Pros and Cons of Increasing Trend of Buying Second Home

 Second Home is  a home used only at certain times of the year.

Increased disposable income coupled with high internet availability have resulted in an increase in second home ownership. These homes are used for spending weekends or holidays in hill stations.Some people own or rent farm houses in rural areas. It gives a good getaway from the grind of daily life. Spending some time in a scenic home is a great stress reliever.

The increase in second home ownership has bought some insecurity by locals in some areas. An increase in the number of second homes in an area can bring both benefits and problems.

Benefits:

  • provides a trade for local trades such as builders, plumbers, etc.
  • increased flow of tourists
  • existing homeowners have got an increase in the value of their homes
  • old properties in need of repair have been restored
  • tourists do bring in money to the area

Problems:

  • house prices increase due to increased demand
  • the phenomenon sometimes increases urban sprawl
  • some gentrification / improvements/modification carried out by second home owners are not in keeping the environmental norms. These modifications also sometimes alter the local character that is precious to the hill stations.

This phenomenon is worldwide and is catching up in India too

High-speed internet  availability at almost every place has also contributed to the phenomenon as now one can be in touch with his or her work and always connect from virtually anywhere on the globe


Posted in Cities, Development, India, Internet, opinions, Rural, Urban Studies | Leave a comment

The Ice Man of India

Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

Ladakh’s beautiful mountains might be a paradise for tourists, but ask the locals who struggle to meet their basic water needs every year. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons Ladakh’s beautiful mountains might be a paradise for tourists, but ask the locals who struggle to meet their basic water needs every year. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Rain is scarce in the snow-peaked Himalayas of northern India, and summers bring dust storms that whip across craggy brown slopes and sun-chapped faces. Glaciers are the sole source of fresh water for the Buddhist farmers who make up more than 70% of the population in this rugged range between Pakistan and China. But rising temperatures have seen the icy snow retreat by dozens of feet each year. To find evidence of global warming, the farmers simply have to glance up from their fields and see the rising patches of brown where, once, all was white. Knowing no alternative, they pray harder for rain and snow. But Chewang Norphel had the answer: artificial glaciers.

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Enchanting South India : Our South Tour

We  have taken our long-awaited south tour this year. Here are some of the highlights of the tour.

Ooty

Misty Nilgiris

Misty Nilgiris

Udhagamandalam (sometimes Ootacamundsometimes abbreviated Udhagai and better known as Ooty, is  a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. Originally occupied by the Todas, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. Today, the town’s economy is based on tourism and agriculture, along with the manufacture of medicines and photographic film. Tea, spices and hand-made chocolates are famous.

A Fleet of deers on Road to Ooty

A Fleet of deers on Road to Ooty

An Elephant on road to ooty

An Elephant on road to ooty

On our way to Ooty,we crossed Bandipur National park and encountered many animals on road side.

botanical garden

Botanical Garden Ooty

The Government Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Tamil Nadu state, India laid out in 1848. The Gardens, divided into several sections, cover an area of around 22 hectares, and lie on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak. The garden has a terraced layout.

It ascends the slopes of the hill at an elevation of 2250–2500 metres above Mean Sea Level. The garden enjoys a temperate climate.It has many rare trees, a very old fossilised tree being one of them.

Shopping Near Botanical Garden

The shops are quite good. There are hordes of good spices, fruits and homemade chocolates to choose from. But we had a bitter experience. One of the shopkeepers cheated us. Even after taking the payment they refused to hand over the chocolates insisting that they had already given. Later we came to know that this scuffle is the regular occurrence and Ooty Police have given instructions to install CCTV cameras in all the shops, big or small.

Nilgiri Mountain Railwaywpid-20150607_115257.jpg

Long Line to Board the Train

Long Line to Board the Train

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a railway in Tamil Nadu built by the British in 1908 and was initially operated by the Madras Railway. The railway still employs  its fleet of steam locomotives. . In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as “Mountain Railways of India. After it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcingthe abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years, diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section. It is also a heritage railway like Toy Train of Simla (you can read about it here).

The experience of the ride was wonderful but getting a ticket is  a difficult one. You have to  stand the line for hours. But there is an interesting catch. You can also get the tickets from Shiv Sagar Inn situated across the road.

There are two times of tickets, first class tickets and second class tickets. There is not much difference in seating arrangement but to board the train with a second class ticket there was a very long line.

Tickets can also be booked from IRCTC but that should be done around 2 months in advance.

Boating in Ooty Lake

Ooty lake is located in Ooty in the Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India. It covers an area of 65 acres. The Boat house situated by the lake, which offers boating facilities to tourists, is a major tourist attraction in Ooty.

 Ooty lake is an artificial lake constructed by John Sullivan, in 1824. The water flowing down mountain streams in the Ooty valley was dammed to form the lake. The lake became empty on three occasions when it breached its bund. The lake was originally intended to be used for fishing with ferries being used to travel across the lake. It gradually shrunk from its original size giving place to the current bus stand race course, and the lake park. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation on behalf of the Tourism Department took the possession of the lake in 1973, for providing boating facilities as a tourist attraction.

The lake is surrounded by groves of Eucalyptus trees with a railway line running along one shore. During the summer season in May, boat races and boat pageantry are organised for two days.

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The boat house, which adjoins the lake was opened by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC). Boating is the prime attraction at the lake. The boat house offers boating facilities with Paddle boats, Row boats, and Motor boats. It also features a garden, a mini train and an amusement park.The other notable features include a canteen run by the TTDC and pony rides in front of the boat house.

Sadly, according to a study conducted by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Ooty lake is the most polluted water body in the state and its water is not fit for potable purposes.

Coonoor

tea leaf

Tea Leaves in Conoor

Coonoor  is a Taluk and a municipality in the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for its production of Nilgiri tea. Coonoor is located at an altitude of 1,850 m above sea level and is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty. It is an ideal base for a number of trekking expeditions leading into the Nilgiris. The Nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport about 79 km from Coonoor town. the best way to reach Coonoor from Ooty is Nilgiri Railways. We reached here by train and took a taxi tour of tea estates and other destinations. Taxi rides are available at affordable rates.

Charminar

The Charminar is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.  The landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad, listed among the most recognized structures of India. The Charminar is situated on the east bank ofMusi river.To the west lies the Laad Bazaar, and to the southwest lies the richly ornamented granite Makkah Masjid.  

Famous Pearl Jewellery of hyyderabad is available in market near Hyderabad. Tasty and juicy Munjal fruits are also sold around Charminar.

Golconda Fort

wpid-20150115_115006.jpgGolconda, also known as Golkonda or Golla konda (“shepherd’s hill”), a fort of Southern India and capital of medieval Golconda Sultanate (c.1518–1687), is situated 11 km west of Hyderabad, Telangana. The region is known for the mines that have produced some of the world’s most famous gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, Hope Diamond and theNassak Diamond.

The fort is very green and looks formidable. We have also seen some innovative use of solar energy in the fort.

Salar Jung Museum

Salar Jung Museum

Salar Jung Museum

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Musical Clock at Salar Jung Museum

Veiled Rebecca  at Salar jung

Veiled Rebecca at Salar jung

The Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi river in the city of Hyderabad in India. It is one of the three National Museums of India. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artefacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. The museum’s collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family.

Timings

All days of the week except Friday

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

MAANU

wpid-20150612_063757.jpgMaulana Azad National Urdu University is a Central University located in the city of Hyderabad in India. It was named after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first Minister of Education, a freedom fighter in India’s struggle for independence, and a scholar of Islam and Urdu literature. The university was established by an Act of the Parliament in January 1998, with an All India jurisdiction. The University has been awarded “A” Grade by National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC). It is a unique university in the regard that the university is established to promote a particular language.

Necklace Road and Standing Buddha

One of the prominent tourist spots of Hyderabad, Necklace Road presents a fun-filled and calm environment to spend some relaxed moments. Built in the same way as the Queen’s Necklace of Mumbai, the Necklace Road of Hyderabad also resembles a necklace.

Stretched across a length of three-kilometer, the Necklace Road connects three major parks of the city, namely NTR Gardens, Lumbini Park and Sanjeevaiah Park. The road runs from NTR Gardens and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad to Sanjeevaiah Park in Secunderabad. And from Sanjeevaiah Park it runs to the Tank Bund Road which is later connected to the NTR Gardens. This gives it a shape of a necklace.

Between 1983 and 1989, N. T. Rama Rao served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. During his tenure. During his visit to New York, he saw the Statue of Liberty and was inspired by the efforts to restore it. He said, “I wanted something like that … That would have been my contribution to society. He commenced the Statue of Buddha at Hussain Sagar.

We have taken the ride of Necklace Road on a drizzling day. It was a wonderful experience.

Ramoji Film City

The Ramoji Film City) in India is located in Anajpur village, Hayathnagar Mandal in Hyderabad, Telangana. At 1666 acres, It is the largest integrated film city in the world.It is also a popular tourism and recreation centre, containing both natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park. The Outer Ring Road Phase 2 has acquired lands at the entrance and is set to intersect the city.

Nariyal Paani, Haleem and Hyderabadi Biryani

Prepration for Haleem in Ramadan at Al Saba Restaurant iat Hyderabad

Preparation for Haleem in Ramadan at Al Saba Restaurant iat Hyderabad

Hyderabadi Biryani is world famous and haleem is just terrific. Ramadan were approaching so preparations for Haleem making were in full swing.And not to forget to mention  coconut water, drank innumerable coconuts.

A Roadside Vendor

A Roadside Vendor

Our Struggle to Catch The Flight

Due to rain and traffic we were rushed to catch our flight. Reached Hyderabad Airport only 30 minutes before the take-off. Indigo people were helpful and thanks are due to them.

Posted in Cities, Countries, Glimpses of Our Cities, India, Travel | 2 Comments

Six Best Reasons to Choose my Favourite Asus Zenfone 2 as your Next Smartphone

I love Asus Zenfone 2 smartphone as it gives me the option of multi-tasking and I can do many other tasks in the best way using this smartphone. Asus Zenfone 2 has already become my favorite smartphone, and I think that you too may love to purchase Asus Zenfone 2 as your next Android smartphone. This post will make you understand that why I’m recommending my friends to go for Asus Zenfone 2 smartphone.

1. Amazing Design with Controls on Back

The most amazing thing about Asus Zenfone 2 is its amazing Arc design which makes the smartphone look very stylish. You have got the control options on the back of the smartphone and that’s why adjusting volume, taking photos becomes easier. It is very easy to hold as it is built perfectly.

2. High Quality Display Screen

I love to play high definition videos on my smartphone especially for entertainment purpose. This is the reason I went for Asus Zenfone as its 5.5 inch display screen can provide me with the best type of experience. The 5.5 inch display screen of Asus Zenfone 2 ZE550ML is a HD IPS display screen which comes with resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, while the display screen of Zenfone 2 ZE551ML comes with FHD IPS display screen having resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

3. Powerful and on an Affordable Price

Within Rs 20,000, it is one of the best smartphones as it is more powerful as compared to some of the other smartphones in the same price range. One of the variants of my favorite Asus Zenfone 2 comes with 1.8GHz 64 Bit Intel Atom Z3560 processor, while another variant comes with 2.3GHz 64 Bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor.

If your budget is low, then you can go with the Asus Zenfone 2 which comes with 2GB RAM. People having no problem of budget can go with Asus Zenfone 2 variant which comes with 4GB RAM.

4. ZenUI Experience

Asus’z ZenUI mobile interface will make you fall in love with my favorite phone. I’m easily able to customize my Zenfone 2 as it comes with multiple themes and gives the option to change wallpapers easily. One of the most amazing things is that there is no need to press the power button again and again as one can wake up the screen just by tapping twice on it.

5. Camera with PixelMaster Technology

Rear facing camera of 13 megapixel which comes with PixelMaster technology allows me to take best photos and that’s why I have to never carry a digital camera with me. Even the 5 megapixel camera of Zenfone 2 is an amazing camera as it comes with 85 degree wide-angle lens which will make you take some of the best selfies.

6. 3000 mAh Battery and Fast Charging Possible

Asus Zenfone 2 comes with powerful 3000 mAh battery which shall provide you with usage of a full day or even more. Zenfone 2 comes with Power Turbo feature which shall allow you to charge your smartphone much faster than you might have ever done.

If you want to “See What Others Can’t See”, then you definitely need to go with Asus Zenfone 2 as immediately as you can. According to me, Asus Zenfone 2 is definitely much better than Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 6. This Asus smartphone has always been in demand and that’s why you should buy it before the stock ends.

Your Reasons toBuy Asus Zenfone 2

Do let me know the reason which makes you fall in love with my Asus Zenfone 2. If you’re already using Zenfone 2, then you should let me know the type of experience you’re having with this smartphone. Zenfone 2 has already become the favorite smartphone of many and now you know the reasons for it.

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Drizzling in Aligarh: It is Soo Refreshing After Scorching Heat in Ramadan

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wpid-20150625_094759.jpgIt was refreshing to have rain drops pouring after bearing the scorching heat in Ramadan. It is a welcome sight. I was tempted to go for a drive . Took some pictures and enjoyed the natural cool air after so long….

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IMPORTANCE OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE FOR CAT EXAM

CAT is a national approved examination conducted all over India for MBA aspirants. They give every student a fair opportunity to get admission in their favorite business school. The caliber of a candidate is measured on the basis of the percentile scored in the test and then a series of interviews are conducted.

The entrance exam has many parts and one of the most major parts is that of general knowledge. This section is designed to test the general aptitude of the candidate and gain a better insight on their problem solving skills. This section includes mostly general knowledge based questions and mostly on the current on-going events.

Below mentioned are some of the reasons why your general knowledge should be strong in order to crack any CAT examination.

  • MAJOR SCORING AREA

GK is something that we all should have in order to live a life with complete awareness about our surroundings. This is also crucial and most scoring section of your CAT examination. Other sections are related to technical subjects and you can easily make common mistakes. In this section, there will be direct question relating to general knowledge and have very less room for tricky questions.

  • PREPARES YOU FOR INTERVIEW

General knowledge is also a very big part of your interview that is conducted after you are selected on basis of your percentile. Students with fewer percentiles can be preferred over a higher percentile student, if their interview is better. Most of the interview part will be about you and the current general knowledge questions. Have a strong GK will not only prepare you for the written test but will also be highly beneficial during your interview.

  • LIFT YOUR PERCENTILE

CAT exams are not extremely difficulty, but they are tricky. To increase your chances of success, you have to work on area where you have less chance to fail. This area is that of the general knowledge section in the written CAT test. It is highly scoring and will give your percentile and immense boost.

  • MOST EASY SECTION

The general knowledge section is considered as the simplest area in the test. It is less time-consuming as the questions are direct, you don’t need to perform any calculations and if you know the answer, you can easily mark it effectively. It will consume less time and will allow you to score more for an improved percentile.

The importance of general knowledge to crack CAT cannot be more emphasized upon. It is useful in the written as well as the interview and will help you gain more confidence. Everything about getting higher score in CAT is simple but tricky and needs to be understood before its implementation. During your CAT preparation days, focus more on your general knowledge and deliver better CAT results.

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