July 24th, 2017 by admin

Economic Times has reported CAG audit found dirty linens were supplied to passengers of Indian Railways. I am not surprised and most passenger of Indian Railways will not be surprised as well. In India bed rolls etc are given typically only in AC compartments. One may also avail them in sleeper class compartments by paying an amount to the handlers. More or less I had good experience while traveling in train. But it did happen a few times, where I found stains on pillow cover or bed sheet. Passengers are duly charged for this services while purchasing the ticket.

But on all occasions I found the handlers asking for tips towards the end of the journey when they come to collect the bed rolls etc. When it is tips any amount from passenger should be accepted happily but in many cases they will insist on more. There are also another set of people who clean the coach and they claim to be a different time and they will also ask for tips. Once I told I have already given to the bed roll guys. He told me they wont give us and they are separate team. To put it simply, Indian Railways is a service company and its sole job it to serve the passengers well who traveling on board. All services like pantry, bed rolls, cleaning etc are outsourced to private parties but the service they provide are just like tokenism. I am not against services being outsources to private parties and believe it is not government’s job to cook food in train’s pantries. But it is definitely government’s job to make sure that passenger get good and hygienic food, bed rolls are clean & sanitized and the coach is clean. Normally the cleaners spray disinfectants two times a day in the train compartments during travel. Even then I have found cockroach one time. Cockroaches are rampant in sleeper class coaches.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report was placed in the parliament last Friday. The report said the railways do not follow the norms it itself set for washing linens. It says more than half of shelf life of linens pass even before they reach the passenger. It said bedsheets has a life cycle of 12 months but they remain utilized in depots  for months. I feel at times may been given to passenger for usage after its life cycle. Indian railways has a lot of catch up to do to be truly called good service company. See the tons of complaints on Complaintboard.in.

If you did not get proper service or some violation of rule took place on the train, you can SMS your complaint to 9717630982. If you do not get any satisfactory answer or your complaint is not addressed, you can certainly approach the National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC). Many a times India Railways will try to work it out within their Railways Claims Tribunal but if you are not satisfied, you can definitely approach NCDRC. Also, you can approach with your complaint directly to NCDRC.
July 12th, 2017 by admin

Tata group through India Hotels has added a new property in Bangalore under the brand Taj. The new luxury 5 star hotel called Taj Bangalore is located strategically at the Kempegowda International Airport. This is the sixth Taj property in Bangalore and the first hotel in the premises of Bangalore International Airport.

Taj Bangalore has 154 keys with spacious design and lush lawns beside. This is a good addition for high end / international / corporate travellers. It has deluxe rooms, luxury rooms, club rooms, luxury suites and presidential suite. Room rent starts from around Rs 6500 per day.

Along with stay the luxury hotel also features 4 top class restaurants. Cafe 77 East which open 24 hours specializes in both Indian and global food. Tamarind specializes in north Indian cuisine and it operates between 7 pm to 11.30 PM. Soi and Sake specializes in Chinese and Japanese food and operates in between 7 pm and 11.30 PM. The Lobby Lounge is open 24 hours and provides various snacks and drinks.

Address & contact info:

Near Kempegowda International Airport, , Devanahalli, Bengaluru – 560300. INDIA

Email: taj.bangalore@tajhotels.com

Phone: +91 080 66003300

Websitehttps://taj.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj-bangalore/

July 10th, 2017 by admin

Today lets talk about a very interesting sort of magazine called inflight magazine which caters to a very niche audience. So what is this inflight magazine?

An inflight magazine (or in-flight magazine) is a free magazine distributed via the seats of an airplane by an airline company. (source: wikipedia)

Why would an airline company distribute free magazine to its passengers?

  1. Airline company is giving a sort of value added service through the magazine
  2. Airline company talk about their brand, plans, upcoming announcements etc. This sort of allows to reach out to their customers directly.
  3. People traveling in an flight are mostly high net worth individual (HNI) and probably influencers as well. Putting your product in front of them have a good chance of more word of mouth advertising and led to more influence marketing.
  4. The inflight magazine also features info on various destinations, lifestyle, travel etc. Along with this info it also contains ads by various brands which wants to connect to such a niche and high net worth individuals. This ads brings good money to the airline company which may be enough to supplement the cost of the magazine publishing.

In India almost every airline company has their inflight magazine. Spicejet has Spice Route, Indigo has Hello 6E, GoGetter from GoAir, Subh Yatra from Air India, Vistara from Vistara (Tata Singapore Airlines), Travel 3sixty from Air Asia India, TruJetter from TruJet, JetWings from Jet Airways.

Airlines companies mainly outsource the publishing of such magazines and I found company like MaxPosure Media Group handles a bulk of it in India. They handle Air India, TruJet, Vistara, Air Asia India. The inflight magazine is not just a value added service to its patrons from Airlines companies, its also a source of income for the airline companies. I was checking the asking rates for such inflight magazines and it leaves me with no doubt that it makes economic sense as well to have such magazines. In most cases the airlines companies would be making money out of this magazines as well. Though it may not be their main source of income but every income is a good income. The asking rate on JetWings for a full page ad is Rs 80,000 as shown on The Media Ant. Asking rate for full page add on Indigo inflight magazine Hello 6E is Rs 435,000. Do the math for magazines of 12 issues a year and you will have the answer.

Inflight magazines are a good times pass and infotainment for the passengers. But at the same time I wanted to show that its makes complete economic sense for the airlines companies to have such a service and most probably they make money as well out of such service.

June 25th, 2017 by admin
Celebration of Shri Saibaba Samadhi Centenary Year

Sai International Marathon

In the year 1918 Shri Saibaba left his earthly abode and attained Samadhi. In this centenary year Sai Baba trust, Shirdi are organizing various programs to celebrate this centenary. Sai Baba trust, Shirdi hope to spread the message of Shraddha and Saburi given by Baba to the entire world.

The first program in this centenary year is Sai International Marathon.
* 3 Km Walk / Run Sai Dindi
* 10 Km
* 21 Km Half Marathon
* 42 Km Full Marathon

Organisers are expecting 1,00,000 participant and they are going to reach 50,00,000 bhakta to get this participation. They request your support and sponsorship. If you have any question please call them at 9595344500, 9921941414, 9011112226

Date: Sunday, October 15
Venue: Shirdi, Maharashtra, India
www.SaiMarathon.com

This is organized by the Shirdi Sai Baba Sanasthan Trust, Shirdi.

Website: https://www.shrisaibabasansthan.org

 

June 9th, 2017 by admin

Planning for trip to Tanjavur was quite a few years in making. Finally that trip happened in September, 2015. For travel, I decided on our reliable KSRTC bus. On KSRTC.in, I booked tickets for Airavat class AC Volvo. Then came search for hotel in Thanjavur. Searched through Makemytrip.com, goibibo.com and cleartrip.com. If I liked a hotel then I tried to cross check reviews on Tripadvisor.com. Based on the review and amenities, I booked Hotel Raks through Cleartrip.com for Rs 1444. It is located very near to the Thanjavur new bus stand.

Address of Hotel Raks:

8 & 9, Kalanchiyam garden, Near New Bus Stand, Trichy road, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
Ph: 04362 – 227 806

As all Tamil Nadu bus, it left from Shantinagar bus stand. Scheduled departure was 9.17 AM and reached Tanjavur in the morning around 6 AM. We took a small walk looking for Meenakshi hospital as landmark and found Hotel Raks just before it. The hotel looked clean and cozy at the onset. We had booked a standard AC double bed room. The reception staff was friendly and the formalities was done in few minutes. For online bookings either a hard copy of the booking confirmation email or showing the email through your cell phone will do. We were pretty pleased with the room.

At reception I asked for a car to go around. I negotiated it to whole day – 200 KM – Rs 2000. After taking bath and having a complementary breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we went our to explore. Our first destination was Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Kumbakunom. As we headed out of Tanjavur, we saw the first glimpses of Brihadeshwara temple. We kept it for the evening. Thanjavur is also know as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Here the lands are fertile. We saw paddy fields, sugarcane cultivation, water canals while traveling through the winding roads of Thanjavur to Kumbakonam. The temple is open from 6 AM to 12 non and from 4 PM to 8 PM. After exploring and appreciating the architectural beauty of the temple we left for Suryanar temple.

Suryanar temple is dedicated to the Sun god. It is located at Thirumangalakudi P.O on Kumbakonam – Mayiladuthurai road. It was a quite a rush on that Saturday. Nothing significant in terms of architecture here but I must say it is a good place to observe human behavior when they come calling on God.

Next stop was Oppiliappan Koil (temple in temple).

It was around 2 PM, we decided to head back to Tanjavur have lunch and head to Brihadeshwara temple, an UNESCO world heritage site. For food we went Sathars restaurant at 167, Gandhiji road, Thanjavur – 613001. Phone – 04362 – 231041, 314151. They have a AC section as well and ambiance is comfortable.We had ordered for chicken 65 and what we received was something we had ever seen as chicken 65. They actually brought fried red chicken!! Nevermind it was eatable. We ordered for chilly chicken, chicken 65, roti and coke (pax 2) which cost us Rs 506.

From there we headed straight to Brihadeshwara temple. After delightful tour of the big temple, we were back to comfort of our AC hotel room at around 7.30 pm.

On day 2, we had bus for Bangalore at 9.45 PM. So we planned to checkout of hotel in the morning as we would be traveling for sightseeing whole day. As planned we left little early in the morning (8 AM) as we wanted to visit few temples at Kumbakonam. After traveling about 2 hours, we reached Thirumanancheri temple. This temple is full of legends of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati’s marriage. It is said that anyone who prays here for marriage, their wish is fulfilled. Temple timings are: 6.00 am – 12.00 noon & 3.00 pm – 8.00 pm. For performing puja, you will have to pay a puja fees of Rs 100 and buy earthen lamps. Earthen lamps will cost you Rs 30. During our stay there, we noticed newly married couples coming there for blessings. Beware of vendors outside the temple, who might ask you overprice.

Then we went to two other temples. The Srirangapani temple and Chakrapani temple. They are located besides a large tank called Mahamaham tank. Some festival was going on there. Saw traditional musicians were playing. The temples are dedicated to lord Vishnu. Kumbakonam is a busy and densely populated town. It has a large flow of religious people through out the year. If you would like to avoid heavy rush avoid travelling to Kumbakonam during festivals. The two has two rivers – Kaveri and Arsalar. By afternoon we started from Kumbakonam to Tanjavur. In Tanjavur we again visited the Brihadeshwara temple and spent some time there. Then we went to our hotel for dinner. Here, we left the cab we hired. After dinner, we hired an auto and went to Tanjavur bus stand. We had already booked bus for Bangalore on KSRTC. It took some time for the bus to arrive. As I sat on the bus I remembering the various temple architectures. Splendid!

June 8th, 2017 by admin

In January 2015 and February 2015, I have travelled to and fro on the Duranto train of the Indian railways for the first time. This train was launched with much fanfare by the then Indian railway minister Mamata Banerjee. The train is supposed to be super fast and very convenient express train. In these journey we were two people and had bought tickets for AC 3 tier. Well, yes the train was convenient and service was good. The train has only 3 stoppages in its entire stretch of around 1900 kms from Bangalore to Kolkata. Once the train leaves, you are provided with water bottles. But note that on the second day, you will have to purchase drinking water. In all they provide 2 bottles. These bottles are branded as Rail Neer.

Then little later they provided bread stick with butter, salt and pepper. For lunch or dinner, you will get to select veg or non-veg while buying the ticket. On top of that, the pantry guys will again confirm with you. On lunch and dinner, you have roti, some rice, a veg curry / dal, a non veg curry (chicken) and sweet curd (sometimes sour white curd) as dessert. In breakfast and evening snacks one can have tea / coffee with boiled egg, bread /butter /zam and frooti. I think this menu might change.

The food service is good and done on time. The cleaners are also good. They spray deodorant, clean and wipe the compartments.

As this was an AC coach, we were provided with pillows, bedsheets and blankets. But towards the end of the journey, the pantry service and the cleaners expect some tips. I have seen every one pays them generously.

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