Dubai – Take another look.

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Area around Dubai Mall

A revisit to Dubai is plausible because it is rare to see a city transform so rapidly from a small fishing creek to the poster city of the world in one single generation. Its proximity and connectivity from India make it an obvious choice when one wants to think of a brief no hassle, vacation that doesn’t beg for too much of planning.

A few years ago people would remember Dubai for its Sheikh Zayed Road, where the array of concrete and glass structure gave a feel of slimmer, taller, Manhattan. The Dubai mall, where one is bound to get lost in 1200 brands sprawling across 1million Sq./m. The area around the mall with Burj Khalifa superimposed in the background of Bellagio like fountains beckoned Las Vegas. While sauntering on the sands of Marina beach with trendy restaurants on the boardwalk felt like a scaled down Miami. And the native Arabic experience where one would go for a desert safari, ride a camel and watch a belly dance in the dunes. It felt like a trip around the world in a nutshell.

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One of the malls of Dubai

But why bear the guilt of revisiting one place when there is a whole wide world to explore?

Maybe because Dubai is a young city, growing to its adolescence with very high energy. Unlike other travel destinations that had been already built and now preserved to perfection Dubai is actively competing in the race of making and breaking records-at times its own and sometimes taking everything a notch higher from what mankind had already achieved. And that thought wouldn’t disappoint anyone.

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Marina Area

There are plenty of new additions in the span of five years, like The Glow Garden, the Miracle Gardens, The Dubai canal, largest indoor amusement park and the most recent the Dubai frame. All these conspicuously prove that Dubai isn’t merely a city of skyscrapers and gigantic malls. It has also become the hotspot for party lovers. Be it the coolest beach parties or the hippest nightclubs it broke all notions of conservatism when people would think of a Mideast nation. All this development did not happen in isolation, it changed all that was preexisting, the roads, the skyline and the people. Dubai portrayed itself as a global city; with less than 15% of native population, it has become a potpourri of people and cultures from across the world.

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Miracle garden

The recently completed projects are now ready to be overshadowed by the superlative ones in the pipeline. To quote a few: Another tallest tower, underwater villas, Mall of the world, the biggest animal safari, biggest fashion street, floating Venice.

These projects are getting built with an edge of courage and fearlessness right in the middle of a desert with no rivers or suitable soil to hold such structures. Traveling back home watching from the little window of the flight, the city fades away in the dunes keeping the promise that it’s never going to be the same if you come with new eyes and fresh mind.IMG_3384

 

Some useful tips and information:

  • Dubai is a winter destination for tourists. Travel between the months of October to April places like glow and miracle garden are a winter affair only.
  • For commuting locally a Nol card is a good option, which includes all the modes of transport.
  • Book  “Burj Khalifa at the top” tickets in advance as it is mostly sold out in peak season.
  • Be clear in  thought while booking an accommodation. If shopping and tall buildings are your things, stay close to Sheikh Zayed road, if clubbing and nightlife is what you are looking for stay close to JBR area and if luxury and seclusion only then go the palm side.
  • Take a cruise from Marina to Palm to see the skyline from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jaipur literature festival- “Of the writers the storytellers​ and the dream sellers

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One would be hard-pressed to find a city like Jaipur that exudes so much heritage, culture, and art during the times of the literature festival hosted every year. My very earthbound brain suddenly generates an ability to curve away from the mundane life and an intellectual feeling is just a byproduct of attending the sessions for 4 days. Being in the top 10 places to visit in India I was never able to see my city from a travelers perspective but the fest is the time where I see people coming from all parts of the world and makes me wonder what is it that brings them here?

Perfect weather of January for basking sunshine, perfect folks of the city to take pride in hosting such an event and the perfect venue-“The Diggi Palace” (Diggi palace accommodation ), decorated like an explosion of colors. Maybe it’s the vibrations of those colors, which create an osmosis of ideas in the mind. Then how can one not become a writer, or at least feel like one?

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Fair enough to make it so colorful because being a “Jaipurite” I understand colors beat like heartbeat within us. We think, dream and dress in colors, colors that my friends from other countries usually shy away from.

Those puppets hanging in front of alleys of forts of Amer, those bangles displayed in shops of Johri Bazaar, those bandhej stoles flowing in the breeze of Bapu Bazaar and the colorful turbans moving in the streets of old city area when you watch them from those terraces and pavilions upstairs, they all scream VIBGYOR.

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To complement this theme parts of the city and the iconic buildings were illuminated with colorful lights owing to the Republic day celebrations.

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One can just attend the literature festival to enjoy the variety of people from bibliographers to philosophers and their attires. Men dressed in crop top and saris, to women peacocking fusion fashion, the intellectuals dressed in khakis and kurtas and the thinkers dressed in rags and pajamas.

We can see every form of possible art and ideas sprouting in the central lawn- an architect sketching a cusp of the arch, a painter painting the colors of flowers aspiring musicians playing the ukulele to launch a music album of his own, budding poets trying to  complete the broken proses, and the rest of us discussing controversies stirred in the sessions. Even the festival bazaar was full of unusual ideas from camel milk soap, Chantilly stoles and artisans ice creams everything was speaking art.

Few things to remember for the fest:

  • Do an online registration, which closes four days prior to the festival.Jaipur Literature Festival
  • Take a cab to the venue rather than self-driven cars to avoid parking hassles.
  • Start your day early to avoid the crowd and if you really want to listen (it gets seriously crowded after 1Pm)
  • Attend the alternate events of music and theatre, which happen in the evening and are pre mentioned on its official site.
  • Grab a seat early morning if you want to attend few consecutive sessions in the same venue.

And  being done a week after when I am trying to hold onto the more transfigured form of me from the wisp of the wind of day to day life, all I could say is a visit to Jaipur is recommended not only because of its monuments, its colorful bazaars, its scrumptious food but also to be a part of Jaipur literature festival.

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