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Gorgeous Places To Visit In India This December – January

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Here is a list of places that can prove to be ideal for a holiday in December :

Konark, Odisha : The Black Pagoda

Konark is known for its Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re visiting Konark in December, make sure you attend the Konark Dance Festival and the International Sand Art Festival. The town is culturally and traditionally rich. The beaches of Konark, especially the Chandrabhaga Beach, are among the best in India.

At Konark you have the opportunity to witness the soulful Odissi dance form. The Konark Festival is held each year in the month of December in Konark and is one of the popular winter festivals and events in India. People from all around the globe gather here to witness it. So, along with the golden opportunity to explore this ancient and magnificent architecture, you as a visitor will get the chance to witness the age old dance form in India. During the festival, dancers come from all parts of India travel to Konark to display their skill of age-old dance forms ranging from the classic Bharatanatyam, the elegant Odissi and Manipuri, to the very expressive Kathakali and Sattriya dance styles amongst others. The festival is organized in the premises of Sun Temple and isn’t it exhilarating to realize that one can enjoy great performances against the backdrop of the temple.

Dates for the Konark Festival 2016: 19th – 23rd December 2016

Puri, Odisha : land of Lord Jagganath

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No you don’t have to be a follower of a certain faith to visit a place like Puri. Yes, it is one of the prominent Char Dham sites in India but it has lot to offer in terms of rich architectural heritage. Blessed with a serene beach that is comparatively very clean and numerous ancient buildings including the majestic Jagganath Temple, this place deserves to be in the list to make your kids understand the rich history of the country.

Places of Interest: Jagganath Temple, Puri Beach, Puri Beach Market, Loknath Temple, Raghurajpur Artist Village, Chilika Lake

Things to do with Kids: Visit Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Taste the Maha Prasadam of Jagganath Temple, Try Seafood, Visit Konark Temple (35kms from Puri), Sunset View at Puri Beach

Delhi : A city of contrast

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Sprinkled with spectacular monuments, lush gardens and an array of architectural marvels, New Delhi is best visited during winters.

Delhi also houses 3 fascinating World Heritage Sites: Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutb Minar Group of Monuments. A city of contrast, Delhi’s diversity manifests itself in the old world charm of the walled city and modern Lutyen’s Delhi.

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Recently constructed Lotus Temple and Akshardham Temple are spectacular monuments high on the list of to do things in Delhi.

Delhi is also known for some of the top hotels by international brands which offer great venue for business as well as a refuge from the din of the city to let you rejuvenate.

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Wrap yourselves in warm clothes and venture out when the sun’s shining brightly. Take one of the many organized heritage walks around the city and go on a shopping spree. If food is your thing, Delhi is your Mecca. With some of the best-known chef-run restaurants, Delhi has a wide range of cuisines for you to sample from and more street food items than you will have ever seen in your life. Got a few extra days, take off to Agra and Jaipur to complete the Golden Triangle Trip.

Goa : The eternal holiday destination

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If not here, where else will you be in December ? One has plenty of reasons to visit Goa; after all it is one of the best tourist destinations in India. However, December provides many reasons for holidaying in Goa. The warmth and joy of Christmas amplifies when it is celebrated in Goa, well, India doesn’t know of a better destination that throws the biggest bash on New Year. Furthermore, the ever so lively music festival of Sunburn is evidently a delight, if you are an ardent EDM (Electric Dance Music) fan. Also, Goa in the month of December takes you back on the spiritual road as it observes the pious Feast of St. Francis Xavier, which is marked by several days of festivity and concludes with a large fair. All these celebrations allure tourists to book their tickets for Goa before its gets jam-packed.

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Travelers often find it impossible to believe that Goa, a tiny emerald ensconced between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat, is a part of India.

Winter is the time when the tiny emerald that is Goa is teeming with visitors. Renowned as one of the finest beach destinations in the world, Goa is very unlike the rest of the India. Its cosmopolitan culture, eclectic cuisine, vibrant nightlife and vast stretches of sandy beaches make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

Visit the city in winters and join in the festivities in the city. With the arrival of Christmas and New Year, Goa is at its vibrant best. Parties, music and scrumptious cuisines along with cultural events make it the high time to visit Goa in winter especially from November till February.

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Since winter also herald the wedding season in India, this is the time when newlyweds visit Goa for honeymoon. Couples could enjoy their honeymoon at some of the finest luxury hotels in Goa that boast of private beaches. Other activities could include water sport, wildlife and sussegado on Goa’s famed beaches.

For families too there is much to do in Goa in winters. Beaches, waterfalls, wildlife and adventure sports are some of the top things to do in Goa along with visit to World Heritage churches and cathedrals and evening river cruises.

Winter also rocks as it is the time for Christmas and New Year in Goa and people of Goa celebrate both these occasion with great gusto.

If you are planning your trip to Goa during winter, keep in mind that it is the peak season for tourism and hotels and accommodations – whether 3 stars or 5 stars – fill up in advance and even sold out during December-January. It’s always wise to book your winter holiday packages in Goa in advance so that you don’t have to compromise with your holiday.

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What to do: Burn the dance floor at India’s best parties, shop your heart out at the many flea markets and pray for your soul during the feast of St Francis Xavier.

Goa is indeed the most famous and loved party destination of India. It welcomes you with open arms and magnificent sunny beach-fronts all round the year. But December is special for various reasons. From night bazaars and the flea markets to the feast of St Francis Xavier and the loudest EDM party, Sunburn or Supersonic, Goa has exactly everything to offer, you could ask for. Right from Christmas, all the way to New Years, Goa is THE venue for a month long party.

The Feast of St Francis Xavier, a feast held at the Basilica De Bom Jesus, Christmas, Sunburn Festival and of course New Year’s Eve. That being said, be prepared for large crowds and super-expensive hotel tariff.

Kerala : God’s own country

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You want to avoid the crowd and still want to enjoy the vivacity of nature? Well, the idea of vacationing in Alappuzha is just perfect. The picture perfect backwaters and the tranquility that Kerala is famous for comes together at Alappuzha to offer visitors their best holiday experience. Stay in houseboats and sail through the quiet waters; also December is the time when Alappuzha celebrates a 10-day festival called Mullackal Chirap. So, along with enjoying a stay amidst the serene ambiance, one can also witness the rich culture of Kerala coming to life.

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A treat for all seasons, it’s when the monsoon departs that Kerala true natural splendor reaches its zenith. Western Ghats and brackish lagoons or the backwaters bestow a unique charm on Kerala’s appeal.

You name it and Kerala has it: backwaters, beaches, spice gardens, tea plantations, Ayurveda, ecotourism and abundant wildlife. That’s why we have chosen Kerala as one of the top winter holiday destinations in India.

For beach lovers its the Kovalam and Varkala or even Marari; for backwaters its Alapuzza, Kollam, Kumarakom and Vembanad lake. Then there is Munnar’s lush tea plantation and salubrious weather.

If you are in for wildlife there is a bird sanctuary in Kumarakom, tiger reserve in Periyar and the world’s most bio diverse ecosystem Silent Valley National Park which is home to the largest population of Lion-tailed macaque.

Kerala also happens to be the top destination in India for health and rejuvenation. You could find a number of authentic and world class Ayurveda center that offer therapeutic massages and treatments based on 3000 years old science of healing: Ayurveda. In fact, Kerala is one of the top destinations for authentic Ayurveda in India.

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You can alternately visit the Back waters of Kerala or do trekking trips to the mountains of Idukki district.

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Kochi, was known as Cochin for the longest time. It is known to be one of the fastest growing cities in India. Kochi has been a port for centuries and the city has a lot to offer when it comes to the number of churches and chapels there are here. December is a great time to visit Kochi, you’ll get to witness the Cochin Carnival at the Kochi Fort.

Agra : The City of Love

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Weather in December makes Taj a wonder to watch. Located in Uttar Pradesh, Agra is famous for its famous monuments of Mughal era. TajMahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is located here. Other than that Akbar Fort, Moti Masjid and Sheesh Mahal are also bearing the witness of amazing architecture of Mughal period.

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Home to one of the ‘Seven Modern Wonders of the World’ Taj Mahal, Agra needs no introduction. Home to some of the greatest Mughal architectural marvels, Agra is one of the most visited tourist places in India. It is thronged by tourists round the year and who’s who around the globe make it a point to visit Taj Mahal when they visit India. The reason why we have included Agra as one of the top places to visit in India in December – January or for that matter entire winter season is that, when you visit Taj Mahal, you are not allowed to wear shoes on the white marble. During the scorching summer the white marble gets too hot and makes it uncomfortable to walk on the floor. During winter it is very comfortable to do the sightseeing tour of both Taj Mahal and the Agra Red Fort.

Rajasthan Land of Maharajas

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An amazing concoction of colors, royalty, tradition and romance, Rajasthan is a favorite haunt of overseas tourists in India. There is so much to see and do in Rajasthan that even seasoned travelers find it hard to pick and choose from the plenty of options at hand.

Maharajas held sway in Rajputana a century ago. They were great patrons of art and culture. All their idiosyncrasies as well as respect for tradition and art are today evident in numerous mighty fortresses, scintillating palaces, traditional dance and arts.

The capital Jaipur is the most popular place, visited by millions every year. It is closely followed by major tourist places such as Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore and Bikaner.

Festivals held during winter months in Rajasthan is another reason why it is considered one of the best places to visit in India in winter. Pushar Mela needs to introduction as it has become of the major draws among visitors from overseas. Jodhpur Riff is an another recently introduced cultural fest that draws musical talents from around the world. Then there are several other camel festivals which are celebrated between November and March.

Jaipur

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The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur has amazing weather in December. The city offers a perfect combination of the rays of the sun and the cool breeze that  is most welcoming. You can visit the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, Albert Museum, and take a regular shopping trip to Bapu Bazaar. But if you’re up for something interesting, visit the Alsisar Haveli (about 2.5 km away) and be a part of the Magnetic Fields Festival that will be hosted at there.

Jodhpur

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For the lovers of heritage Bundi is a great escape during winters whereas the honeymooners prefer it at the Mount Abu which is the only hill station in the desert state.

Our honeymoon tips for people looking for winter destinations in India is to head for the sand dunes in Jaisalmer or Bikaner. Imagine the romance in the ambiance as you sit by the campfire holding each others hand gazing at starlit sky.

Palace which have been turned into heritage hotels are also a big draw when it comes to winter vacations in India. Whereas the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur has been adjudged the best romantic hotel in India, nearby Devigarh by Lebua is a heritage cum boutique hotel which attracts who’s who in the world by virtue of its architectural appeal.

Udaipur

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If you happen to be visiting Bikaner and want to get a taste of royalty as did Maharajas of yore, then we’d like to recommend Gajner Palace in Bikaner.

What to do: Shopping at the Shilpgram Arts and Crafts Festival, wander in the by lanes of Udaipur.

Udaipur is home to Lake Pichola and the Fateh Sagar Lake along with its magnificent City Palace, Monsoon palace, Lake Palace and Jag Mandir that lure travelers to visit this royal acity. Seven km away is Shilpgram, a government set up village to promote artisans. The articulate and intricate work by these local artisans will leave you spell bound. This month, the village will celebrate the Shilpgram Arts and Crafts Festival, that you should totally be a part of.

Ranthambore

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One of the best tiger reserves of India, Ranthambore finds itself all the more welcoming in December with the pleasant drop in the temperature. A region known for being the richest centers of flora and fauna, a dreamy terrain amidst the Vindhya and Aravalli, this one also houses the Ranthambore Fort in the reserve. Apart from being the home of the endangered tiger, several other animal species are found here such as the wild cats, leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, Indian foxes, crocodiles and jackals. Compared to other tiger reserves, chances of tiger spotting are relatively higher at Ranthambore.

 Jim Corbett: Lure of the Jungle

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Just as the monsoon retreats, Jim Corbett open its door to the visitors to experience the diversity of fauna and postcard perfect landscape, lush forest cover and gurgling water streams. Jim Corbett National Park is the first national park to be established in Asia. There are several zones where jeep safaris are allowed to sight the wildlife. Other than jeep safaris, you can also do elephant safari in Jim Corbett to rendezvous with tigers from close proximity.

Besides mammals which include tigers, elephants, Asiatic Black Bear, Sloth Bear, Barking Deer, otters and more. Yet another appeal of Jim Corbett is the wide variety of bird species that could be spotted here making it one of the best places for bird watching in India. Over 600 species of birds have been recorded inside this park including great pied hornbill, white-backed vulture and Pallas fish eagle.

With extreme winter not setting yet, Jim Corbett becomes one of the best places to visit in India from October to March if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Make sure that you get your accommodation in Dhikala range where the chances of tiger spotting are maximum.

Kullu Manali: Himalayan Hinterlands

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If you are looking for honeymoon destination in India during winters, then look no further. Kullu and Manali offer one of the best romantic setting to kindle the romance.

Whereas Kullu is relatively low lying area with lush natural surroundings, Manali is a place where couples could enjoy adventure sports and frolic in snow.

Then there are ancient temples, opportunity for paragliding etc and picturesque ambiance that makes Manali a favored destination even during winters.

Honeymooners in Manali also prefer to head for Rohtang Pass nearby where there’s ample opportunity for snow sports.

To experience snowfall, Manali is one of the top places to visit in in November, December and January.

Shimla: Queen of Hills

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A short ride from Delhi, Shimla is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India during summers as well as winters. The major pull factors are the altitude, ambiance and bearable snow fall and cool weather. In Shimla even if you do nothing, you have done all that you have come for.

Considered one of the best hill stations in India, Shimla could be visited anytime of the year. Winters are fun in Shimla as there’s snowfall which add to the romantic appeal of the place. It also gets bit cold which keeps of the crowd making it the best time and one of the best places for honeymoon in India with some sense of privacy and thrill and adventure of snow.

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The Mall Road in Shimla is packed with couples during winters. Adventure enthusiasts also head to Shimla for hiking activities which is one of the things to do in here. Then there are people who visit Shimla for its colonial charm and to explore the seamless blend of tradition and modernity.

The luxe lovers visit Shimla for the award winning Wildflower Hall located at Mashobara. One of the finest luxury hotels and spa destinations in India, Wildflower Hall is one of the best heritage hotels in India. The most alluring factor is that this hotel is located in Himalayas and offer breathtaking views and serene escape and one of its king luxury in the lap of Himalayas.

Dharamsala and Mcleodganj

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Nestled in the Dauladhar range of Himalaya, Dharamsala is renowned as the seat of Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. A little ahead of Dharamsala is McLeodganj at a bit higher altitude and a different world altogether. Dharamsala and Mcleodganj are especially popular among the foreign tourists as one of the top places for volunteering in India.

As soon as you arrive in McLeodganj, everything changes. The weather, ambience, the crowd and the culture. McLeodganj is thronged by Lamas, foreigners both resident and visitors and tourists from India.

The snowcapped mountain paks of Dauladhar creates breathtaking scenery and there are plenty of hiking trails that begins with McLeodganj as the base. With increasing popularity, McLeodganj has become touristy these days but is a very good option as a winter holiday destination in India.

Lesser people visit during winter. And you may try staying at Naddi or Dharamkot for serenity and proximity to nature. This 2 relatively unknown places are the haven for honeymooners looking to have a memorable beginning of their married life.

If you are traveling to Dharamsala in winter, why not try the hike to Triund and spend the night in the camps surrounded by snow. We promise that the first rays of sun would leave you with indelible memories.

Lucknow : Land of Nawabs, Kebabs & Shababs

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Home of the Nawabs of the Oudh (Awadh), Lucknow is renowned for its sumptuous cuisines, dance and music, thanks to the Nawabs who were great patron of art. An important political center for a long time Lucknow is dotted with Raj era building some stunning mausoleums. But above all the reason you should visit Lucknow is to witness firsthand the city’s reputation as the land of ‘Nawabs, Kebabs, Adaab (respect) and shabab (beauty).’

One of the reasons to visit Lucknow at this time of the year is to attend the Lucknow Mahotsav, a cultural extravaganza that celebrates the ‘tezjib’ and nawabi cuisine of the region, the reason why we recommend Lucknow as one of the best places to visit in India in December – January.

Source : Curated from the web

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Godrej Properties Bought Plot In Delhi For Worth Rs. 1100 Crore

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In a deal with Rail Land Development Authority, the Godrej Properties purchased a 27-acre plot in New Delhi’s Ashok Vihar locality area for worth Rs. 1100 crore, the sources said.

According to the sources, this company will construct flats free of cost for railways and 50% of the flats will be sold at market value for the economically weaker section. The payment for these dwelling units can be paid off in eight years at an interest rate of 12 percent.

However, the Godrej properties denied to comment on the deal and said that we cannot make a comment on the market value as per the company policy.

The sources however informed that two other bidders were the Adani Group and Eldeco. As a part of its expansion plan, the Godrej Properties is acquiring land directly or via joint ventures.

Last year, the company went into a joint venture with Hero Cycles to develop a 4-acre plot on Golf Course Road in Gurgaon.

In 2018, the Godrej Properties raised Rs.1,000 crore via the issuance of shares to GIC-managed investment company Gamnat Pte for funding of its expansion plan.

The Rail Land Development Authority planned six such vacant plots across the metro cities as the authority is responsible to generate revenue from vacant land. They are likely to earn approximately Rs. 10,000 crores via land monetization. The plots comprises of 16 hectares in posh Mumbai areas such as Bandra, Mahalaxmi and near Lokmanya Tilak Terminal. The authority also owns land in South Indian cities like Chennai and Hyderabad.

The RLDA [Rail Land Development Authority] figured approximately 45 sites for which bidding will be practiced in a phased manner. These sites have the potential to generate a revenue of over Rs. 42,000 crore

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New ‘Avengers: Endgame’ TV spot ‘honours’ fallen superheroes

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The latest TV spot for Avengers: Endgame gives a glimpse of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, The Wasp, The Winter Soldier, Star-Lord, Drax, and Gamora who were missing from the first trailer.

New 30-seconds-long video once more takes you down the memory lane, this time with Dr Steven Strange, T’Challa, Hope van Dyne, Bucky Barnes, Peter Quill and others.

Captain America aka Steve Rogers’ voice takes up narration as we see friendships, relationships fade away in the black and white montage.

“We lost. All of us. We lost friends, we lost family. Today we have a chance to take it all back. We will. Whatever it takes,” says Steve.

The lines are echoed by Ronin aka Clint Barton and none other than Iron Man aka Tony Stark. (Did Tony lose Pepper Potts after the snap or is he talking about bringing Peter Parker aka Spider-Man back?)

 

 

This is not all.

Marvel Studios also released official synopsis forAvengers: Endgame. The official website features the overview that reads, “The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.”

Directed by Russo Brothers, Avengers: Endgameis set to release on April 26 in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

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Bollywood

Kalank’ song ‘First class’: This Varun Dhawan-Kiara Advani number is worth the wait

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The song you had been waiting for – Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani’s ‘First Class’ is here and it was totally worth all the patience. ‘First Class’ marks Kalank’s second song. It features Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Madhuri Dixit-Nene in glimpses.

The keyword ‘First class’ comes much later in the song but throughout Varun Dhawan doesn’t disappoint. The song begins with Alia Bhatt’s wedding to Aditya Roy Kapur, but the focus soon shifts to Varun, who prays his namaz and has gathered in a crowd of his Muslim friends. The actor says ‘Jaise ho Eid Mein Holi’ so many times that we wonder why isn’t that the name of the song instead of ‘First Class’.

Pritam’s music plays as much an important part in the song as does Varun Dhawan‘s dancing around. The actor also does the hook step of ‘Aaj Ki Party’ (we pointed the first time the step was copied when Varun revealed stills from the song).

 

Soon after, Kiara Advani is introduced at the lake side. A lady is blurred out on the boat. The lake side and boat definitely play an important part in the film. Kalank’s first announcement featured a still of the lake and a lady and a man (mostly Alia Bhat-Varun Dhawan) travelling on a boat.

Kiara Advani plays an eyecandy in the song. She tries hard but can match Varun Dhawan’s energy only in a few places. What comes as a delightful surprise soon after is Madhuri Dixit-Nene’s entry. She lets out a beautiful smile on seeing the environment of celebrations.

 

Producer Karan Johar has definitely shelled out behind creating a grand and beautiful manneur for the song. Remo D’Souza’s choreography and Varun Dhawan’s energy in the song are the perfect match. Arijit Singh and Neeti Mohan’s voice stays with you much after the song is over. Manish Malhotra’s simplistically designed clothes also grab your attention to an extent.

Overall, although ‘First Class’ is a random dance number and Kiara Advani not having a role more than an eyecandy disappoints, the song is something that people would soon groove to. Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya has also done a fabulous job in combining two festivals – Eid and Holi with the line, ‘Mere Tevar Mein Hai Tehzeeb Ki Rangeen Ranglo Jaise Ho Eid Mein Holi’. The film too seems to combine people of two different cultures – Varun Dhawan as a Muslim boy and Alia Bhatt as a Hindu girl. The movie could be their love story set in the pre-Independence era.

Kalank stars Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles. Directed by 2 States helmer Abhishek Varman, the movie is produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Fox Star Studios. The epic drama is slated to release on April 19.

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Entertainment

Disha Vakani given a 30-day ultimatum to return to ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’?

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Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’s Daya Ben — Disha Vakani — has been missing from the show since September 2017. The actress was blessed with a baby girl in November 2017 and she has been on a maternity break since then.

Recently, reports of her quitting the show made headlines however  producer Asit Kumarr Modiclarified in January that her contract still hasn’t been terminated. “Contract has not been closed. Character of Daya bhabhi is still there and we have not taken any actor to replace her. As and when she wants to come, we will see at that time. If mutually beneficial to both, we shall work together again,” he said in a statement.

However as per a latest report in SpotBoye Modi has now decided to give Disha the last 30 days to make up her mind and if she doesnot report back on the sets of ‘Taarak Mehta‘ within the said period, she will be replaced!

A source close to the development informed SpotBoye about the producer’s decision,  “Bas, ab ho gaya. Modi waited ethically how much he and his cast-crew could. Now,  Modi says he will just give a concession period of a month, starting today. There has been absolutely no contact between the two parties ever since Dayaben’s last day at shoot. Team Taarak Mehta  Ka Ooltah Chashmah  has no problems if she wants to look after her baby but some of her demands that they would imply if she was to return, were just not easy to accept when her husband last has a word with us.”

Disha’s character Daya Ben was shown to have left for her mother’s house in 2017 and it has been more more than a year since she has been there. Her character can’t even be killed considering it’s a comedy show.

“You are forgetting that Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah is a comedy daily serial,  so they can’t bump off her character and plus they have shown that she has gone to her mother’s house. How long can Dayaben be shown to be staying in her maika?”

The source concluded, “Seems, Disha wanted to hanker for a bit of publicity in the media. So, she put a some throwback video. Toh dekhte hain kya hota hai. We will still welcome her warmly if she returns without unacceptable do’s and don’ts. Else we are going ahead with another actress after 30 days, max 35.”

It may be recalled how Disha’s husband Mayur Padia’s unreasonable demands complicated things further between the actor and the producers in January this year. He apparently wanted his wife to shoot for only four hours per day, and that too just for 15 days a month. The couple also wanted a 100 per cent hike, the source revealed.

Just in case Disha doesn’t revert in 30 days, who do you think should replace her – Rashami Desai, Gia Manek or Deepika Singh? Vote Now and tell us!

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Business

Lenders drag road developers to NCLT, push for asset sales

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Around 15% of the total operational build-operate-transfer (BOT) road assets are struggling due to mismatch in cash flows, leading to issues with the servicing of debt, according to Rajeshwar Burla, assistant vice-president – associate head, Icra Ratings. In the last few months, lenders have taken some road asset special purpose vehicles to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and in certain cases they have initiated process for sales to recover money from the defaulting road developers. Recently, Oriental Bank of Commerce had pressed for insolvency proceedings against L&T Halol Shamlaji Tollway Ltd, a special purpose vehicle of L&T Infrastructure Development Projects at NCLT’s Chennai Bench. Earlier this month, L&T Halol Shamlaji Tollway informed the NCLT that its debt has been restructured and is being timely serviced. An order is awaited in this case. “Asset sale transactions in the recent past are also driven by lenders. In 2018, three assets were sold through substitution route. Of these, one was initiated by the lenders (classified as non-performing asset) as a distressed asset sale and two were initiated by the concessionaire through harmonious substitution,” Burla said. Some of the assets on the block currently are available through substitution at attractive valuations, and hence investors prefer this route. According to an industry player, a few assets or special purpose vehicles are likely to be put on the block in the near future as several road projects are under stress with mismatch in revenues and debt payments. “The total quantum of loans not getting serviced and stressed plants in the power sector is much higher. But the public sector banks are under pressure due to multiple factors and in different sectors. For such lenders, it is important to initiate proceedings against the defaulting SPV or concessionaire,” said a Mumbai-based analyst. On the other hand, some developers with a weak credit profile, have disposed of their assets at a loss as liquidity took precedence over revenues

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UEFA fines Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo for Atletico celebration

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was fined 20,000 euros ($22,712) by UEFA for a gesture he made while celebrating in their Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid last week, European soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

Ronaldo escaped a ban and will, therefore, be free to face Ajax Amsterdam in the quarter-finals, with the first leg to be played in the Netherlands on April 10.

Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick as the Italian champions overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate against Atletico, gestured towards his groin with two hands.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone had celebrated in a similar way after his team’s opening goal in the first leg in the Spanish capital.

The Argentine coach was fined the same amount by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee.

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Bharti Realty-Led Consortium To Construct Commercial Project At Delhi Airport

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In a recent development, DIAL i.e. Delhi International Airport Limited, the operator for Delhi airport informed that the rights for commercial development are granted to a consortium led by Bharti Realty that will make an annual payment of Rs 363.5 crore towards lease rentals till 2036.

Apart from this, Bharti Realty will make one-time payments of approximately Rs. 1,837 crore, the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) informed in the press release.

In a joint venture with the GMAR group, DIAL [Delhi International Airport Limited] manages operations at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The press release states that Bharti Realty has been awarded the right to design, develop, finance, construct, operate, manage and maintain a commercial development project at Gateway and Downtown Districts of Aerocity.

In the first phase, the Bharti Realty-led consortium will pay to DIAL an annual lease rent of Rs 363.5 crore per annum till 2036 (to be escalated by 50 percent for the extended term of 30 years till 2066) and other one-time payments to the tune of (around) Rs 1,837 crore.

The Delhi International Airport limited also initiated the second phase of its airport land development that is popular as Aerocity, at the airport.

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Research studies confirm Ayurvedic treatments help kidney ailments

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Two separate studies published in Internation journals by Indian researchers have confirmed benefits of using ‘Punarnava’, an Indian herb, for kidney ailments. The extract from the plant can help with both preventing and managing kidney disease, said researchers, and added that one can definitely help slow the disease’s progression and treats its symptoms and complications by using formulations containing ‘Punarnava’ and a careful diet.

According to a case study conducted in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) which has been published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals Sciences, a woman kidney patient was given Punarnava based syrup for a month. It was found that the creatinine level and urea level in her blood had gone down significantly to a healthy level. Not only this, but her hemoglobin level had also improved. Hence, it was concluded that Punanrva based drugs not only make the kidney’s health but also improves the hemoglobin level.

Similarly, another study published in the Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research too talked about the efficacy of Punarnava based herbal formulations including lotus leaves, patharchur, and other major herbs when given to the subjects. It was found that the drug had helped in maintaining a histological parameter of kidneys, apart from reducing high levels of uric acid and electrolytes, The study said that “the syrup (Neeri KFT) is a potent neuroprotective formulation, protecting kidneys from nephrotoxins including oxidative damage induced by lead acetate.”

“Herbal formulations in Neeri KFT can be an alternative to dialysis to some extent. In fact, because of limited options in allopathy for kidney treatment, which is witnessing increasing trend due to changing lifestyles, now the emphasis is on Ayurveda drugs,” said Professor KN Dwivedi, Head of Department, Department of Dravyaguna, BHU.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a global epidemic. Nearly 850 million people are known to suffer from kidney diseases from varied causes, worldwide. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes about 2.4 million deaths per year and is among the top five causes of deaths worldwide. India contributes to around 10% of the CKD burden of the world. The estimated prevalence of CKD is 1 in 10 (10%)  in India. The most common cause of Chronic Kidney disease in India is Diabetes mellitus, which contributes to around 55-60% of CKD.

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Uttarakhand shelves hydropower plans on eco-sensitive Bhagirathi

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The Uttarakhand government has, for now, shelved its plans to build small hydropower projects in the fragile Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone (BESZ) — created to protect River Ganga’s most pristine stretch between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi town.

In a March 6 meeting at the environment ministry, the Uttarakhand government stated that as there was no consensus among members drafting zonal master plan of the BESZ on hydropower projects, the state government has decided to restrict hydropower projects up to 2 MW.

“Government of Uttarakhand decided to honour the provisions of BESZ notification and also to reiterate its commitment to conserve and maintain the ecology and sanctity of holy river Bhagirathi, by restricting hydro-electric project up to two megawatt, sacrificing the investment potential of around Rs 739.96 crores and the sunk cost of about Rs 90.16 crores,” the minutes of the meeting showed.

The meeting on March 6 was held to consider the zonal master plan of the BESZ. The ministry panel is mandated to appraise proposals to demarcate buffer zones around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

The minutes of the meeting also stated that the expert panel also deferred consideration of the zonal master plan as it awaited comments from the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, one of the major stakeholders.

A 2012 notification of the environment ministry had notified a 100-km stretch between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi, spread over 4,179 sq.kms as an ESZ to protect the fragile watershed of the Bhagirathi river, one of the chief headstreams of River Ganga. The notification banned riverbed mining, construction on slopes, polluting industries, commercial tree felling and new hydropower projects, except micro or mini hydel power projects to serve the interests of local communities and only after conent of the gram sabhas.

Following a 2017 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, an expert panel of Uttarakhand government official and independent experts is drafting the zonal master plan of the Bhagirathi green zone to regulate development and to promote sustainable development in the area.

The Uttarakhand government’s submission before the ministry’s expert panel comes in the backdrop of its repeated attempts to push for construction of ten hydropower projects with a total installed capacity of 82MW. In fact, last May, the state government had once again made a push for new hydropower projects above 2MW.

Last April, the Centre had also relaxed provisions of the BESZ notification based on requests of the Uttarakhand government. The environment ministry amended the notification to allow limited land use conversion to improve civic amenities and infrastructure development for the public and national security in Uttarakhand. It also relaxed provisions to allow infrastructure works even on steep slopes, after environmental impact studies.

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Critical of Didi, no takers for ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot’ film

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Even after the Supreme Court, in a directive on March 15, asking West Bengal government to ensure smooth screening of ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot‘, makers of the film are still struggling to find an exhibitor in Kolkata.

Talking to DNA, one of its producers, Kalyanmoy Chatterjee said they had written to exhibitors, but to no avail. “None of them responded. We will have to report it to the Supreme Court,” Chatterjee said. He said films normally meet 80-90 per cent of expenditure during the first two weeks of the film’s release, which the film has lost already.

Exhibitors said there was no screen available in the city. “It is already showing in places like Sodepur in North 24 Parganas and Howrah. In Kolkata, I think it is too late. There are films like Captain Marvel and Badla already doing very well and Kesari is all set to be released on Friday,” said a city-based exhibitor.

Arijit Dutta, exhibitor and owner of Priya Cinema spoke on the same lines. “If BhobishyoterBhoothad not been screened at all, it would have been a separate question; but now, it can’t be called a new film,” he said and added that makers should opt for other platforms for its release. “As the film has had the publicity it needed, it can as well be released on Netflix and other digital platforms. Producers can also talk to TV channels,” Dutta said.

However, on condition of anonymity, an exhibitor said the film is critical on Mamata government in the state. Exhibitors apparently didn’t want to take a risk by annoying Didi’s supporters.

The film, written and directed by Anik Dutta and starring Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Chandrayee Ghosh and Kaushik Sen, is about the struggle for existence for some ghosts who were trying to figure out a way to live either in cyberspace or meatspace. Dutta takes a dig at nearly all major political parties but the TMC bears a major part of the brunt. Phrases like ‘Anupreronai’ (inspired by), ‘unnayon’ (development), ‘Imam bhata’ (honorarium to Muslim clerics) and other jargons which are typical to TMC have been liberally used.

The lyrics of one of the songs said, ‘Unnoyon er koper theke naiko poritran’, which means ‘You can’t escape the predicaments of development’. The song also talks about ‘Utsav’, ‘Khela’, ‘Mela’, things that Opposition parties said Mamata was consumed with, overlooking the governance in Bengal.

The film also talks about paintings being sold for crores of rupees, hinting at Mamata’s paintings allegedly bought by chit fund company owners. One of the actors of the film had stark resemblance with TMC district president from Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal, who has been famous or infamous for his acerbic comments against the Opposition leaders and to carry out polls with the help of his musclemen.

Interestingly, Moon Moon Sen who is a TMC MP played a cameo in the film but when called up refused to comment on the issue.

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