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The gaming market in India has seen a tremendous boom in the last few years nd will continue to grow as the development and advancement in technology continues to happen even as we speak.
“The audience for the gaming industry is no longer limited to the gen x population but has opened its arms for all age groups which makes the industry a giant open market,” feels Sapna Bhutani, co-founder of Mystery rooms ï¿½ real-life escape games.
Bhutani co-founded Mystery Rooms with an aim to breaking the monotony of city life and offer experiences that encourage the “4 C’s” of 21st-century learning that is communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
IANSlife speaks to Bhutani who shares her views on how the pandemic gave a boost to the Indian gaming industry, and more.
What is your company offering?
Bhutani: Mystery Rooms is India’s first live escape experience has opened a window to wide experiences that a person can have today besides just watching a movie or going on a dinner night. A limited number of available options in entertainment and lack of choices to organize a unique personalized event with just your people around had made the city life monotonous.
Suitable for all age groups, it’s one of a kind experience where kids can play together with their parents or even grandparents. It is a means of safe adventure and adrenaline rush that you can experience without having to jump from the mountains or diving deep into the sea! Besides being an entertainment destination, Mystery Room is also a unique team-building exercise that every corporate is engaging in. Solving a Mystery Room mission involves brushing up all mandatory skills which end up making the teams efficient and all the more bonded.
Today, Mystery Rooms aims not only at breaking the monotony of the city life but at offering experiences that are fun, adventurous, highly immersive, captivating and that encourage the 4 C’s of 21st-century learning i.e. Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
How do you see the gaming industry in India taking shape?
Bhutani: India is one of the global leaders in the gaming industry owing to its vast user base. The industry has seen a tremendous boom in the last few years and will continue to grow as the development and advancement in technology continues to happen even as we speak. The audience for the gaming industry is no longer limited to the gen x population but has opened its arms for all age groups which makes the industry a giant open market. In the current challenging times, the gaming platforms have become virtual social spaces serving consumers’ desire to connect with their friends or family in a fun way.
What changes have the lockdown brought to the industry?
Bhutani: The pandemic has affected every industry in its way but has also created an opportunity for every business to grow online and make ways to reach its customers. Mystery Room has always been very cautious about the safety of its customers and employees and has adopted all possible measures to make the experience in our physical escape rooms safe and secure. Also, Mystery Rooms experiences are completely private which means that you need not come in contact with anyone outside your team.
The lockdown helped us widen our horizon and create experiences that our customers can enjoy being at home. This was indeed never a plan but we had to find a way to reach our customers and stay connected with them amidst these crazy times.
Mystery Rooms launched its first-ever online game in the initial days of the lockdown and was an instant hit. Since then we have broadened the choices of online experiences available at Mystery Rooms that one can enjoy from the comfort of their home being connected with their team members from anywhere in the world. Since these games are played online, they helped us penetrate the international market, and today we have regular customers from countries like the US, UK, Canada, etc. Owing to the amazing response we have received for these at-home experiences, we will continue to host them post-Covid.
With outdoor games getting limited during Covid times, how do you think mystery rooms can help?
Bhutani: Mystery Rooms is currently offering an array of online experiences to its customers across the globe which is as engaging and stimulating as any of our physical rooms. They not only allow you to connect with your friends but also help you challenge your wits while you are still bound to the boundaries. The following are our appreciated products for virtual birthday parties and online team events.
1. Mystery Kits: These are easy to set up Print And Play missions which one can enjoy with their family.
2. Live Streaming: A highly immersive experience hosted by our Gamemaster in our physical location through Life
3. Online Games: These anytime anywhere mystery games are available on our portal and are a hit amongst corporate.
4. Mystery Box: Delivered to your doorsteps Mystery Box is a ready-to-play escape room experience packed in a box.
You started in 2014, what difficulties did you face?
Bhutani: Anything that’s new in the market takes some time to absorb. Initially, it was difficult to break the ice between the consumer and this novel experience owing to the uniqueness of the concept and the high price factor. But the market was somehow waiting for a new entertainment product. Millennials love trying out things that are unique and challenging. With extensive marketing and the first few months of discouragement, we were finally able to make the mark. Word of mouth marketing worked amazingly and soon we had to plan expansion.
What are your plans for the future?
Bhutani: We have headed towards technology-driven rooms that are highly immersive and more interactive. Technologies like Augmented Reality are also being integrated into our future rooms. Presence of a character to make the mission all the more real is being introduced in our upcoming center in Gurgaon. The brand aims to reach all cities of India through the Franchise model to make the Mystery Rooms experience accessible in every corner of the country. (IANS/AD)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City