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Whats your weekend plan? Care for a trip? Wear your sneakers, pack your backpacks, and escape the daily monotony of life. Read, sing, and dance to the tunes of your favourite song. Pick your buddies, drive through the astounding landscapes, and live in the moment. The beautiful destinations around you are beckoning you to experience the leisure of life.
If you are wondering where to go, here are some beautiful accommodations for an unbeatable weekend getaway that can be explored with your friends and family. While 2020 gave us several long weekends, the Covid-19 pandemic put a full stop to all our travel aspirations. However, the tides are changing. With staycations, revenge travel, weekend getaways gaining traction, this exclusive list of accommodations is a great blend of cosy and relaxing:
OYO Belvilla, Jaipur
For those looking at exploring the regional cuisines, witnessing the unrivalled architecture, experiencing the royal heritage, the pink city is the place for you. From Hawa Mahal to City Palace, from aesthetical bazaars to the evening at the happening Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur has all you need to experience lifestyle, culture, and history. While you're in Jaipur and looking at a comforting place to stay, Belvilla The Umaid Vilas Royal Heritage Haveli is the right place for you.
For those looking at exploring the regional cuisines, witnessing the unrivalled architecture, experiencing the royal heritage, the pink city is the place for you. Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash
The Granary: Wooden Cabin on stilts, Coorg
For those seeking a serene break from the hubbub of city life, Coorg might just be the place for you. The timeless scenery, the friendly local community, the sheer bliss of nature is bound to stir your soul. You can experience the tranquillity of Coorg with its world-famous coffee. While you're in Coorg and looking for a cosy place to stay, check out The Granary: wooden cabin on stilts!
While you're in Coorg and looking for a cosy place to stay, check out The Granary: wooden cabin on stilts! Wikimedia
OYO Belvilla, Gurugram
For those in the national capital region and seeking a short-haul stay, look no further, Gurugram is the right place for you. A cup of tea in a private villa amid the lush green trees, surrounded by the scenic beauty of nature, at complete peace, with your loved ones is all that you need. While you're looking at spending this kind of evening in luxury, comfort, and peace, the Belvilla Private Villa may just be the right stay for you.
Grey-headed Swamphen (Purple Swamphen) - Porphyrio poliocephalus in Basai Wetland near Gurgaon (Gurugram), Haryana, India. Wikimedia
Airbnb Penthouse, Goa
For those seeking to take a deep dive on the pretty beaches and enjoy the exhilarating nightlife, Goa is the place for you. The scenic journey, the lush green trees, the wind that plays with your hair, the thrill of the night, the experience among new people, Goa is sure to leave you wonderstruck. While in Goa, you can choose to stay at Striking Penthouse With a Private Plunge Pool for an experience of a lifetime.
For those seeking to take a deep dive on the pretty beaches and enjoy the exhilarating nightlife, Goa is the place for you. Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash
OYO Belvilla, Udaipur
For those seeking a royal experience in the ethereal beauty of nature, Udaipur is the place for you. The enigma of the royal palaces, the picturesque lakes, the charming architecture will immerse you in an extraordinary experience. While you're in Udaipur and seeking an incredible place to justify the beauty of the City of Lakes, OYO Belvilla, Udaipur is the place for you.
For those seeking a royal experience in the ethereal beauty of nature, Udaipur is the place for you. Photo by Jainam Mehta on Unsplash
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Pack, backpack, jaipur, coorg, gurugram, goa, udaipur
A total of 43.8 per cent respondents in the ABP-CVOTER-IANS BATTLE FOR THE STATES - WAVE 1 survey feel that their 'life and the country both are in a poor state'. The survey was conducted in the five states that will go to the polls next year -- Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
The survey found that overall, 13.3 per cent said the 'country is moving forward but not my life', 29.3 per cent said the 'country is moving forward and my life too', while 5 per cent said that 'life is improving but the country is in poor state'. In the 'country is moving forward but not my life' category, 23.3 per cent respondents are from Manipur, followed by 11.2 per cent from UP, 11.1 per cent from Uttarakhand, 7 per cent from Goa and 2.8 per cent from Punjab.
The survey found that overall, 13.3 per cent said the 'country is moving forward but not my life' Photo by Ayaneshu Bhardwaj on Unsplash
In the 'country is moving forward and my life too' section, Goa tops with 40.5 per cent, followed by Uttarakhand at 36.8 per cent, UP at 31.4 per cent, Manipur at 27.2 per cent and Punjab at 10.5 per cent. In the 'my life is improving but the country is in poor state' category, 11.8 per cent respondents are from Manipur, 8 per cent from Punjab, 6.3 per cent from Uttarakhand, 4.1 per cent from UP, and 2 per cent from Goa.
In the 'my life and country both are in a poor state' section, Punjab has highest number of respondents at 75 per cent, followed by 49.6 per cent in UP, 44.5 per cent in Goa, 43.9 per cent in Uttarakhand and 33.3 per cent in Manipur. The overall sample size for the survey was 81,006 in five states covering 690 Assembly seats. This state poll is part of the largest and definitive independent sample survey tracker series carried out in India over the last 22 years, conducted by independent international polling agency CVoter. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur
Wild boars, a species which the Goa government wants classified as 'vermin', are a major prey for leopards in Goa's wild as well as habitation fringe areas, a study conducted by the Goa Forest department and the Goa University's Zoology department has revealed. The study conducted in both protected forest areas as well as human dominated areas has also revealed that domesticated animals do not constitute a major part of leopards' diet, despite the increasing trend of leopards straying into inhabited areas over the last few years.
"It can be interpreted from our data that although leopards were reported close to human habitations throughout the year, their dependence on domestic animals was low," said the study by Bipin S. Phal Desai, Avelyno D'Costa, M.K. Praveen Kumar and S.K. Shyama.
"This study also indicates that the wild species that the leopards preyed upon in protected areas were also present in forested areas close to human habitations. This could be the reason for the presence of leopards in human-dominated areas with a low dependence on domestic animals," it added.
"Scat analysis of 55 scats collected from these areas revealed that wild boar constituted a major proportion of the prey biomass (29 per cent), followed by chital (25 per cent), Indian Crested porcupine (15 per cent), barking deer (13 per cent), grey langur (5.6 per cent), Bonnet macaque (5.4 per cent), sambar (4.1 per cent), and Indian hare (3.1 per cent)," the study said.
The diet profile analysis suggests that leopards preferred small-sized prey, which accounted for 77 per cent of its diet, while medium-sized prey and large-sized prey accounted for 33 per cent and 1.1 per cent only.
"Domestic animals (dog, pig, cat and goat) constituted only a minor portion (33 per cent) of the leopard's diet. The dog was the most preyed-upon domestic animal (17 per cent) followed by pig (11 per cent), goat (2.7 per cent), and cat (2 per cent). Of the nine wild prey species observed from scat analysis, six were identified in scats collected from human-dominated areas," the study added.
It also said most of the incidents of human-animal conflict involving leopards occurred during the species' pre-breeding season which stretched through August to October, which triggers movement of the wild cats into normally uncharted territories.
"This pattern correlates with the breeding pattern of leopards when wandering males and sub-adult cubs (which have just left their mothers to fend for themselves) come in conflict with humans," the study added.
"The conflict during January and February could be mainly due to the movement of females in the post-birth phase. These leopards, which continuously change their location for the safety of the young cubs, come in contact with humans employed in cashew plantations and other agricultural activities," it said.
Rapid deforestation and urbanization have led to increasing human-wild animal conflict throughout the state.
Recently, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the state Assembly that the Goa government was in the process of planting fruit bearing trees in forest areas and other land available for plantations to prevent wild animals from entering human habitation.
Some years ago peacocks featured on the state Agriculture Ministry's wish-list of vermin species along with monkeys and bisons, with farmers claiming the species were damaging crops extensively. While peacock is the national bird, the bison is the state animal.
Keywords: Wild Boar, prey, Leopard, Goa, wildlife, urbanization
Earth Day 2021 was celebrated yesterday and instead of reminiscing about the trips you have taken in the past twelve months, for many, it is a time to reflect on how future travels can have a more positive impact, both on the environment and on local communities.
After a year, the pandemic has amped people’s desire to travel more sustainably in the future and travelers have been re-evaluating what steps to take to ensure they are playing their part in helping to protect the planet. As per research from Booking. com, over 53 percent of global travelers admitted that because of coronavirus they want to travel more sustainably, with travelers in India (70 percent), Brazil (71 percent), and Colombia (74 percent) being especially committed to this.
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This eco-conscious determination is impacting traveler behaviors even once they arrive at their destination, as they pledge to continue to act with sustainability in mind. The travel platform’s research also shows that 98 percent of Indian travelers are vying to stay in an eco-accommodation at least once. It has curated a list of seven eco-friendly stays in India to help inspire travelers in making more sustainable travel choices when it becomes safe to do so.
The Kumaon (Binsar, Uttarakhand)
Surrounded by undulating hills and imbued with simple elegance, The Kumaon is spread across 10 luxurious suites, nestled in pairs across five structures with private overlapping terraces offering views to the Great Himalayan range. This eco-property is built on the principle of environmental consciousness by sourcing local materials such as pinewood for construction. This principle reflects on the design and the furniture as well, imbibing the local tradition of weaving woolen fabrics for beddings and furnishings.
Travelers can enjoy organic seasonal vegetables that are harvested at property terraces and open spaces, making the property truly sustainable in its approach. Furthermore, the property incorporates an effective rainwater harvesting system and a drainage system that channels the water to a large holding tank at the bottom of the site.
Blackberry Hills (Munnar, Kerala)
Located amid the lush valleys of Munnar, Blackberry Hills is one of the most aesthetically alluring resorts that has been built. Spread across 15 acres of land which comprises 16 cottages, this eco-friendly resort promotes co-existence and responsible tourism among travelers. As a part of its sustainability initiatives, Blackberry Hills drives awareness among travelers with regards to the conservation of life to protect the native flora and fauna. The accommodation was also recognized by the International Vetiver Network for their efforts in soil conservation through the use of an indigenous Vetiver system. When it is safe to travel, one can book a stay at the peaceful property that has wooden floors and furnishing which gives it an earthy feel, be closer to nature and also be a part of their efforts to maintain an ecological balance.
Anuraag Villa (Jaipur, Rajasthan)
Nestled within a beautiful garden, Anuraag Villa in Jaipur offers a blend of traditional touch with a hint of contemporary vibe, while incorporating sustainable practices. The villa emphasizes creating awareness through various initiatives such as energy management, water management, and waste management and aims to signify the use of eco-friendly, recycled, and environmental-friendly cleaning products which are increasingly efficient and sustainable. The staff at the villa is also devoted to reducing any harmful practices that will lead to an environmental imbalance in the long run.
Elephant Valley, Eco-Friendly Farm (Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu)
The Elephant Valley Eco Farm Hotel is a nature reserve, organic farm, and plantation located across 100 acres in the Palni Hills, Kodaikanal. Once an abandoned coffee plantation farm, the property has now been revived not only to offer a beautiful retreat but also to minimize the impact of the retreat on the environment. Offering 20 uniquely designed bungalows, the Valley restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using organically farmed vegetables.
The property consists of sustainable alternatives like solar lights, low consumption bulbs, and firewood-fuelled hot water showers. These energy-saving substitutes that have been placed in the property give a great message to travelers about sustainability and how one can go environmentally friendly without burning any hole in the pocket.
Mela Kothi — The Chambal Safari Lodge (Agra, Uttar Pradesh)
Mela Kothi in Agra is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining, family-owned property where luxury meets the wild. Built on a 500-year heritage, Mela Kothi is known for many reasons apart from its graceful interiors and beautiful gardens. The property promotes tree plantations to protect the rich wildlife in and around the area. This nature lovers paradise is home to around 198 species of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. During 2006-2015, six acres of the property’s land was dedicated to developing a forest nursery to supply reforestation drives. Travelers can add this property to their checklist to witness the coexistence of nature and luxury, and contribute to Mela Kothi’s sustainability efforts.
Heritage Resort (Hampi, Karnataka)
Heritage Resort is a luxury resort close to the famed ruins of Hampi. The decor of the resort is rustic chic with walls painted with murals that reflect local art and architecture. With a negative carbon footprint, this beautiful resort has a special focus on being sustainable, eco-friendly, and offering a helping hand to the local economy. The art here has been procured from local artisans to help the local community and the resort also tries to encourage and preserve the local traditional art forms by organizing a local art form performance for the guests almost every day.
Heritage Resort also has four acres of organic plantation to grow their own vegetables and fruits. All the excess vegetables are used to create value-added products such as pickles, jellies, juices, and so on. Travelers can enjoy a feeling of space close to nature in this environmentally friendly-sustainable resort.
Bhakti Kutir (Goa)
Designed by a couple with a vision for eco-friendly life, Bhakti Kutir is located amid the coconut grooves of Palolem and Patnem. The resort has 22 back-to-nature cabanas that are crafted using local materials such as rice straw, coconut wood, and bamboo. The resort has incorporated several initiatives to reduce power consumption to preserve the environment. In a truly sustainable approach, Bhakti Kutir has linked the toilets to a robust compost system where the wastewater is reused to maintain the surrounding gardens. The property is ideal for yoga retreats and hosts regular workshops for travelers’ wellbeing. (IANS/SP)