem Mandir and the ISKCON temple are among those figuring high on the list for tourists.

Vrindavan, with over 2,500 small and big temples, and scores of sprawling ashrams of the old and new-age gurus, is now just 90-minute drive from Noida via the Yamuna Expressway.

For the vegetarians, Mathura and Vrindavan provide a wide choice of foods and sweets made of milk. “No visitor forgets to buy the famous Mathura peda,” says Mangal Shukla, a panda in Vrindavan.

The transformation of the district into a major tourist hub has been facilitated by the state government, which is executing a dozen-odd infrastructural projects in the district to provide better and efficient connectivity, parking slots, shelter homes and a ‘haat’ for local products that include dresses for deities, garlands of diverse range, brass statues, hindolas and ritualistic paraphernalia. The silver industry of Mathura has emerged as a major revenue generator for the district.

“The Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority has taken up many projects for providing facilities to domestic tourists. Mathura parliamentarian Hema Malini wants to exploit the tourism potential of the district for economic development.

“She has adopted Radha’s birthplace Raval for development. Better road connectivity has helped increase tourist inflow to Gokul, Mahavan, Goverdhan, Barsana and Nandgaon,” say members of the Braj Bachao Samiti in Mathura.

Work on a ropeway to connect the Radha temple on the hill in Barsana has begun along with widening of the road from the Yamuna Expressway to Vrindavan. Even the road to Goverdhan is being beautified and the 21-km ‘parikrama marg‘ has been streamlined.

“In Goverdhan, a number of hotels have come up while Vrindavan too boasts of quality hotels. The hotel industry in Mathura is upbeat as business has picked up in recent years. A large number of political conventions are now regularly held in Vrindavan, which has brought the area on the tourism map,” says guest-house owner Rakesh Sharma.

Earlier, only the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh held its conferences in Vrindavan, but now the Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Choudhary Ajit Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too have been attracted by the charm of Vrindavan.

(With inputs from IANS)

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‘Sunny and I have a Beautiful Relationship’ : Hema Malini

Hema Malini is the second wife of veteran Bollywood actor Dharmendra

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Hema Malini
Hema Malini spoke about her relationship with step son Sunny Deol at the launch of her biography 'Beyond the dream girl'. IANS

Mumbai, October 17, 2017 : Veteran actress Hema Malini says she shares a “beautiful relation” with her stepson Sunny Deol. After her 2015 accident, Sunny was the first to visit and take care of her.

During the launch of her biography “Beyond The Dream Girl”, written by Ram Kamal Mukherjee, unveiled by Deepika Paduone, Hema shared one of the unspoken chapters of her life – her relationship with her stepsons.

She said: “Everyone wonders what kind of a relation we (she and Sunny) are having. It is very beautiful and cordial. Whenever it is necessary he (Sunny) is always there, along with Dharamji, especially when this accident happened.”

Hema Malini also added: “He (Sunny) was the first person to come to see me at home and he saw that the right doctor was there for the stitches that were done on my face.

“I was really taken aback to see him showing so much interest. That shows what kind of a relationship we are having.”

While Deepika and Hema had an interactive session where both shared how their journey was similar and yet different, given the fact that they were set in separate times in a ever changing film industry, according to Hema.

“Deepika is a really talented and hardworking actress but she is also fortunate to work with a director like Sanjay Leela Bhansali who has a grand budget to make a grand film like ‘Padmavati’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’.

“In my time, I did ‘Meera’ and ‘Raziya Sultana’, where the producer had zero budgets and my remuneration was Rs 2,000.”

ALSO READ Modi pens foreword for Hema Malini’s biography

After unveiling the cover of the book, the actress received a series of video messages from iconic actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Jitendra, Shatrughan Sinha on her birthday and for the launch.

At the event, Deepika read out a letter by Pamela Chopra, wife of late filmmaker Yash Chopra, where she wrote: “You are pristine and in your long career, you always showed grace and dignity, something very few actresses have.”

Hema Malini’s husband Dharmendra recited poetry for her on a video message. The actress’ daughter Esha Deol was present at the event along with her husband.

Published by Harper Collins Publishers India, the forward of the book “Beyond The Dream Girl” has been written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (IANS)

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Modi pens foreword for Hema Malini’s biography

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Hema Malini

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a “short, crisp and sweet” foreword for “Beyond The Dreamgirl”, an authorised biography of actress and BJP MP Hema Malini.

The book, by former editor of Stardust and producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, will be launched on October 16, when the “evergreen beauty” turns 69. Its launch also marks the celebration of Hema Malini’s glorious run of 50 years in Indian showbiz.

“Our PM has written very briefly in the book about his feelings for Hemaji. It’s short, crisp and sweet, not rubble and bubble. It’s an honour for me as an author and for Hemaji also that it is perhaps the first time that an active Prime Minister has written a foreword for a book on a Bollywood actor,” Mukherjee told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.

Having started her film career in 1968 with Raj Kapoor-starrer “Sapno Ka Saudagar”, she regaled movie buffs with roles in films like “Seeta Aur Geeta”, “Sholay”, “Dream Girl” and “Satte Pe Satta”. An accomplished classical dancer, Hema Malini earned the epithet of ‘Dreamgirl’ for her flawless beauty, and became a pioneering female superstar in an otherwise male-oriented film industry.

In 1999, Hema Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. She is now a BJP MP from Mathura constituency.

“I guess it’s all because of Hemaji’s credentials and contribution to art and cinema that Mr Modi agreed to pen the foreword. When I was interacting with his office, they were very happy that Hemaji did not just limit her talk in the book to Bollywood,” said Mukherjee, who had in 2005 released a coffee table book called “Hema Malini Diva Unveiled”.

“Beyond The Dreamgirl”, published by HarperCollins India, will give readers an in-depth look into her life.

“It is divided into 23 chapters, covering her childhood, teens, Bollywood, rise as an actor, romance, colleagues, marriage, her second innings, launching Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ — which she directed — her ballet, her political journey and spiritual journey. There are two chapters dedicated to her daughters Esha and Ahana.

“She has also spoken about her Agra accident and her singing career. We have summed it all up with a chapter called ‘Bliss’. This book will also have Hemaji’s family tree, which has not been published earlier, and there will be a lot of exclusive unseen photographs from her personal, professional and political spheres,” Mukherjee said.

The ageless talent has shared an insight into her life with Dharmendra as well as spoken on political figures like Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj.

How did Mukherjee get Modi to pen the foreword?

“It was not something thought of when I started writing the book two years ago. I started my research and wanted somebody else to do the foreword,” he said, without naming the film industry person whom he had approached.

“It was almost like a miracle to have Mr Modi write for us. When I discussed it with Hemaji, her first expression was, ‘I hope you know what you’re saying. I know you’re under pressure, but I think you’re losing your mind’.

“When I said there’s no harm in trying, she said, ‘You try and do whatever you want to do’. Then it was a process.”

The writer feels it’s the actress’ constant effort in promoting Indian classical music and dance through her ballets on Hindu mythological characters like Durga and Meera, which Modi appreciates.

“I think Mr Modi liked her inclination towards classical dance and music and how she promotes it at international platforms. I think this is a USP of Hema Maliniji, apart from she being Hema Malini. And I guess that’s also what justifies the title of the book.”(IANS)

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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS
‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)