3 Hot Spots For Culture, Views and Festivals

CULTURE

UNWRAPPING PITTSBURGH

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Andy Warhol Museum – Pittsburgh

Andy Warhol’s original selfie was sold in London last month. Fans of the pop artist may want to schedule a visit to Pittsburgh, home of The Andy Warhol Museum – the largest museum in the US dedicated to a single artist. While there, check out the famed dinosaurs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, see two-wheeled mania at Bicycle Heaven and enjoy Cartoon inspiration at ToonSeum, this city is a museum treasure trove.

FUTURE

ADMIRE THE VIEW

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Ras al-Khaimah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Fan of spectacular sunsets? Then Ras Al Khaimah should be on your visit list. Quickly becoming the adventure capital of the UAE, plans for a brand new observation deck close to the summit of Jebel Jais have just been announced. Clocking in at almost 2,000 metres above sea level, in addition to having several viewing platforms, the deck will also serve as a base camp for hikers .and bikers looking to test themselves on the rugged Al Hajar Mountain range.

FESTIVALS

ART AND MUSIC

If you haven’t hit a summer festival yet, make a beeline for Cyprus where the inaugural Living Colour Music & Arts Festival kicks off on a  August. Taking place in Ayia Napa, expect two days of music by some of the world’s top DJs (the likes of  Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Nicky Romero) coupled With fantastic live art installations, interactive games, gorgeous Culinary offerings and sweeping Mediterranean views.

Slovenia: An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Dream Destination

From scenic alpine peaks to a beautiful coastline, from the mysterious Karst plateau riddled with underground caves to charming walled towns—Slovenia is a delightful discovery in this part of Europe. The country, which lies on the sunny side of the Alps, also has a vibrant folk culture and plenty of adventure activities. Here’s what you can do.

NATURAL RETREATS – Slovenia is one of the world’s most sustainable tourist destinations. Take a tour of the Triglav National Park and get a good view of the 2,864 metre limestone peak, Triglav, believed to be home to the three-headed local deity. Get mesmerised by the bizarre, jaw-dropping structures formed by stalagmites and stalactites at Postojna Caves or Skocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re lucky, you might get to see baby dragons’ that live in underground pools inside these caves. Slovenia has plenty of emerald green lakes, an unspoiled coastline, and sparkling waterfalls to refresh you.

Lake-Bled

MEDIEVAL AND MODERN – Visit the Predjama Castle nestled at the mouth of a giant cave or get a view of the only island of Slovenia from the top of the Bled Castle. Piran is a picturesque old town on the Slovenian coast and boasts of several Venice-inspired Gothic architectural gems. If you are feeling lucky, try your hand at one of the gaming tables or slot machines at a casino in the coastal city of Portoroz or dance away at a nightclub in capital Ljubljana.

THRILLS & SPILLS – Slovenia is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers. The world renowned Kranjska Gora ski resort boasts 18 different ski slopes. Head to Bovec, surrounded by the Julian Alps, River Soca, and the Triglav National Park, to indulge in river rafting, paddle-boarding and kayaking. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery around lakes Jasna, Zelenci, and Bohinj as you swim, or take a boat ride. You can also go surfing, sailing, or kite surfing on the Adriatic Sea in Koper and Piran.

MELANIA TRUMP TOURS – The American First Lady Melania Trump, born Melanija Knavs in Slovenia, has given tourism in her quaint little hometown a boost. Now there are several Melania-themed First Lady tours conducted in Sevnica, that include visits to her childhood home, her elementary school and the factory where her mother made children’s clothes. You can dig in to a First Lady apple pie or the Melanija tortes served at a local cafe or buy White House slippers at the local shoe store.

A GASTRONOMIC DESTINATION – With a selection of sausages, cheese, mushrooms, and oils, Slovenia is emerging as an exciting culinary destination. Chef Ana Ros of Hisa Franko put Slovenia on the gastronomic map of the world when she was named the World’s Best Female Chef for the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards, 2017. Take a wine tasting tour in the Vipava valley and dig into potica, a traditional dessert that comes with at least so different fillings. You can also try Zlikrofi, pasta dumplings from Idrija and the sinful Gibanica, a multi-layer cake. The Open Kitchen Market, that runs every Friday in Ljubljana, is a must-visit for foodies who like local street food. A vegetarian meal is not that difficult to find, and Indians craving for home food can head to Namaste, the country’s longest running Indian restaurant in Ljubljana

Ljubljana

VOLCANIC SPA – Slovenia is blessed with thermal and mineral springs where you can unwind and also pamper your skin with volcanic mud. The country is a front runner in cultivation of bees and has a host of wellness treatments ranging from honey massages to api-therapy (inhaling beehive air for respiratory problems), to eating pollen candies for essential vitamins. You can indulge in thalassotherapy at one of the many salt pans in and around Piran.

Dive Into The Fairytale-Like Scenery Of Uttarakhand

If you could touch and walk around heaven, what would it be like? I picture it as a house atop a hillock, surrounded by white snow peaks, with the warmth of the mountain sun. And this summer I got the closest I could to this reverie. In Uttarakhand’s tiny hamlet of Talwari, about 24s kilometres from Dehradun, I walk on the forest trails and across apple orchards to arrive at the charming Tridiva by Saffron Stays. ‘Tridiva’ loosely translates to ‘heaven’ in Sanskrit, and this three-bedroom villa does justice to the name.

Tridiva

Uninterrupted green landscapes help create a sense of tranquility at this homestay. Tall, manicured deodar trees and terraces growing mustard and other local vegetables surround the area I sit in the balcony to get a magnificient view of the Trishul massif- three Himalayan mountain peaks which take the shape of a trident. And this, my host and caretaker of Tridiva, Pradeep Rawat, tells me, is a matter of chance as weather in the mountains can be really unpredictable. The Trishul massif is usually hidden behind the clouds during monsoon, but on a regular day, one can see the mountain range for hours.

As panoramic windows fill the room with warm light, I walk into the house and run my hands on the Vaishnava chants written on the wall. From the earthen pot at the Main door, making my way to the wooden tables and the artistic swing, I admire the dark wood panel with carvings of Radha-Krishna over the stone fireplace.

The kitchen is a storehouse of local produce and stories. Pradeep introduces me to the (fresh and) local cuisine of Garhwal. While pahadi rajma and white rajma from the highlands of Garhwal, were a revelation, the madua (finger millet) roti and lentil cooked with local seeds like jaghiya were more homely and suited my palate. I spent mornings sipping tea while chatting with Pradeep about local beliefs, customs and stories. The people here are believers of Goddess Parvati, also known as NandaDevi. Every year the NandaDevi Jaat, a religious procession, is taken out in the months of June, July or August. It attracts hundreds ofbelievers from neighbouring villages. It is believed that the goddess returns to Mount Kailash after being away for six months.

The procession takes a bigger form every 12 years (Nanda Devi Raj Jaat) when palanquins from different parts of Kumaon and Garhwal scale up to Homkund, which lies at an altitude of 37SS metres. Pradeep was a part of the last Nanda Devi Raj Jaat—an experience that he says has reaffirmed his religious beliefs and spiritual inclination. During my stay, I met Khilaf Singh, a neighbour of Tridiva’s. An elderly gentleman, Khilaf tells me in detail his moment of faith during’ a visit to the hill shrine of Badrinath.

Uttarakhand

His face lights up as he recalls his journey to the shrine of Lord Narayana, where he managed to stay put in the temple for more than an hour, when everyone else struggle to offer their prayers for even few seconds. In my quest to identify with Khilaf’s beliefs, I hiked up to Badhangari- a popular devotional spot among locals. A day visit from Tridiva, the temple is situated at a height of 2,286 metres and dates back to the eighth century. It is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, and the locals believe that the goddess herself once stayed here.

I walk the steep and concrete path to the old temple on the hilltop. As I sit to catch my breath, I try to spot my homestay. A small white house appears amidst the green groves and other tiny blue Kumaoni houses – all dappling in the sunshine. Admiring the panorama, it occurs to me why it is called Dev Bhoomi, the land of gods. And how Tridiva completes this frame.

5 Options For a Perfect Holiday Offered by Jumeirah Hotel & Resorts

Whether you want to escape to Europe this summer or stay closer to home, Jumeirah has a luxury break to suit

Go shopping In London

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Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Discover the world’s most exclusive designer stores, including those exclusive Mayfair boutiques, or head to the East End markets on Brick Lane for a one-of-a-kind find. London is home to some of the best shopping on the planet. Base yourself in Mayfair at Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living or in Belgravia at Jumeirah Carlton Tower or Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel.

Unwind in Mallorca

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Tratamunt mountains – Mallorca, Spain

Unplug from the digital world and head to the picturesque fishing village of Soller. Admire breathtaking views of the rugged Tramuntana mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and take a private boat tour to Cabrera National Park. Stay at Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa and relax on a lounger by the infinity pool while soaking up panoramic views of the Mediterranean.

Art and culture In Frankfurt

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Jumeirah Frankfurt and the city skyline

Home to a number of highly rated museums, Frankfurt is a dream destination for culture fans and art enthusiasts. Book the arts and culture package to receive a Museumsufer Ticket, which offers access to 34 museums over two consecutive days. You’ll be ideally placed at Jumeirah Frankfurt, which is within walking distance of all the major attractions.

Eat your way around Istanbul

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Inside of Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah – Turkey

Vibrant, varied and tasty, Turkish cuisine provides a rich insight into the culture and history of the destination. Sample the local pizza (pide), tuck into an expertly prepared pilav and enjoy a cup of traditional coffee with baklava. Stay at Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and head to Patisserie de Pera for a decadent afternoon tea.

Embrace Island life in the Maldives

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Jumeirah Vittaveli

Check into Jumeirah Vittaveli, located just 20 minutes by boat from Male. The resort comprises 89 villas and suites each with its own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. For families, the Royal Residence offers five bedrooms, a private beach, two pools and a private arrival jetty.

Choose The Stay That Fits You Better in Reykjavik

   With 21 hours of daylight, Iceland’s capital has around-the-clock appeal. Should you book an Art Deco abode or a slick city stay?

 HOTEL BORG

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What to expect:

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Room at Hotel Borg

Channelling art deco vibes, this place is as elegant as it is imposing. Opened in 1930, it was Iceland’s very first luxury hotel. Guest rooms are classy, with parquet flooring, leather armchairs and turn of the Century artwork.

Location:
The property overlooks Austurvollur square, across from Althingi, the Icelandic parliament and Reykjavik cathedral. You’re within walking distance of a host of restaurants and attractions including The Fish Market.

Must-do:
Don’t miss Borg Spa, where you can indulge in a host of treatments. Borg Restaurant is another great pick; drawing in locals with its constantly changing menu.

 ION CITY HOTEL

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 What to expect:

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Bedroom at Ion City Hotel

Embodying cool Nordic design, this sleek outpost shows respect for Icelandic aesthetics fused with contemporary elements. Rooms are loaded with cool greysand whites-and have huge windows showcasing city and mountain views.

 Location:
On Laugarvegur, wander through this hypercool thoroughfare, popping into Mal og Meaning to explore the country’s rich literary heritage, buy vintage finds in Spuutnik or escape the city’s strong winds with a warm bowl at: Noodle Station.

 Must-do:
Tuck into delicious farm-fresh cuisine then enjoy an Icelandic beverage with friendly natives in the funky on-site lounge.

Bawah Island – The Ultimate Private Hideaway

Move over Maldives – there’s a new over-water paradise on the scene. Opened just last month, Bawah island in Indonesia’s untouched Anambas archipelago is a quintessential Castaway island that’s just waiting to be discovered.

A two-hour journey from Singapore; the resort is accessed by private seaplane, following a ferry ride from Singapore to Batam. While it may sound like a trek to get there, you’ll need to trust US When we say it’s worth the effort.

Offering barefoot luxury surrounded by a mammoth 300-acres of unspoiled nature, guests are invited to check into, one of 35 eco-designed bamboo villas.

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Eco-designed bamboo villas – Bawah Island

Simply take your pick from over-water of beachfront abodes. Once you’re settled, you can enjoy views across three crystal clear lagoons and explore no less than 13 picture perfect powder-white beaches.

Head to the treetop Club House for some gentle exercise in the yoga pavilion, or to takes dip in the beach-fronted infinity pool. There’s also a viewing platform that’s the perfect spot for watching the sun set. Adventure seekers can spend their days. snorkelling in pristine waters, home to a host of protected marine life, or hiking through untouched forests. With a maximum capacity of 70 guests at any one time, those seeking a sense of exclusivity can relish being one of a privileged few at this intimate island.

Jaipur – The Place Where Indian Tales Come to Life

Bring an empty suitcase to Rajasthan’s famed pink city, because you’re going to want to buy everything in this creative hub.

“JAIPUR IS SLOW LIFE!” my taxi driver declares. All around us, cars, pedicabs, bicycles and cattle are stuck in hardcore commuter gridlock. Horns screech, elephants trumpet, and pedestrians tumble in and out of the disorderly scrum. Young boys jog in between the cars and oxcarts hawking fresh coconuts, marigold garlands, and saris. A horse cart waits patiently next to us, the turbaned driver casting a betel- stained grin. My driver responds by pressing on the horn for an unnecessarily long time. Slow life? Sure, in the literal sense. But it definitely doesn’t seem relaxing.

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Amer Fort, outside Jaipur, dates to 967, the reign of Raja Man Singh

After a few days in the Rajasthani capital, however, my taxi driver’s declaration begins to make sense. In spite of the log-jammed roads and dizzy markets, folks here take their time. Like the horse-cart driver who smiles in traffic, shopkeepers linger over tea and conversation, and skilled artisans work slowly and deliberately to create swoon-worthy architecture, textiles, art and jewelry that stand the tests of time. This is no accident.

Back in 1726, Maharaja Jai Singh, the city’s namesake, summoned skilled craftsmen—bricklayers, stone masons, marble cutters, metal smiths, potters, weavers— from the farthest reaches of the Subcontinent to build a new capital from the ground up. City planners followed architectural blueprints detailed in Vastu Shastra, a part of the Vedas, or Hinduism’s religious texts. Think of it as Vedic feng shui. Balanced aesthetics and details of  extraordinarily exquisite filigree, inlay and gilt are the cornerstones of the city’s iconic structures: the old city wall, the City Palace, Jal Mahal (or Water Palace, on Man Sagar Lake), and the pink Hawa Mahal, (Wind Palace), for example.

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Hawa Mahal

Jai Singh launched one of modern India’s first intentional artisan communities. Deep inside the dusty warrens of the walled old city, artisans— or karigbars— turn out extraordinary objects much like they have for the past three centuries. Craftsmen chisel marble, cut gems and hand-embroider garments with solid-gold thread with casual expertise. The level of detail is staggering. More than once on my visit, I was given a magnifying glass to properly appreciate gold inlaid with precious gems, highly technical weaving techniques, and pichwai or gota embroidery, which resembles a painted tapestry.

Modern designers—native and foreign-born—still flock to Jaipur. Tapping indigenous artisans’ know-how, the new kids are repurposing folksy styles into edgy, appealing fashion, furniture and practically anything else. The contemporary craft movement, in turn, gives a lifeline to the karighars in their continual defense against machine- made wares. We can all thank the Maharaja for inuring his subjects with an abiding appreciation for hand-hewn beauty and intricacy—an ethos of living and enjoying creative pursuits that continues to underscore the city’s character. Here, the slow life is the good life.

NEIGHBORHOODS

Zip around the Pink City’s eclectic enclaves—a seamless blend of ancient and avant-garde, bustling and sleepy—via autorickshaw or Uber.

OLD CITY
The Pink City got its rosy paint job in 1876, and the original walled core still blushes with glorious palaces, forts and temples. The old markets are full of treasure; it’s worth elbowing you way through the mayhem to get your piece of Jaipur’s magic.

CIVIL LINES
The posh district’s graceful tree-lined streets and colonial and Mid-century bungalows appeal to dignitaries and design-types.

C-SCHEME
Teeming with youthful energy, this burb mixes cool cafes and crafty threads with the ubiquitous sidewalk ch ai wallah, or tea seller.

Ml ROAD
Endless rows of multi-generation jewelry shops, snack stalls and sari boutiques make this iconic street a one-stop shopping (and eating) hub.

VAISHALI NAGAR
The up-and-coming district’s low rents and broad avenues lure fresh start-ups looking for space to flex their creative muscles.

KANOTA BAGH
Not a neighborhood per se, the pretty shopping complex’s bougainvillea-covered courtyards are home to trendy ateliers peddling contemporary and vintage crafts.

Lamayuru Monastery, Leh-Ladak: A Therapy For The Soul

The arid region of Leh and Ladakh is peppered with Buddhist monasteries and stupas. The Lamayuru Monastery—perched on a steep rock mountain at 3,500 metres—is one of the oldest monasteries in Leh and is affiliated to Drikung Kagyu school of Buddhism.

Lamayuru-Monastery

Almost in ruins today, Larnayuru hosts two masked dance festivals every year in the months of March and June, where monks and villagers perform traditional dance in colourful costumes. Surrounding it is a surreal moon-like landscape that excites both photographers and trekkers. The best time to visit the region is from June to September as the roads are clear and snow-free.

Ascona, Switzerland: Enjoy Nature In Its Purest Form

On the northern shore of Lage Maggiore is the lowest lying town in Switzerland. Ascona, in Ticino, feels like an Italian village with Vespa-driving, Italian-speaking Swiss. With its balmy weather, fashion boutiques and art galleries, and fine foods and wines, the lakefront town is a perfect summer getaway.

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Lounge by the lake or stop by a cafe on the lake promenade; visit the old town of Borgo and the beautiful church of San Pietro e Paolo; take a boat ride to Brissago Islands on the lake that have 1,700 plant species. There are numerous hiking and biking trails all around—in Switzerland, the Alps are never too far. If you’re visiting in September, attend the classical music festival, Settimane Musicali di Ascona and listen to symphony orchestras, ensembles, and other recitals.

London’s Indian Accents

As London pulsates with festivals and open-air activities, escape to The Lalit London, strategically located on Tooley Street. Whether you want to take a stroll by the riverside or admire the tallest building in United Kingdom, The Shard, the boutique hotel is close to many of London’s stunning attractions. Enjoy one of the warmest months of the year in London, and be assured of being warmly greeted with two hands pressed together in ‘namaskaar’ by the staff dressed in full Indian attire.

Old Meets New – Housed in a 180-year-old Tudor-inspired red-brick building that was once a grammar school, the 70 individually crafted rooms and suites are reminiscent of a classroom and are named so too. The Headmaster’s room, redecorated as Lalit Legacy Suite, features ornamented ceilings and warm oak paneling. It interconnects three rooms and is perfect if you are travelling with your family. The guestrooms and suites—that used to be classrooms—have soaring ceilings and large windows that provides natural light. To soothe the sore muscles, head to Rejuve – The Spa and revitalise yourself with the Ayurvedic techniques using herbal infusions.

 Rejuve - The Spa

Rejuve – The Spa

What’s On The Menu? The former grammar school’s assembly hall is now Baluchi— the hotel chain’s signature pan-Indian restaurant. You can dine under the blue chandeliers and treat yourself to Kerala-style seafood bisque with coconut and cognac and Kashmiri rogan josb. You can also savour fine wines and pair them with naans at Naanery. The hotel offers a novel Indian Afternoon tea menu at The Gallery at mezzanine level. Watch the London skyline change colours from The Terrace, where you can enjoy the best of both Baluchi and The Gallery in an open setting.

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