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The new properties will bring Wyndham's total number of hotels in India to 50.

One of the world's largest hotel franchising company, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, with approximately 9,000 hotels in nearly 95 countries, continues to expand its presence in India with the addition of four new hotels under the Ramada, Howard Johnson by Wyndham, and upscale Wyndham brands in sought-after and culturally-rich destinations such as Jaipur, Varanasi, Mohali, and Udaipur.

The new properties will bring Wyndham's total number of hotels in India to 50, and they are part of the company's ongoing commitment to the sub-Indian continent's growth, with about 30 hotels in the pipeline, eight of which are anticipated to open in 2022 alone.

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Indra, Panos Loupasis, Vice President Development for Middle East, Eurasia & Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts EMEA, said: "One of the fastest growing economies in the world, India brings immense potential for hospitality. These four new openings represent a significant milestone in our continued growth objectives to bring even more accommodation options all across the country. We look forward to continuing our strong growth trajectory here and in the wider Indian sub-continent and making travel possible for all in such a beautiful and diverse region.

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The Uttar Pradesh Tourism organised the Varanasi Hot Air Balloon Festival, for visitors to enjoy the joyous celebration of gods celebrating Diwal

By Olivia Sarkar

For most, Kaashi is the seat of the gods, one sees colourful throngs of pilgrims, a vast sacred-scape, and life-ending climactic ceremonies at the undulating ganga while navigating its crowded streets, which unfold like a broadway production and a costume drama all at once. Many seekers, literary personalities, old world flaneurs, and residents flock to the ghats at Varanasi to take their redemptive holy plunge; with its antique charm, it has served as a continual muse.

In its attempt to enchant its apostles and acolytes with another perspective, on the occasion of Dev Deepawali, the city presented another distinct perspective for travellers to enjoy its mystic appeal and floating lights on its river. The Uttar Pradesh Tourism organised the Varanasi Hot Air Balloon Festival, for visitors to enjoy the joyous celebration of gods celebrating Diwali, and see the city in all its glory from an aerial view.

hot air balloons The Festival adds this experiential repertory, in addition to its landlocked beauties. | File

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Aghoris are sadhus belonging to an unconventional clan who are worship Bhairava, a form of Shiva associated with death.

Varanasi is the holy city of pilgrimage of the Hindu community that lies on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. It was popularly known as Kashi the city of lights in ancient times. It is the spiritual capital of India, the holiest city of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism. With that, it is also the spiritual headquarters of the Aghori sadhus of India. Due to the prevalence of numerous religions in the history of India, today we see different cults and practices which have emerged from the main body. Each sub-culture has their individual beliefs, rituals, deities, and dictate their ways of living.

Aghori Sadhus is one of the most feared and simultaneously the most revered clan of them all. They lead a bizarre lifestyle that is beyond common understanding. Aghoris are sadhus belonging to an unconventional clan who are worship Lord Shiva, mainly Bhairava who is a form of Shiva associated with death. They engage in post-mortem rituals with their body covered in the ashes from the dead bodies. Their practices often stand against orthodox Hinduism.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Prime Minister launched Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) from his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) from his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi which will be one of the largest pan-India schemes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure.

The Prime Minister said that the scheme, estimated to cost Rs 64,000 crore, would make the health infrastructure self-reliant.

"Aarogya concept is needed in everyone's life. We should invest the maximum in physical and mental wellness but, sadly this was not done in the post-Independence period. Due attention was not paid and those who were in power, kept the healthcare system deprived and lacking," he said.

Modi said that the middle-class groups and the poor were the worst sufferers in the absence of adequate facilities at the grassroots level.

"This mission will solve these problems. We are focusing on hill states like Uttarakhand and Himanchal Pradesh and also the northeast. We will address the gaps," he said.

The Prime Minister said that special attention would be laid on early detection and 125 districts will have referral facilities.

Secondly, testing would also be stepped up and 730 districts will get integrated testing laboratories.

He said that research centres will also be upgraded and four new National Institute of Virology units would be set up so that the country can be ready to deal with new viral issues and the pandemic.

He said that as the health infrastructure developed, it would generate new employment opportunities too.

The Prime Minister also announced new development projects worth Rs 5,200 crore for Varanasi.

He said that in the past seven years, Kashi had undergone a change with the building of roads, ghats, bridges, parking lots, and cleaning of the Ganga and Varuna rivers.

"This could have been done earlier but the previous governments lacked political will," he said. (IANS/JB)


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