Monday, February 16, 2015

Apna Sweets Vegetarian Restaurant Vijay Nagar Square Indore

I am not a big fan of the eating joints in India that serve Indianized versions of Chinese & Italian food, and overly spicy & fatty Indian food. Typically, their food is prepared to destroy your health and is not even really tasty. Now why I got encouraged enough to right this article about Apna Sweets is because I saw something that differentiates them from their typical cousins. Apna Sweets is more that a sweet shop. It is also a restaurant, a pizza joint, an Indian Thali and buffet joint, an ice-cream & juice parlour, a chocolate shop, a bakery, and even prepares traditional Indian food like Dal-Bafla on Sunday afternoons. Everything here is vegetarian and egg-less. The popularity of Apna Sweets can be judged from the crowds that throng this place all day. With all that going for Apna Sweets, it is only natural that they will have outlets in more than one place. There are two adjoining restaurants in Vijay Nagar itself and apart from that there are four more in Indore (Malganj, Old Palasia, Sapna-Sangeeta, and Annapurna Main Road), and one each in Dewas (A. B. Road), Ujjain (Taran Taal Square), and Vadodara (Rajlaxmi Tower, O.P. Road). Phone numbers of all the outlets are given later in this page. Apna Sweets joints are open daily from 10.00am to 11.00pm. We still need know what is so special about Apna Sweets, so read on...



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Country Inn Vijay Nagar Indore Hotel Review

I always get attracted to the Carlson Group hotels due to their excellent customer loyalty program. And most of their hotels are nice too, so much so that I rarely leave a Carlson property not wanting to return. Unfortunately, Country Inn by Carlson at Vijay Nagar, A. B. Road, Indore became an exception. This hotel is not cheap because I paid over 4200 INR a night including breakfast for a Standard Room. Agreed that the location of the hotel is top notch. One can connect easily to any part of the city from Vijay Nagar circle within half an hour by taxi. Public buses are available here too including a BRTS stop right in front of the hotel. Still INR 4200 seems expensive when you consider a below par breakfast, problems with the room amenities, and an overall lack of attention to detail. After being here for two nights, I felt like the owner of this hotel has not been able to find the right kind of people to manage it. Keep reading...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Aruna Indian Curry at Sands Macau Cotai Central Food Court

Aruna's original Indian Curry Restaurant located near the Best Western Hotel in Taipa Macau is not open any more. But if you are a fan of Aruna's Indian food, there is another option for you. Aruna Indian Curry have a small outlet in the food court of Sands Cotai Central opposite The Venetian in Taipa Macau. This one too is called Aruna Indian Curry and serves snacks and meals both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The combo meals here offer particularly good value. All prices here are marked in MOP (Macau Pataka) which is a little cheaper as compared to HKD, so if you are there you may like to read about the best money exchange options in Macau that can save you some money. Back to Aruna, their menu has almost everything that a typical Indian restaurant will have. Snacks, curries, breakfast food, Indian breads, rice preparations, and side dishes, though the range is limited. Keep reading...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Buddha Relics Distribution Site Kushinagar

The Buddha Relics Distribution Site is referred to as one of "the newly discovered sites" in Kushinagar. Historically speaking, Kushinagar is the identified place where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. The archaeological remains of the Mahaparinirvana Temple and Mahaparinirvana Stupa have been found here which are restored and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. These remains were discovered in 1876 by a British archaeologist named A.C.L. carlleyle after proper excavation and historical studies. Lord Buddha's cremation was carried out about a kilometre away from the Mahaparinirvana Stupa at a spot on the Kushinagar-Deoria Road, where a Stupa was constructed, perhaps by Samrat Ashoka. This Stupa is called Ramabhar Stupa or Mukutbandhan-Chaitya. The Ramabhar Stupa has also been identified by the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang in his accounts. An ancient site called the Matha-Kuar Shrine also happens to be in Kushinagar whose name signifies the words "Dead Prince" or Lord Buddha. Thus far, everything is historical and sounds genuine. Now, as you walk towards the Ramabhar Stupa on Kushinagar-Deoria Road, a sign board on the right side of the road points you towards a narrow lane where this "Buddha Relic Distribution Site" is located. Its a short walk so even if you decide to go and see it, it is not much trouble. The rewards of this short walk may also not be much though. Keep reading...

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Ramabhar (Mukutbandhan-Chaitya) Stupa Kushinagar

The Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar is built at the site of Lord Buddha's cremation. This is about a kilometer away from the Mahaparinirvana Temple on the Kushinagar-Deoria Road. Actually, every place to see or visit in Kushinagar is on this road with the Ramabhar Stupa being the last and the farthest one. The road is not busy at all and its a nice walk up to the Stupa. Now the name of this Stupa is not really supposed to be Ramabhar Stupa. Ramabhar is the name of a pond next to the Stupa. Someone perhaps tried to dissociate this place from Buddhism by starting an annual Hindu festival here in the name of Goddess Bhavani. The period when this Hindu festival started is not really known but the Stupa sure got named after the pond. This place perhaps should be called Mukutbandhan-Chaitya because according to the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Lord Buddha's cremation rites were carried out here, at Mukutbandhan-Chaitya, by his senior disciple Mahakashyap. Keep reading...

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Mahaparinirvana Stupa Kushinagar

The initial excavation work that led to the discovery of Buddhist monuments that we see today in Kushinagar (India) is credited to the 19th-century British archaeologist A.C.L. Carlleyle. In 1876, Callleyle spotted a mound here about 60 feet high that appeared to be the remains of some very old structure. Upon some cleaning and removing of the debris, a brick Stupa began to emerge that had a radius of about 15 meters. This was the Mahaparinirvana Stupa of Kushinagar. Later a temple - The Mahaparinirvana Temple also emerged to the west of the Stupa. Both the Stupa and the temple had been built on the same brick platform which was 2.25 meters above the ground. The Stupa at its peak was approximately 65 meters above the surface of the platform. Carlleyle saw that the Stupa had already been subjected to repeated repairs and re-construction. It was like the older Stupa was hidden inside the newer structure built around it. Keep reading...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Mahaparinirvana Temple Kushinagar

The Mahaparinirvana Temple of Kushinagar was discovered during excavations here by archaeologist A.C.L. Carlleyle in 1876. When the excavation work for the Mahaparinirvana Stupa was being carried out, a temple was found close to the Stupa while removing the debris from the site. Later it appeared that the Stupa and the Temple had been constructed on the same brick platform. Further excavation of the site produced several pieces of a sand stone image of Lord Buddha in the Parinirvana posture. The pieces of the image appeared to have been subjected to repeated repairs and polishing. Upon restoration, the image was 19.5 feet long. The original temple was a two part structure. There was an open courtyard in the West. The main temple towards the East was a rectangular structure 12.50 meter long and 6.70 meter wide which was restored by Mr. Carlleyle in 1877 with the original Buddha image inside. This structure remained so till 1955. However, the space for devotees in the temple was very small and hence a new temple building was constructed in the year 1956, on the occasion of Lord Buddha's 2500th birth celebrations based on the recommendations of a Government appointed committee. Keep reading...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prepaid SIM Cards in Macau

There are two mobile telephony operators in Macau whose prepaid SIM cards can be purchased by tourists - "3 Macau" (Hutchison) and "CTM BEST". It is hard to spot company shops selling these SIM cards but other retailers and road-side SIM card vendors sell them in the markets located in the lanes around all the major casinos in Macau city. Some are exclusive mobile shops while some others combine mobile phone business with their money exchange / money lending / pawn business, etc. There are very few signboards in English so one needs to recognize these shops from the merchandise on sale. Vendors usually do not ask for any document for selling prepaid SIM cards and these SIM cards get activated automatically when the first local or IDD call is made. Prices of prepaid SIM cards start at 50 HKD/MOP which includes 50 HKD/MOP or more pre-loaded talk time. That means you get 100% or more talk time on the new prepaid SIM cards. Subsequent recharge transactions also bring some bonus talk time according to the offers current at the time. In this page I will give details of the prepaid SIM cards on offer from 3 Macau and CTM, local & IDD call rates, data packs, balance/validity checking numbers/codes, and recharge options, etc. It will save some money for you if you pay for your SIM card in MOP rather than HKD because of the HKD-MOP exchange rate difference. You may also like to carry printouts of the card package images given in this page to avoid communication problem with the vendor. Keep reading...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Get a 20% Discount on Priority Pass First Year Membership Fee

Priority Pass is the world's leading airport lounge access program giving its members access to 700 airport lounges across the world. The program has three levels of membership: Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige with varying number of free lounge visits in a year. The Prestige level membership at an annual fee of 399 USD allows unlimited free lounge visits to the member while the Standard Plus membership caps the free lounge visits to 10 in a year but comes at a reduced annual fee of 249 USD. Standard membership does not entitle the member to any free visit but has a low annual fee of 99 USD. Paid visits and guest visits to Priority Pass lounges cost 27 USD per person per visit. Membership and visit charges vary according to the country of your residence, so please see the Priority Pass website for the exact charges applicable for you. Paid visits at 27 USD each appear to be expensive but are good value at some of the airport lounges where apart from free food and free drinks, shower facilities are also available. Moreover, priority Pass guarantees you access to airport lounges regardless of the airline or the class of travel. Well, if you already like Priority Pass, I am sure you would love to get a 20% discount on the first year membership fee. Some banks offer completely free or discounted Priority Pass membership in which case the discounts go up to 50% but additionally one may have to pay the annual credit card fee. I incidentally found a direct discount of 20% offered by Priority Pass. Keep reading...
Blog by: Narinder Singh