July 4th 2019: How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to American Independence Day

July 4th 2019: How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to American Independence Day

July 4th 2019: How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to American Independence Day Telegraph Reporters Rebellions over taxes led to full-scale revolutionary war in the North American Colonies – AP More July 4 1776 was a prominent day in American history, as the 13 colonies successfully claimed their independence from the British Empire. In what is now known as Independence Day, the US’ most beloved national holiday is celebrated annually on the Fourth of July, with millions of Americans coming together to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of their nation. From the history behind America’s independence to the modern celebrations, here is everything you need to know. What is Independence Day? Independence Day commemorates the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. Introduced by the Second Continental Congress, the statement outlined that the 13 American colonies were united, independent states, who were no longer subject to British monarch. Recognised annually by Americans, fireworks, parades and other patriotic celebrations are held every year on the Fourth of July to celebrate the colonies breaking free from British control. Why did the Americans want independence? The relationship between the settlers and British had been amicable, however tensions started to escalate over the imposition of British laws and taxes. To help control settlements in the western territories, King George III introduced the Royal Proclamation of 1763, preventing the colonists settling along the Appalachian Mountains. After the French and Indian War came to a close, the Quartering Act was passed in 1765, ordering the American colonies to help house the British soldiers. Also in 1765, Britain then introduced the Stamp Act to help handle war debts; this required colonists to pay a tax on printed paper including newspapers, licenses and playing cards. Colonial governor Thomas Hutchinson (1711 – 1780) escaping from local rioters after demanding Stamp Tax from them Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive More Unsurprisingly, the colonists were not pleased. ‘No taxation without representation’ became the cry around 1765 after a rise in Britain’s national debt forced the colonists to raise import tariffs and crack down on smuggling to raise funds. There was also a growing sense of nationalism in these largely agricultural colonies and acts of American colonial defiance began in the form of rebellions, fighting and protests. Social unrest escalated further in 1773, when patriots in Boston famously destroyed a shipment of tea by boarding three ships in Boston harbour and throwing 342 chests overboard in protest over the Tea Act. This became known as the ‘Boston Tea Party’. These rebellions over taxes led to full-scale revolutionary war. What happened in the Revolutionary War? Determined to fight for their independence, Great Britain’s 13 North American Colonies fought for control over colonial affairs. They included: New Hampshire South Carolina Georgia George Washington led the American forces to victory and, thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Thomas Jefferson, France and Spain acted as allies, providing arms for the war. Independence was formally declared on July 2 1776; on July 4 1776, the final version of the Declaration was approved by Congress, announcing that the 13 colonies were free from British rule. While the Fourth of July marks the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence, most of the Congress members actually signed the document on August 2, 1776. Following the Declaration of Independence, they went on to become the United States of America – however conflict continued up until 1783. Story continues How is the day celebrated in the US? In what was a simple but powerful mark of respect to each of the colonies, 13 gunshots were fired as part of the first celebration of independence on July 4 1777, a year after the Declaration of Independence was approved. George Washington commemorated the Fourth of July the following year in 1778 by ordering a double ration of rum for his soldiers at Ross Hall, near New Jersey. Meanwhile outside the US, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams organised a celebratory dinner for Americans in Paris. The Fourth of July was officially acknowledged as a state celebration by the Massachusetts General Court in 1781, and Moravians in North Carolina, observed the day with The Psalm of Joy music programme in 1783. Nearly 100 years on from the Declaration’s approval, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870, and it was later established as a paid holiday by US Congress in 1938. Nowadays it’s typically marked by patriotic activities – usually outside. Think parades, camping, barbecues, beers and fireworks, with as much red, white and blue as possible – all punctuated with a backing track of “Star spangled banner”, “Yankee Doodle” and “God Bless America”. Politicians also like to make a point of appearing at Independence Day celebrations and praising the nation’s heritage, history and people. Who celebrates it apart from Americans? The Philippines and Rwanda also observe Fourth of July anniversaries for their own reasons. The US gave the Philippines independence on that day in 1946 and the Rwandan genocide ended with US help on July 4 1994. Rather more bizarrely, Denmark also celebrates the US version – it started with European expats in 1911, but now is just an “excuse for a nice day out” . When is Britain’s Independence Day? Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage made a case for the 23rd June to be Britain’s Independence Day in 2016, because that was the date of the 2016 Brexit vote in which he said the nation “took back control” from the European Union. However, he was criticised by some who pointed out that liberation from colonial ownership was not really equivalent to Brexit. And the point that most independence anniversaries around the world celebrate breaking from the British Empire has also been well made. Best American recipes for Independence Day From sweet treats to traditional dishes, the US is famous for its cuisine, with Americans tucking into an array of classic foods every year on Independence Day. If you’re celebrating the Fourth of July in the UK, here are some of our favourite American recipes to try and taste with your family and friends.

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01:00 PM: Check, Please! Bay Area Kids

Giveaway Check, Please! Bay Area Kids
Check, Please! Bay Area features guests and eateries as diverse the Bay Area itself. With each episode of the James Beard and Emmy Award-winning program, three local diners are cast as restaurant critics and share their favorite spots. In every Check, Please! episode, each guest chooses their favorite place to eat and the other two guests visit anonymously – the restaurants are not notified that Check, Please! “reviewers” are dining there. After trying each other’s recommendations, they join host and moderator Leslie Sbrocco to discuss, dispute, and celebrate their dining experiences with lively commentary. Minato Japanese Restaurant, Tapsilog Bistro, Giorg (#1322H) Duration: 26:14 STEREO TVY Check, Please! Bay Area KIDS Special: First up, it’s a young girl’s dream come true at San Jose’s Minato Japanese Restaurant, where kids meals come with a prize. Then a soccer player’s pick, Tapsilog Bistro, where authentic Filipino flavors pair with a sporty atmosphere in Campbell. Finally, like daughter, like mother, as a San Francisco girl shares her mom’s high school hangout, Giorgio’s Pizzeria, where generations of families have been coming for pipin’ hot pizza pies since 1972. 1:00pm Cockscomb, Dobbs Ferry Restaurant, Cafe Gabriela (#1409H) Duration: 25:47 STEREO TVG This week, we start off in San Francisco exploring Cockscomb’s rustic cuts of meat, unique and festive cuisine and vast variety of cocktails. Up next, and also in San Francisco, is Dobbs Ferry Restaurant, an upscale pub offering gourmet comfort food and an expansive drink menu. Our final stop is Cafe Gabriela, a revolutionary spot in Oakland known for casual dining with a Filipino-inspired menu. 9: Mon, Jun 10, 2019 — 7:30pm KQED 9: Tue, Jun 11, 2019 — 1:30am KQED Plus: Tue, Jun 11, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Zareen’s, Park Burger, Tu Mero Mole (#1323H) Duration: 26:08 STEREO TVY Check, Please! Bay Area KIDS Special: Up first, a water polo player who loves spicy food and finds it as often as possible at Zareen’s Palo Alto, a bustling spot offering contemporary Pakistani and Indian cuisine. Next it’s a gal with a sweet tooth, who can’t get enough of the rich frosty shakes at Oakland’s Park Burger. Finally, a young hockey fanatic who always says”si” to authentic Pueblan specialties at San Jose’s Tu Mero Mole. Plus: Wed, Jun 12, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Antipastos, The Veg Hub, Coco’s Ramen (#1324H) Duration: 26:08 STEREO TVY Check, Please! Bay Area KIDS Special: Our first guest is a teen who’s been chowing down on the homey Italian fare at Antipastos in San Jose ever since he was a bambino. Next up, an ultimate frisbee champ who shares his love for The Veg Hub, a fast- casual spot offering healthy, hearty vegan dishes in Oakland. Can’t decide between a steaming bowl of ramen or a sushi roll instead? Well an avid young baker thinks she’s found the perfect solution at Coco’s Ramen, a cozy Japanese restaurant in San Francisco that offers the best of both worlds. Plus: Thu, Jun 13, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Shinmai, Asmara Restaurant, The Ice Cream Bar (#1410H) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG Our first stop, Shinmai in Oakland, features the refined casual fare of a Japanese izakaya with a modern twist. Next, we’re off to North East African eatery Asmara Restaurant in Oakland that features shareable plates and a family style feel. Finally, we take a step back in time to a 1930’s-style soda fountain and classic lunch counter called The Ice Cream Bar in San Francisco, where you can find filling meals along with signature sweet treats. 9: Thu, Jun 13, 2019 — 7:30pm Remind me KQED 9: Fri, Jun 14, 2019 — 1:30am Remind me KQED 9: Sat, Jun 15, 2019 — 12:00pm Remind me KQED 9: Mon, Jun 17, 2019 — 7:30pm Remind me KQED 9: Tue, Jun 18, 2019 — 1:30am Remind me KQED Plus: Tue, Jun 18, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen, Picante, Da Flora (#203H) Duration: 26:13 STEREO TVG Authentic ingredients flown in from New York, make this delicatessen a special find; while flavors cultivated from a love affair with Mexico are the inspiration at our next stop. And finally the Veneto region of Italy is the focus, with just a dab of Hungarian. Plus: Fri, Jun 14, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Pasta Moon, Town Hall, Suppenkuche (#204H) Duration: 27:16 STEREO TVG Contemporary Italian, in a romantic seaside setting, begin our show, followed by a lively, trendy, fun spot with comfort food. Then off to the flavors of Germany and the boisterous atmosphere of this beer-centric restaurant. Plus: Mon, Jun 17, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Dona Thomas, Amber India, Scala’s Bistro (#209H) Duration: 27:00 STEREO TVG Fresh, seasonal ingredients are transformed into Mexican food at our first restaurant, a casual place for all. The second stop is northern Indian. This restaurant has white tablecloths and stellar service as well as great flavors and wonderful bread. The third place has dramatic architectural elements and walls adorned with murals. The bar scene is hip and the northern Italian food keeps customers satisfied. Plus: Wed, Jun 19, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Capannina, Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen and Playground (#303H) Duration: 27:18 STEREO TVG Contemporary decorations and a menu featuring flavors from the Isle of Capri are available at our first restaurant. The next spot keeps its menu in the U.S. but travels south for a taste of New Orleans. Then it’s off to Korea for some kimchee and karaoke. Plus: Thu, Jun 20, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Whipper Snapper, Trabocco, Gaumenkitzel (#1113H) Duration: 25:48 STEREO TVG We begin in the North Bay with Cal-fresh ingredients turned into Caribbean flavors at Whipper Snapper Restaurant in San Rafael. Next, we find a contemporary spot offering traditional Italian fare hidden in plain sight in an Alameda shopping mall at Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails. Finally, find made from-scratch modern German fare along with the largest selection of German beers in the East Bay in Berkeley at Gaumenkitzel German Restaurant, Beer and Wine Bar. 9: Thu, Jun 20, 2019 — 7:30pm Remind me KQED 9: Fri, Jun 21, 2019 — 1:30am Remind me KQED 9: Sat, Jun 22, 2019 — 12:00pm Remind me KQED 9: Sun, Jun 23, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Stella Alpina Osteria, Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Chou Chou (#306H) Duration: 26:08 STEREO TVG Fresh, local, Northern Italian-flavors mark this subterranean osteria as our first stop. Next, a diner that’s been serving breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. Finally, we cross the Atlantic again for a visit to a French bistro with a host brimming with personality. Plus: Fri, Jun 21, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Chez Maman, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Kirala (#309H) Duration: 26:17 STEREO TVG With a counter and 2 tables inside, and 3 tables outside, our first place is small – small, but with lots of French bistro and American fare. Space is not an issue at the next venue – with the Ocean right outside, it serves up a varied menu. Finally, a Japanese place where sushi and a Robata grill are the main features. Plus: Mon, Jun 24, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Vegetarian House, Gracias Madre, Madras Cafe (#1114H) Duration: 25:48 STEREO TVG Vegetarians rejoice! The first Check, Please! Bay Area all-vegetarian show! Beginning in San Jose with international vegetarian selections delivered under the watchful eye of the supreme master at Vegetarian House. Next, fresh, organic ingredients meld together in Mexican vegan dishes at San Francisco’s Gracias Madre. Finally, complex spices produce tantalizing aromas from the South Indian vegetarian spot in Sunnyvale, called Madras Cafe. 9: Mon, Jun 24, 2019 — 7:30pm Remind me KQED 9: Tue, Jun 25, 2019 — 1:30am Remind me Mescolanza Restaurant, Basque Cultural Center, Alexander’s Steakhouse (#401H) Duration: 26:51 STEREO TVG First, an Italian spot that’s been around for more than 20 years. It’s easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled for this cozy little place specializing in pasta and pizzetta. The next restaurant is housed in a large complex – not the place for romantic ambiance, but the food is traditional, priced right and so good. Finally, Wagyu beef and high end gourmet ingredients are the specialty at our last destination, so be prepared to open up your taste buds and your wallet for that something special! Plus: Tue, Jun 25, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Borobudur Restaurant, Alegria’s, Poggio (#404H) Duration: 26:21 STEREO TVG Indonesian food starts the show at Borobudur Restaurant. Then traditional Spanish cuisine at Alegria’s. Finally we visit Poggio for an Italian dining experience. Plus: Wed, Jun 26, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me KQED Plus: Sat, Jun 29, 2019 — 3:00pm Remind me Zeni Ethiopian, Quinn’s Lighthouse, Aquerello (#406H) Duration: 27:26 STEREO TVG The unexpected unites the three restaurants this week. Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant’s surprising location makes it a “find”. Flying peanuts hitting the floor at Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub make a casual statement, while Acquerello’s historical location support the quiet elegance of the old church’s surroundings. Plus: Thu, Jun 27, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me Jason’s, Clove & Hoof Butchery, Dragon Beaux (#1115H) Duration: 25:48 STEREO TVG There’s an Asian twist to the Cal-Ital dishes at our first stop, Jason’s Restaurant in Greenbrae. Then, it’s all about locally-sourced, responsibly-raised meat in Oakland at Clove & Hoof Butchery and Restaurant. Finally, a spacious eatery serving steaming dim sum at lunch and sizzling hot pot at dinner, in San Francisco at Dragon Beaux. 9: Thu, Jun 27, 2019 — 7:30pm Remind me KQED 9: Fri, Jun 28, 2019 — 1:30am Remind me KQED 9: Sat, Jun 29, 2019 — 9:00am Remind me KQED 9: Sat, Jun 29, 2019 — 12:00pm Remind me KQED 9: Sat, Jun 29, 2019 — 7:00pm Remind me KQED 9: Sun, Jun 30, 2019 — 1:00am Remind me KQED 9: Sun, Jun 30, 2019 — 1:00pm Remind me The Old Clam House, Gialina, Mustards Grill (#407H) Duration: 26:03 STEREO TVG A turn of the century building has housed The Old Clam House for over 100 years and its still serving some of the same fare. In contrast, Gialina has only been around for three years and delivers a contemporary menu. American food traditions continue at Mustards Grill, which celebrated its 25th birthday in 2008.

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Spain-Portugal In 9D8N: Your Muslim-Friendly Itinerary To Relive Europe’s Islamic History

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Ahh… Magnificent palaces, delicious Muslim-friendly food, amazing culture and Islamic history, jaw-dropping massive architecture and breathtaking cities. Spain and Portugal are countries of incredible cultural splendour that promise travellers the best of old and new! What’s there not to love about the two countries? 😍
| Credit: giphy
Continue reading and try not to fight the temptation to make Spain and Portugal your next epic travel destination of 2019! When To Go
Winter (November – February): This period is usually the low season and temperatures are cold. The opening hours of attractions are shorter so do check first before visiting the landmarks.
Spring and Fall (March – April and October – November): The best time to visit Spain and Portugal, plus it’s the perfect weather as it’s neither too hot or too cold!
Summer (June – August): Summertime is considered the busy period and also when temperatures soar. The accommodation prices will also rise and the weather is hot.
[P.S. Want to go on an immersive tour to Andalusia? Check out the amazing tours on the HHWT Marketplace! ] Day 1: Cordoba There are no direct flights to Cordoba, you can take a flight to Spain’s capital Madrid then take a train to Corboda. Upon your arrival in Cordoba, go to the accommodation of your choice to freshen up!
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (2-3h)
Credit: @abraham.demiguel on Instagram The first stop has got to be the Great Mosque of Cordoba! Head to the iconic Islamic landmark, one of the largest mosques after the Holy Mosque of Mecca, and Sultanahmet Mosque of Istanbul.
Credit: @franorgaz on Instagram Patio de los Naranjos, a beautiful courtyard garden also forms part of the majestic mosque, hence take your time to marvel at its beauty and learn about the Islamic history of the place ☺️ #HHWT Tip: Try to arrange your visit either in the morning or the evening, as the peak hours are from 11am to 3pm.
Chill out at a tea house (1h) After an enriching tour around Cordoba Mosque, take your pick of halal restaurants (Lebanese, Indian, Pakistani, Moroccan etc) around the 8th-century mosque!
Credit: @duncertain on Instagram An exquisite tea house called Teteria Petra is recommended with a lot of good reviews. They have various treats like falafel, chicken skewers, cakes and tea.
Explore the Jewish Quarter (2-3h)
Credit: @rachelrmyers on Instagram After filling your tummy with a delicious meal, proceed to the Jewish quarter. One of the must-see attractions is the Alley of Flowers (Calleja de las Flores) which can be found in the heart of the Jewish quarter. Day 2: Cordoba
Madinat Al-Zahra (2-3h) The excavated ruins of this medieval palace-city is your first stop for the day! To get here from Cordoba, you have to take a bus to travel out of the city. We recommend booking tickets online ! Make sure to include return bus tickets to the city inclusive of the bus ride to and from the archaeological site. Entry Fee: Bus tickets – Adult €9, Children (up to 12 years) €5. Entry is €1.50. Known as the shining city, Madinat Al-Zahra was once the administrative capital of Andalusia. It was built by the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba, Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir. Mentioned in numerous history books, this city is actually huge and built on acres and acres of land. Spend half of your eventful day here 😊
Refuel with authentic Spanish cuisine (1h)
Credit: @rlosalmendros on Instagram After an insightful tour around Madinat Al-Zahra, it’s time for some yummy Andalusian cuisine! A top halal restaurant in Cordoba that you should try is Los Almendros Restaurant , a top recommendation for halal Andalusian cuisine.
Roman Bridge and Calahorra Tower (2-3h) Head to the old Roman Bridge and visit an interactive museum called the Calahorra Tower. Be amazed as you walk on the footsteps of history and delve into the story of Christians, Muslims and Jews living in harmony during the reign.
Go souvenir hunting (1-2h) With that, head back to the Jewish Quarters for some souvenir hunting, wander along the medieval streets and enjoy a visit to the local souk there at night.
[P.S. Love Islamic history? Check out these other places in Europe which are rich in Islamic history !] Day 3: Granada Time to move to the next city! Travel to Granada by train (2.5 hours), bus (3 hours) or even rent a car to do a road trip! You can book your train tickets here and buses here . Check in to the hotel to freshen up.
Explore the Alhambra (4h)
Credit: James McNellis on Facebook Tour the crown jewel of Granada – the Alhambra. Regarded as one of the most renowned accomplishments of Islamic architecture and art, this is usually the highlight of the trip for many! There are simply so many fantastic things to see here! Built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13 th century, it can take up to 4 hours just to explore this Arabian palace – from the Alcazaba to the Patio of the Lions, the Justice Gate, the building of the Baths and the Generalife Gardens which is one of the oldest Moorish Gardens.
Go on a walking tour of Alcaiceria (2h) Then make your way to Alcaicería, home of the Great Bazaar of Granada! Go on a walking tour at a leisurely pace and visit the quaint little shops in Granada. Don’t miss your chance for some bargain hunting and tea shopping.
Grab a quick bite in the bazaar (1h)
Credit: @ ofelia.he on Instagram As an inexpensive place for food, you will be spoilt for choice! Finding a halal eatery here will not be difficult. Head to Palacio Andaluz Teteria Almona for great tagine, or Puerta De Syria for delicious Middle Eastern food.
Catch a flamenco show (2h)
Credit: @2.hj2 on Instagram After your meal, go on and catch a performance of the Flamenco dance! Get your tickets here to watch the Tablao Flamenco Albayzin. Seeing a flamenco show in Spain is an absolute must! Experience the emotions, the culture and stories as told through dance and song. Day 4: Granada
Go on a tour of Albayzin (2-3h) Start your day with a sightseeing tour of Albayzin, a named world heritage site and old Moorish quarter. If you want to learn more about the history of Albayzin, catch a free walking tour organised by Walk In Granada ! #HHWT Tip: Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes when going on walking tours!
Science Park Museum (2h)
Credit: @irene_c07 on Instagram Once you’re done exploring Albayzin, spend some time at Science Park Museum (Parque de las Ciencias). Worth every Euro and it is also great for kids! The displays here are really interactive and informative. Check out the Journey Into The Human Body and the planetarium where you can see 7,000 stars from 110 projectors.
Try halal tapas (1h)
Credit: @stickysarah on Instagram A trip to Spain is not complete without some halal tapas! For great tapas, good service and amazing atmosphere, have lunch at Cafeteria La Riffena – a travellers’ favourite.
La Madraza (1-2h)
Credit: @ _ema85_ on Instagram After sampling some great tapas, go to La Madraza, a school which was established by the Nasrid Sultan Yusuf I in the 14 th century. It is indeed a gem of Islamic art that is often overlooked!
Do your prayers at Granada Mosque (1h) Complete your day with a stop at Mezquita Mayor de Granada, a small but modern mosque. After performing your prayers here, enjoy the serenity of the garden surrounding the mosque, and the stunning views of Alhambra from the mosque – for those who wish to see the historic castle like never before!
[P.S. Want to go on an immersive tour to Andalusia? Check out the amazing tours on the HHWT Marketplace! ] Day 5: Seville Continue your epic journey and embark on a scenic bus or train ride to Seville, the fourth largest city in Spain! Bask in the city’s romantic aura as you get ready to visit some of the incredible sights that Seville has to offer.
Visit the Royal Palace of Alcazar (2-3h)
Credit: Archigeek on Flickr This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous palace for a Christian king, which displays Islamic architecture that resembles a bit like Alhambra. One of the oldest European Royal Palaces that is still in use, it was initially a fort in 913. After Muslims took over Spain, it was turned into a castle.
Admire a gothic cathedral (2h)
Credit: The Hub Huércal-Overa on Facebook Another UNESCO World Heritage Site you should tick off your list! Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral was and still is considered one of the largest gothic cathedrals in history. From the 8 th to the 13 th century, it was actually the capital city of the Umayyad Caliphate.
Go Lebanese for your meal (1h) From the cathedral, it’s a short 5 minutes’ walk to your next meal at Restaurante el Rincon de Beirut , the top Lebanese eatery in Seville! We recommend the Shish Taouk, Hamburguesa Crispy de Pollo (crispy chicken burger) and Moussaka Limasol. The portions are quite big and you can share them if you’re in a group of friends.
Be awed by collections of the Roman Empire (1-2h)
Credit: @robbietravers on Instagram Afterwards, head over to Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija, a specialty museum that contains one of the most complete and amazing collections of Roman mosaic in the region. This little gem is housed in one of the very few old mansions in Seville which you can visit. The main courtyard and several patios are a gorgeous sight! Day 6: Seville
Visit the Giralda Tower and Cathedral of Seville (2h) Begin your day with a visit to the Giralda Tower! Once upon a time, it was one of the tallest religious monument on earth during the reign of the Almohad dynasty. It is now a bell tower for the Cathedral of Seville.
Credit: Sevilla Congress & Convention on Flickr The cathedral was previously the Aljama Mosque in the late 12th-century. With Moorish elements still present, this is another fine example of the cultural blend that defines Spain. The tower has a breathtaking panoramic view of Seville. Instead of stairs, the tower has 35 inclining ramps which are about 17 storeys high!
Plaza de Espana (1h) Another landmark to visit next is the magnificent Plaza de Espana. By far Seville’s pride and glory, this immense structure measures close to 50,000 square metres. Can you imagine the size of that! This beautiful work of architecture has a Renaissance and neo-Moorish style and you can even rent small boats to row in the canal, giving it the name ‘the Venice of Seville’.
Take a stroll at Parque de Maria Luisa (1h)
Credit: @morattiizabel on Instagram From Plaza de Espana, you can also drop by Parque de Maria Luisa. At this park, you can even hire four wheel bikes to go around! #HHWT Tip: The best time to visit here is spring and autumn when the flowers are in full bloom.
Savour a halal meal at BBQ House (1h) There are a couple of Halal dining options in the city of Seville such as Al-Medina, As-Sawirah, Fez Restaurante, Casa de Abdul, Don Raimuno, Al Diuan, Aladin, Andalucia Kebab and more, so you will definitely not be hungry! BBQ House is a highly recommended halal Spanish restaurant serving barbecue dishes and tapas (appetizers). If you think that sounds good, it tastes even better. We tried the calamares fritos con ali oli (deep fried squid with ali oli sauce), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), croquetas de pollo (chicken croquette), tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette with potatoes) and grilled mixed meat skewers and lamb chops platter. The meat was tender and juicy, and the lamb chop was only seasoned with salt and pepper. Paired with their flavourful BBQ or chilli salsa sauce – it tasted heavenly! Day 7: Lisbon-Sintra, Portugal After exploring the best of Seville, it’s time to continue your adventure to Portugal! There are no trains, but you can take a quick 5-hour bus ride or fly. Book your bus tickets here .
Ah, we love Lisbon! As one of Western Europe’s most affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of traditional heritage, modernism and a multicultural population. Your epic Spain and Portugal adventure ends in this charming city, as you’ll depart home from here.
Visit the Palacio de Pena (3-4h) First things first, make your way to Sintra, a town with historic buildings and attractions. Getting to Sintra from Lisbon is easy – take the Linha de Sintra line from Rossio station in downtown Lisbon. The journey takes about 45 minutes. Palacio de Pena (Pena Palace) should be the top of your list when you’re here! The 8 th century Castle of the Moors offers amazing cliff-top palaces with views of the Serra de Sintra mountain range – it will definitely leave you breathless!
Credit: @b.aure on Instagram The palace itself displays an eclectic mixture of Muslim and oriental architecture. Wander through the courtyards that remind you of Islamic architecture. Be sure to take lots of Instagram-worthy photos here!
Wander around Sintra old town (1-2h)
Credit: Hortense Travel on Facebook After visiting the majestic Pena Palace, it’s time to explore the charming sights of Sintra’s old town. It feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city as there are quaint alleys with gift shops and eateries.
Explore Belem district (3-4h) If you’d like, you can also choose to skip Sintra old town and head straight to Belem, west of Lisbon. With its historic monuments, museums, beautiful parks as well as the popular Tejo estuary, it should be on the list of any Lisbon itinerary!
Credit: @vanessahdezz on Instagram Head over to the Torre de Belem – a 16th-century tower which played a crucial part in the Portuguese kingdom’s expansion. The lines to get up the tower can be really long and if you are strapped for time, don’t worry! The tower makes for a picture-perfect shot, and even more so if you visit during sunset.
Credit: @giulianamusco on Instagram The Jeronimos Monastery is also an important landmark of Portuguese history in Belem. The intricate architecture here is so breathtakingly beautiful 😍 This highly visited site was built to commemorate explorer Vasco de Gama’s return from India to Portugal in the 16th century and you can find his tomb here too.
Dinner at Restaurante Marrakesh (1h)
Credit: @harmonie_du_lac on Instagram After the whole day being out and about, head over to Restaurante Marrakesh for a fantastic Moroccan and Indian meal. Get your fill of tagines, fluffy naan breads and butter chicken here – guaranteed to leave you satisfied 😋
Stroll down Avenida da Liberdade (1h)
Credit: Silvina Aparicio on Facebook
End of your day by walking down the glitzy Avenida da Liberdade dotted with designer shops and trendy cafes! Even if you don’t do any shopping, it’s nice to be soaking in the atmosphere and do some window-shopping 😉 Day 8: Lisbon
Admire the view at Sao Jorge Castle (2h) Spend the morning at Citadel of Sao Jorge Castle! Dating back all the way to the Moorish times, this Citadel is situated at the highest point of the Old Town.
Credit: @cshuber on Instagram Admire the angular white houses and red terracotta rooftops of the buildings from a bird’s eye view. Make sure your camera/handphone is fully charged before heading here! You can also visit the Castle of Saint George for an experience to know about the city’s rich historical past.
Visit the local Muslim community (1-2h) While you are here in Lisbon, go to the Central Mosque of Lisbon.
Credit: @insinoor on Instagram Intricately designed with a dome and minaret, this main mosque serves the Portuguese Islamic community. Take the chance to offer your prayers here! Only inaugurated in 1985, the mosque is close by to the Metro station and El Corte Ingles shopping district.
Shop at El Corte Ingles (1-2h) Do some last-minute shopping at El Corte Ingles, a giant department store with an impressive 9 floors of fashion, design and food! From fashion to cosmetics, decoration and sportswear, you can definitely find something you need here.
Fill your tummy at Middle Eastern or Indian eateries (1h)
Credit: eating.shooting.around on Instagram In the capital of Portugal, there are many Arab or Turkish eateries for you to choose from. Grab lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh, or at Zaafran, and Maya Restaurante Indiano and Portuguese if you feel like having delicious Indian food! Zaafran serves good quality Indian food and its Chicken Tikka Briyani is a must-try 🤤
Visit Lisbon’s famous arc (1h)
Credit: @__phos on Instagram Spend your last evening in Lisbon by heading to its famous arc located in the downtown area called the Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta. Climb up the arch to enjoy fantastic views of the city! Day 9: Going home It’s your last day in Lisbon 🙁 Time to pack your luggage and check out from your hotel! To head to the airport, you can choose to take the Metro red line from any station along the line or take the Aerobus services to the airport. Check out the different ways of transportation here.
So there you have it! This itinerary will definitely be an enlightening experience that you will not forget. Go on and start planning for that epic adventure to Spain and Portugal and experience the grandeur of Europe!

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Penang among best places in Asia to visit

June 4th, 中文版
CNN International’s new travel website (CNN Travel), has named Penang as one of 17 Asia’s best destinations to consider for the next adventure.
The article, published yesterday, singled out Penang as a mecca for food and architecture lovers. it was written by Kate Springer, a Hong Kong-based freelance writer and editor, with focus on travel, dining, culture and environmental reporting.
Her work has been published by CNN, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic, Vogue, Munchies, BBC Travel, Fodor’s, Time, HK Magazine, Sotheby’s, Tatler, Home Journal, Time Out Hong Kong, Revolution Magazine, Liv Magazine, Expat Parent Magazine, Horizon Magazine, Where, The List, Post Magazine, Superfuture, Fast Media and WBEZ (Chicago Public Media).
On Penang, Springer said: “Located off the western coast of Malaysia, the island of Penang is a mecca for food and architecture lovers.
“George Town, the island’s main city, makes for an ideal home base, thanks to a dynamic cityscape that’s punctuated by British colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and ornate Chinese manor houses.
“This seaside city is known as one of the world’s top food destinations, serving up a delicious mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine.
“You’ll crave dishes like Hokkien mee (fried prawn noodles), roti canai (an Indian-influenced flat bread dish with dal or curry) and Penang laksa for years after visiting.”
Besides Penang, also named were Bhutan, El Nido in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Seoul in South Korea, Rajasthan in India, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Hanoi and Phu Quoc in Vietnam, The Great Wall and Xi’an in China, Chiang Rai in Thailand, Luang Prabang in Laos, Kathmandu in Nepal, Yogyakarta in Indonesia, Kyoto in Japan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has since taken to his official Facebook page to urge visitors to visit Penang for an unforgettable experience.
“It is a great honour for Penang. We need to ensure that we do not rest on our laurels.
“The state Tourism Committee chairman (Yeoh Soon Hin) is working very hard to transform this important economic sector so that we continue to be a destination of choice and provide job opportunities for our people,” Chow said in an immediate WhatsApp response to the New Straits Times.
On July 13 last year, Bangkok-based CNN Travel senior producer Karla Cripps, in her article “George Town, Penang: Asia’s greatest street food city?” wrote at length on Penang’s street food culture and the state as an eater’s paradise.

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Food Challenge: Can You Finish These Humongous Chhola Bhaturas? Here’s Where To Try

Food Challenge: Can You Finish These Humongous Chhola Bhaturas? Here’s Where To Try! Food Challenge: Can You Finish These Humongous Chhola Bhaturas? Here’s Where To Try! Aryushi Srivastava | Updated: June 10, 2019 18:40 IST The humongous bhaturas at Punjabi By Nature are not only astonishing but are extremely delicious too. Highlights Head to Punjabi by Nature 2.0 to savour these humongous chhole bhature A plate of chhole bhature at Punjabi By Nature 2.0 is quite economical The restaurant serves some more delights too apart from chhole bhatura
Punjabi By Nature is a casual dining restaurant serving the best of authentic North Indian cuisine. It is a quite famous restaurant, which has various branches in-and-around Delhi and is popular for invoking a Punjabi foodie soul in everyone. It offers a swathe of delightful North Indian delicacies, out of which enormously huge chhole bhaturas are hitting a storm these days. These humongous bhaturas are not only astonishing but are extremely delicious too. And guess what, a plate of chhole bhature at Punjabi By Nature 2.0 costs only 250 bucks and is served steaming hot with some delightful paneer chole along with some onion rings. Drooling already?
“Live life king size,” says a pure Punjabi soul and Punjabi By Nature 2.0 has taken it seriously with their king-size chole bhaturas, which are rapidly gaining popularity among the food lovers and bloggers in-and-around Delhi. If you foodies proudly call yourself a true food lover and have the capacity to wolf down one of the biggest chole bhaturas of town, then you must head to the nearest Punjabi by Nature 2.0 restaurant. But that’s not it; the restaurant serves some more amazing delights too apart from chhole bhaturas like cheese nanza, which is a butter naan topped with lots of cheese and sauces, and baked rasmalai , which is one of the best fusion desserts you may find in Delhi. Dal makhani , butter chicken, stuffed mushroom, rara ghosht and dahi ke kebab are a few of the top dishes served here.

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2019 Best of Bermuda Awards: Food, Drink & Entertainment

2019 : Food, Drink & Entertainment June 10, 2019 Written by: Annabel Cooper
Award of Excellence: Flanagan’s Irish Pub For 23 years now, Flanagan’s has been a Front Street staple providing fun nights out, delicious meals, a friendly spot to enjoy a quiet pint or a noisy and atmospheric place to watch the game. From breakfast until closing time, their “Friendliest wait staff in Bermuda” will treat you like family. “The views from the patio section are unbeatable,” “Best bar in Bermuda, especially if you want great stories and that hometown welcome,” “Good beer and great nachos,” “The freshly baked fish potpie made with local fish was a great lunch,” and the rave reviews just keep coming in. Luck of the Irish? I don’t think so. It wins because the 13 people who own Harbourside Holdings Ltd are all involved in making Flanagan’s the best. The majority are full-time employees and on St. Patrick’s Day it was all hands on deck! Every single owner was working that night.
Cup of Java: Brew The latest addition to Front Street, Brew opened in November 2018 and has proved an instant hit with coffee aficionados across the island. Not only are its gourmet coffees the best in town, but the décor is unique and creates an atmosphere that sets this “new kid on the block” apart from its contemporaries. It is perfect for a quick cuppa with a colleague, an informal business meeting or a relaxing pick-me-up with friends. Whether you want a “Curlywurly Frappé,” a “nitrogen injected cold brew” or just a plain black Americano, the staff are friendly and fun! 53 Front Street, Hamilton, 542 2739
Breakfast: Bouchée—Bistro Français It’s official! The people have voted and once again, there is nowhere better for breakfast in Bermuda than Bouchée. Particularly popular on Saturday and Sunday mornings, their walls are heaving with Best of Bermuda awards and diners rave about their “best blueberry pancakes ever” and “great French toast and sausage.” 75 Pitt’s Bay Road, Hamilton, 295 5759 Honourable Mention: The Cottage Café & Bistro
Favourite Pub: Flanagan’s Outback Sports Bar “Who doesn’t like Flanagan’s?” asked the judges of the overwhelming winner, yet again, of Bermuda’s best pub. This two-sided favourite—main bar on one side and Outback Sports Bar on the other—has everything you need for a fun night out with friends or just a quick pint. The pub’s regulars rave about the good selection of beers and cocktails that pack a punch. Emporium Building, 69 Front Street, Hamilton, 295 8299
Place for a Power Lunch: Bolero This “quintessential neighbourhood bistro” offers an all-round high quality experience. “I had the best steak in my whole life at Bolero,” says one judge. If you want to attract the business crowd, they need to be able to have a serious conversation in private as well as enjoy a delicious meal and Bolero caters for these expectations. The judges said the restaurant’s set business lunch menu was “really good value” and regularly changed to keep it “current and fresh.” The proof of their success is that “you see a lot of suits in there.” “A lot of deals were getting made in there. Good wine list too!” 95 Front Street, Hamilton, 292 4507
Hamburger: Byrdie’s Cafe There are a lot of good places to get a burger in Bermuda so this was a tough category, but the judges agreed that while they enjoy a gourmet hamburger from time to time, more often than not they “just want an old school meal” and Byrdie’s on Parson’s Road hits that spot. Owned and run by brother and sister team Neilson and Ann Marie DeGraff, Byrdie’s burgers are not only delicious but excellent value for money. Their popular bacon and cheese burgers will only set you back $6.75. 12 Parsons Road, Pembroke, 292 6130
Great Sandwich: Hickory Stick Hamilton’s breakfast and lunchtime staple for busy people on the go, The Hickory Stick “make them this big” say the judges stretching their arms as wide as possible. “Nowhere else can you get that pile of meat!” During mealtime rush hours, it is heaving, but they remember their regulars and already know their orders so you are rarely waiting for long. The options are endless and combinations mouthwatering at this regular Best of Bermuda winner. Clarendon House, 2 Church Street, Hamilton, 292 1781
Food Truck: Jor-Jay’s Takeout It may be on wheels, but Jor-Jay’s red and white truck feels like a permanent fixture as you enter and leave the City of Hamilton. “It’s great on the way home on a Friday night or early Saturday morning,” said the judges. Whether you fancy a fish sandwich, burger, chicken tenders or just a bunch of fries, it’s hot, tasty and available from morning until the very end of party time. Front Street Parking Lot No. 40 (opposite The Supermart), 296 3114
Lunch on the Go: Miles When you’re hungry and in a rush you want good food now and, according to our judges, “Miles Market is the best place to go whether you are in a truck, a car or on foot.” Not only is there a fantastic selection of delicious food to suit every craving and dietary requirement, but there’s free parking too, and plenty of it. The judges also praise Miles for its excellent value, especially its sandwiches, soups and fruit. Whether you want wraps, rolls, detox salads, smoothies, mouthwatering sweet treats or a tasty hot meal, “Miles-To-Go” is the best place for lunch on the move. 96 Pitt’s Bay Road, Pembroke, 295 1234 Ext. 256
Diner: Speciality Inn I’ve no idea where the family-owned and managed Specialty Inn will manage to fit this latest in a long line of Best of Bermuda awards. Their walls are heaving with them! “The food is really good,” say our judges, and they praise the Bermudian staff, in particular Jackie who is “a legend.” Recently renovated and now with a larger sushi bar, the judges say they are “constantly doing things to improve and stay current.” They make their own pizza dough, pastries and burgers from scratch and the menu is amazingly varied. It doesn’t matter whether you order sushi, pancakes, a salad, a sandwich or nearly every kind of seafood option you can imagine, it’s tasty and served with a smile. Collector’s Hill, 4 South Shore Road, Smith’s, 236 3133
Salad: Devil’s Isle Devil’s Isle has set a new standard for salads on the island. They are “miles ahead of everybody,” say the judges, who singled out the wahoo bowl as being “really good.” Everything looks and tastes fresh and whether you go for a classic “Kale Caesar” or a “Grilled Shrimp Salad” or one of their more exotic bowls, you can satisfy your appetite virtually guilt-free. 19 Burnaby Street, Hamilton, 292 3284 Honourable Mention: Salty Lime
Salad Bar: Café 4 When it comes to a “grab and go” salad that will taste delicious and fill you up, “Café 4 have done an amazing job,” say the judges. “The quality is higher, they have great variety, it’s quick and it’s efficient.” They were also full of praise for Greg Heng, whom they describe as “the happiest man ever!” Windsor Place, 18 Queen Street, Hamilton, 295 8444
Sushi: Beluga Bar Many of Bermuda’s restaurants excel at sushi, but Beluga Bar has managed to outstrip them all, once again, to be crowned the Best of Bermuda in this category. Executive chef Sammy Wong is known as “the King of Sushi in Bermuda,” says one judge. “He’s very creative—the Japanese pizza is amazing.” It’s not just Bermudians who love Sammy’s sushi. TripAdvisor is overflowing with rave reviews. It “outrates” Nobu and ROKA in London, according to one. Washington Mall Phase III, 18 Church Street, Hamilton, 542 2859
Pizza: J&B’s Wood Fired Pizza J&B’s has transformed the pizza scene in Bermuda. Making its debut during the America’s Cup in June 2017, the company was founded by former Sandys Middle School principal, Dr. Timothy Jackson. J&B’s offers sugar-free bases and ingredients cooked in a mobile pizza oven. Their menu ranges from “build your own” simple classics to “Onion Patch” with mozzarella, marinara sauce and caramelised onions and “Works” which includes sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, red onions, pineapples and basil. On different days of the week they can be found at Kindley Field in St. David’s, Lodge Somers Isle in Sandys or The Berkeley Institute. Courtesy of the Sargasso Sea app they also deliver to Pembroke, Paget, Devonshire, Warwick and Smith’s. www.jbwoodfiredpizza.com
Place for Veggie Lovers: Village Pantry When one of the judges joined their “extremely particular” vegan friend at a birthday party at Village Pantry the verdict was “he thoroughly enjoyed it and left with his belly full.” Being out of town, Village Pantry has a different vibe to Devil’s Isle and the judges said they “love it down there.” It has taken its vegetarian and vegan menu to a whole new level with delights such as “The Buddha Bowl” and “Vegan Tostada.” 8 North Shore Road, Flatts Village, 478 2300
Ethnic Cuisine: Ruby Murry’s Our judges just can’t get enough of Indian restaurant Ruby Murry’s. “It’s phenomenal,” one says. “I go there once a week. For lunch they do the buffet—if you do takeout it’s a great bang for your buck. The container is big enough for lunch and dinner, but you better not take it back to your office, though… it’s not fair on everyone else!” Chancery Lane, Hamilton, 295 5058
Fine Dining: Ascots A regular Best of Bermuda winner, Ascots has not let its excellent reputation go to its head and still pulls out all the stops for anyone wanting to make their meal out an extra special occasion. Visitors and locals alike love it for its “old Bermuda charm,” “cold banana soup,” “perfectly prepared lamb chops,” and being made to feel like “treasured long-lost friends from the time we entered the lovely bar for a drink before dinner.” 24 Rosemont Avenue, Hamilton, 295 9644
Ambiance: Waterlot Inn For the best character and atmosphere on the island what can beat a dock, a band, a beautiful sunset and a “true Bermudian cottage feel?” The Waterlot Inn, say the judges, is also “very romantic.” Whether you are in a large group or just a couple you can enjoy the ambiance of the whole place without imposing on each other. And of course, we can’t write about this historic eatery without saying incredible steaks and sides. Middle Road, Southampton, 238 8000
Hotel Restaurant: Huckleberry Huckleberry was a very popular choice among our judges who noted, among other attributes, “it has my favourite salad right now and they have the best staff.” Found in the main house and grand porch of the Rosedon Hotel, Huckleberry is a tribute to Mark Twain and “draws inspiration from the author’s Southern roots.” Diners say they love to sit outside on a sunny day and are very complimentary about the food presentation as well as the flavour. Rosedon Hotel, 61 Pitt’s Bay Road, Pembroke, 478 2256
Sunday Brunch: Marcus’ This tasty and visually stunning restaurant was a hands-down winner for the best Sunday Brunch category. “Marcus’ is so much more diverse; it’s more out of the box. Fish and beef tacos for brunch—how can you not eat that?” says one judge. “They’re creative. It was presented so beautifully,” they continue. “Often with brunch buffets they look so unappealing after a few people have gone through, but Marcus’ is different. It constantly looks fresh, well dressed and they’ve just added a dim sum cart.” Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, 76 Pitt’s Bay Road, Pembroke, 295 3000
Kid-friendly Restaurant: Village Pantry Two wins for the Village Pantry! Not only is the food healthy and delicious but you can take your children there as well and actually relax and enjoy your meal and they enjoy the outdoor play area or sit quietly (sometimes!) and colour in their menus. “It’s a family experience,” says one judge. “They have a ‘make your own pizza’ for kids. They bring the sauce out and the kids can decorate it. I have kids who have severe allergies and Village Pantry is the only place I will take them.” 8 North Shore Road, Flatts Village, 478 2300 Honourable Mention: FryDay’s
Private Dining Room: Harry’s Another regular winner, Harry’s has once again been voted the best private dining room in Bermuda. Brilliantly located in the Waterfront, it’s private dining room is just that, completely private, hiding in the middle of the restaurant and surrounded by their wine cellar. Perfect for business deals or a group of friends who want something more elegant and ambient than a noisy restaurant. 96 Pitt’s Bay Road, Pembroke, 295 6694
Out of Town Eatery: Tempest Bistro Still the most popular out of town eatery, “Tempest is the bomb,” says a judge. “Some of the best food I’ve had in Bermuda and a great ambiance.” Tempest is run by the same team behind Mad Hatter’s in Hamilton and the judges love that Mark and his staff are “nice, down to earth, know their menu and know their wine.” Diners rave about the food, the views and the service. 22 Water Street, St. George’s, 297 0861

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I didnt have breakfast but the area inside an indian restaurant looked poor. I did eat in the Indian and it was not good. With all the competition in Indian cuisine in the area I would have thought that they would try harder with this. It lets the hotel down.
Excellent location, directly outside the Metro and one stop from Mall of Emirates. Very modern hotel, with cool walk in shower. Nice touch with a glass of Juice and some fruit in the room. The turkish restaurant attached to the property is a real bonus. Great authentic food. I didn’t use the facilities, gym, pool etc. Staff excellent and room cleanliness excellent. Overall I would highly recommend this hotel.
Stayed in June 2019

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Explore The East Glacier Park Area

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Glacier National Park covers a staggering 1 million acres, surrounded by some of Western Montana’s charming small communities that serve as gateways to the park. East Glacier Park , located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, is less than 10 miles from the Two Medicine park entrance. This historic community, with its 363 residents, is ready to give you a warm western welcome this summer and is the perfect place to begin a Western Montana adventure. It took 75 men a year and a half to construct the two main buildings. You won’t want to miss the splendor of Glacier Park Lodge.
It’s easy to get here. Amtrak’s historic Empire Builder train stops (seasonally) at East Glacier Park and convenient car rentals are available to help you get around. The East Glacier Park train depot was built in 1913 and sits directly across from Glacier Park Lodge , built the same year by the Great Northern Railway, beginning its rich and unique history with the railway. The architecture of Glacier Park Lodge will take your breath away; even if you’re not staying the night, be sure to stop in to see the grandeur of the lodge and its lobby. Explore the grounds further and you’ll find a nine-hole golf course—the oldest grass greens course in Montana, where each hole is named after a chief of the Blackfeet Nation. Not-to-be-missed are the lush gardens with breathtaking views of Dancing Lady Mountain. The exposed beams, gabled roofs, large windows, and decorative moldings of Glacier Park Lodge were designed to resemble Swiss-style architecture.
When it’s time to eat, Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant has you covered. The restaurant building is the oldest house left standing in East Glacier Park. Built in 1909, it has since been updated with modern conveniences. Specializing in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, customers leave bragging about their meal—and come back for more. For a spin on a classic taco, try the locally raised bison taco when offered as a special, or choose a bison burger with green chili and jack cheese—a regular on the menu. Note: this popular restaurant does not take reservations and sometimes has quite a wait—it’s worth it, but plan accordingly. Saddle up! Horseback riding is one of the most intimate ways to explore Glacier Country. Photo: Visit MT
Once you’ve fueled up on food, saddle up for a guided horseback ride from Glacier Gateway Trailrides . Experience unspoiled beauty riding along the eastern border of Glacier National Park and deep into the Blackfeet Indian Reservation . American Indian guides will take you off the beaten path, providing an intimate view of Looking Glass Mountain and the Two Medicine River gorge. Offered June through September, you won’t want to miss this tranquil and unique adventure. You won’t find a more genuine Western Montana affair than this. Photo: Bear Creek Ranch
You’d be hard pressed to find a more authentic ranch experience than Bear Creek Guest Ranch during their Montana Cattle Drive or Horseback Riding Retreats . Immerse yourself in cowboy culture, participate in roping, cattle drives, arena riding, hiking or fishing in Glacier National Park, float trips and more. Choose between staying in the main house with your hosts, the Beck family, or stay in one of the on-site cabins. The nearby Two Medicine Valley has some of the most spectacular hiking spots. Photo: Josephy Kennedy
Of course, in East Glacier Park—located right outside Glacier National Park—recreation abounds. The surrounding streams and lakes offer world-class trout fishing. Numerous hiking trails dot the area, and wildlife watching commonly delivers sights of moose, deer, elk and mountain goats among spectacular scenery. Relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the view at The Cottages at Glacier. Photo: The Cottages at Glacier
Still looking for a place to rest your head? The Cottages at Glacier provide luxurious accommodations. The detached two and three-bedroom cottages feature a stone fireplace, a full kitchen, AC, Wi-Fi, and a balcony that serves up unmatched views of Glacier National Park. The newest cabins have a Jacuzzi tub, and, after a full day of exploring, you’ll rejoice from a relaxing soak. Owned by the family that founded St. Mary Village, the original cottages were built it 1929 for the children of the founders. Today those cottages comprise The Cottages at Glacier.
This tightly knit community charms with events like the Glacier Half Marathon , approaching soon on June 22, 2019. Visit East Glacier Park for yourself. Click here for more information on where to eat, stay and play, and to learn about the history of East Glacier Park.

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Hot New Tables in Bali: June 2019 – What’s New Bali

June 10, 2019 share We get you, Bali’s been busy the last weeks and you may think “Is there not enough cool places to eat now?” as you queue in packed places. Be still… if you are (still) here, or plan to return soon, this month’s lineup can be your guide! The Pontiac Stardust The Pontiac Stardust Sits next to the Alila Seminyak, The Pontiac Stardust is a cosmic road trip thru 1950’s/60’s Palm Springs. A progressive cocktail bar inspired by the art and energy of mid-century modern Palm Springs, this is a culture not a concept helmed by award-winning bartender, Beckaly Franks. Reinvention with continued ethos and drive. The Pontiac Stardust is dubbed the First Lady of Mixology, Beckaly, who is the first female mixologist to win the prestigious 42 Below Cocktail World Cup.
The Pontiac Stardust |Jalan Taman Ganesha No. 9, Petitenget| Call: +62 361-447 1192 Xich Lo Xich LoXiauthentic Serving authentic Vietnamese food, Xich Lo’s second location just opened in Canggu. Set a in a creative traditional Balinese landscape in the heart of Kerobokan, Xich Lo injects new life, inspiration and great tasting food to the area. We vouch for meaty Bánh Mì, Beef Luc Lac (shaken stir-fried beef with red and green peopers served with steam rice and side beef broth), or Cơm Thit Nuong (grilled meat and rice).
Xich Lo | Jl Padang Linjong No.1, Canggu| Call: +62 8123 659 4939. Ninety One Ninety One A new spot located in the heart of Canggu, Ninety Nine is a stunning converted villa, serving up dishes and drinks inspired by flavors of the East. We add just the right amount of spice to your Bali adventure. Coming to Ninety One is like stepping into your home: good food, good company and good times guaranteed. Almost all the food here is best served family style; plates shared in the middle of the table alongside lush cocktails and great wines. The food, lay out, and ambiance making dining at Ninety One like coming home to a family, really.
Ninetyone |Jl Batu Bolong No.91, Canggu| Call +62 821 9888 9191. Spice Mantraa Spice Mantraa The origin of Spice Mantraa is inspired by the timeless allure of Indian cuisine, with a new concept will take you on a global journey of classic dishes with a contemporary twist. At Spice Mantraa one can taste the symphony of a creative Indian kitchen fused with the playfulness of molecular gastronomy and avant-garde cuisine that will delight you with their complexity and wittiness. We need to warn you, everything here is only for ones with a bold appetite (and yes, strong stomach)
Spice Mantraa |Jl Raya Petitenget No 112B, Seminyak| Call: +62 361 9344234

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The South Wall of India Centre

South India, barring Karnataka, stopped the Modi-Shah juggernaut by voting in a diametrically opposite manner to what the North that gave the BJP its biggest ever electoral victory with 303 seats. With its allies, the NDA tally stood at a massive 353. Clearly, the BJP repeated the Black Swan moment that many expected not to occur again, and definitely not so in quick succession.
A weakened Congress, with its organisation in tatters, was no match to the BJP electoral machine. Moreover, the opposition failed to fight as a united force as it promised to. Several contributing factors added to the overall BJP victory across a vast swathe of North and West like Pulwama, paranoia about Muslims from across the border, a new upper caste consolidation in Uttar Pradesh that felt threatened with the idea of a Mayawati as the PM, in East and North East, the foreigners’ issue all combined to give the BJP its second successive victory in general elections.
But all these same factors did not have the same impact in South India, where voters rejected the BJP and its allies, save for Karnataka.
Out of the 130 seats on offer, the BJP alliance could win only 30 thanks to the collapse of the Janata Dal (S) – Congress alliance that fell apart due to internal differences that led to a dysfunctional Karnataka government. In Karnataka, the BJP swept aside the coalition winning 25 of the 28 seats. The vote in Karnataka was as much against the infighting of the coalition partners also it was a positive vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Moreover, In Karnataka, the BJP has had penetrated many years ago and has a strong cadre base in addition to the Sangh parivar and affiliated organisations working for it. In the assembly elections held last year, the BJP nearly came to power on its own, falling just eight MLAs short of the magic figure.
North-South divide
But voters in the rest of South India – one Union Territory, Puducherry and four States, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana – did not buy the BJP campaign of phir ek baar, Modi Sarkar (one more term for Modi Govt.)
The question that begs itself to be answered here is why the South voted differently.
Now it remains to be seen as to how this clear-cut North-South divide in voting in national elections plays out in terms of governance delivery as also immediate, short term and long-term politics in the region. Especially, when viewed in the backdrop of the lament of Chief Ministers of South Indian States and their serious concerns over far lesser returns on revenues they generate and add to the national kitty – an argument that did not find favour with either the centre or the States that are supposedly allotted more funds than they should have, on the basis of their contributions to the national exchequer. Now it remains to be seen as to how this clear-cut North-South divide in voting in national elections plays out in terms of governance and politics.
Chief Ministers of Southern States of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Puducherry came out against the change in norms of devolution of finances from the 15 th Finance Commission. These CMs had alleged that new terms of reference for the finance commission, directing it to use 2011 census figures in the formula to calculate how tax revenues were to be divided between the States, would be detrimental to the interests of the States that controlled population growth over the decades. The 14 th Finance Commission used the 1971 census to determine tax revenue sharing. The South Indian States demanded that the FC use 1971 census figures only. These concerns were dismissed as baseless by the centre. File photo: Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala CM; N. Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh CM; M.K. Stalin, DMK President; Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Congress President at the unveiling of statue of former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at the DMK party headquarters in Chennai on December 16, 2018. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh
Terming it a needless controversy, the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said allegations were being made that the terms of reference of the Finance Commission was loaded against any particular region of the country. The share in central taxes is allocated to the States based on recommendations made by the Commissions to help them meet fiscal deficiency in providing a minimum standard of services to their people.
But the South Indian State CMs were far from convinced.
There is seemingly is a North-South divide discernible in various aspects of life – languages, food, culture, economics, and politics – from times immemorial. As it has been so historically, even when we go back in history to the times of the empires ruled by the different Indian monarchical dynasties.
If we look at the Indian landscape after the fall of the Mauryan empire to the times when large parts of the current day north India was under Kushan empire, the South had its own set of rulers. What we now know as the Andhra region, was ruled by the Satavahanas dynasty and by Cholas in Tamil Nadu region. Large parts of areas surrounding present-day Kerala were under the regime of Cheran kingdoms, indicating as to how the different regions were under different monarchical control with different governance models in place. The animosity existing in northern India based on religion does not get traction in this part of the country.
Even when large tracts of Indian sub-continent were subject to Mughal invasions, several parts of current day Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala remained untouched by the destruction heaped by the marauding invaders. And hence, the animosity existing in northern India based on religion does not get traction in this part of the country.
The collapse of the Kushan empire that included areas in Afghanistan and current day Pakistan led to the emergence of various little kingdoms and fiefdoms. Even during this period, parts of the southern peninsula were ruled by dynasties, at war with one another, that the British took advantage of and conquered one by one and established their rule across the landmass that comprises current day modern nation-state of India. South India has over the years has become a manufacturing hub and education, the two key drivers of economic activity.
The different regions of India, forgot their differences and divide on a host of issues and got together to overthrow a common enemy – the British. The mission was accomplished and India was born as a sovereign democratic republic. Unity in diversity has been the biggest strength of the country but traditional differences in different aspects of life continue — whether in culture, cuisine music, social parameters like education, health, and various development indicators. South India has over the years has become a manufacturing hub and education, the two key drivers of economic activity. Along with Maharashtra and Gujarat, South as a region progressed faster as compared to the North.
Electoral outcomes too reflect North-South divide
It was in Tamil Nadu that Congress, a national party, was ejected out of power in 1967 and ever since then, Congress has not been able to make any significant headway. It has been forced to play second fiddle to either of the two Dravidian majors, whether in State assembly or Lok Sabha elections. DMK president M.K. Stalin speaking at Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s swearing in ceremony at IGMC Stadium in Vijayawada on May 30, 2019. Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar/The Hindu
If we take the period of emergency and polls immediately after that, Janata Party – a coalition of different non-Congress parties that came together just to oppose and defeat Indira Gandhi led Congress – swept North India and came to power, but South India stood by Indira Gandhi. In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress won all the 42 seats, barring one of Janata Party leader N. Sanjiva Reddy who went onto becoming the Speaker and then the President of the country. The excesses of the emergency regime – demolitions, forcible sterilizations, and censorship – touched more human lives directly in North as compared to South India and hence in terms of electoral impact, it heaped lesser damage to the Congress and Indira Gandhi.
If we take the example of more recent times, in 2004, it was the Congress numbers in Andhra Pradesh (29) and Tamil Nadu, along with its alliance partner DMK (39) plus one Puducherry seat that enabled it to become the largest single party with 145 seats and lead the formation of a UPA government at the centre. In the subsequent elections too, the powerful performance of the party in South ensured that it got re-elected, something even few of the Congress ministers were doubting at that time. In AP Congress won 33 seats and in Tamil Nadu, the tally of Cong-DMK was 26.
Even in 2014 general elections, it was Tamil Nadu that stopped the Modi wave at the State’s borders, with the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa winning 37 out of 39 seats. Once again, in 2019, it is South India barring Karnakata that stood up to the Modi wave. The ground in Karnataka was prepared from previous elections when the BJP successfully expanded its base and made it its gateway to the South way back in 2008.
The reasons are not far to seek. The issues that fetched the BJP huge dividends in terms of votes and seats in North and West India failed to find resonance in relatively more developed and progressive South India – except in Karnataka where Modi magic seemed to have worked. The ground in Karnataka was prepared from previous elections when the BJP successfully expanded its base and vote in successive elections formed a government on its own and became its gateway to South India way back in 2008.
But since the government it provided was a lackluster one and no different from others that preceded it, the BJP lost ground in 2013 and even today finds itself out of power, thanks to a post-poll coalition of the JD (S) and Congress. Despite winning 104 seats in the 224-member house, the BJP finds itself on the opposition benches as the Congress with 80 and Janata Dal (S) with 37 got together and formed the government. The magic number is 112 and the BJP fell short by just 8 members. Today, the BJP is trying to get few Congress and or JD (S) MLAs to resign, to bring down the magic number, topple the government and install its own.
Fewer takers for Hindutva in South India
In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the BJP failed to open its account.
The reasons for the poor showing of the BJP in the South, despite an increase in its number of seats and vote share, are not far to seek. By and large, the issues that resonate in the North, like Ram temple, cow protection, or even muscular nationalism as reflected by the Balakot airstrikes into Pakistani territory to avenge Pulwama terror strike in which 45 soldiers died, did not find favour in the South. There are fewer takers for the BJP’s Hindutva agenda and Modi centric campaign in South India as the results show. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, with Siddaramaiah, chairman of the coordination committee of the Janata Dal (Secular) – Congress coalition government, and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao, at a meeting held in Kumara Krupa Guesthouse, in Bengaluru on May 28, 2019.
Though in parts of Karnataka, notably the coastal areas and urban centres the BJP’s campaign worked but in large parts of the State, voters expressed their displeasure at the functioning of the State government and the infighting of the two coalition partners and punished it by giving 25 seats to the BJP. On the ground, the coalition failed to work completely and the infighting of the coalition partners costing both dearly. In a State where the Congress and the JD (S) have been traditional rivals, it was too much to expect the cadres to work in sync with one another, especially at a time when Congress and JD (S) leaders were having a go at each other. If former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wanted to defeat the Deve Gowda family, the sentiments were reciprocated by the coalition partner. Seat sharing between the coalition partners too left much to be desired as JD (S) sought and got tickets in areas where the Congress had a stronger base. Clearly, the vote transfers did not take place as the cadres were at loggerheads.
In Telangana, the only other southern State that gave the BJP reasons to cheer, ironically it was the impression that Chief Minister and TRS chief, K. Chandrashekhara Rao, were seen as the B-team of the BJP. All his attempts to float a Federal Front appeared to have been guided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with whom the CM shared a good rapport. Perhaps, KCR had foreseen such an eventuality and had advanced assembly elections by six months and swept the December polls to return with a brute majority. And he has mopped up more Congress MLAs by engineering defections. But this all-powerful CM, who could do no wrong, appeared to entertain national ambitions in the hope of the electorate throwing up a hung parliament but found out that the ground was shifting from under his feet. His own daughter Kavitha lost in Karimnagar constituency. But more important, from the South India voting story, Telangana gave the BJP four seats, up from a single seat in 2014. What is even more significant is that even the Congress, pulverized in the assembly elections, managed to win three Lok Sabha seats.
TN, Kerala & Andhra reject BJP totally File photo: Even before the elections, Tamil Nadu saw protests against the Prime Minister, Narednra Modi. In one such protest on April 12, 2018, hundreds of black balloons were released into the city’s skies when the Prime Minister made an official visit to Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani
If there is anyone State that witnessed an anti-Modi wave, it was Tamil Nadu, where AICC President Rahul Gandhi appeared more popular than Prime Minister Modi. As in Kerala, so in Tamil Nadu the fact that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was projected as the Prime Minister candidate helped set up a direct battle between two gladiators, unlike in North India and elsewhere where Congress could not openly declare a PM candidate, unsure as it was of numbers it was likely to get. In Tamil Nadu, the BJP not only failed to retain the lone seat it had won in 2014, but it also seems to have pulled down its alliance partner, AIADMK, that had swept the State in the previous elections.
In Tamil Nadu, the BJP not only failed to retain the lone seat it had won in 2014, but it also seems to have pulled down its alliance partner, AIADMK that had swept the State in the previous elections, winning all but two of the 39 seats. The AIADMK paid for its alliance with the party that found no favour among people. The reason for such negative sentiments against the BJP is a strong perception that it was a north Indian Hindi party and the Modi government was seen as anti-Tamil Nadu in its responses to the issues of the State. People did not forget the fact that farmers from Cauvery belt spent months in Delhi protesting, but the Prime Minister did not even meet them for five minutes. Whether it was Cauvery, NEET – common medical entrance examination, or controversial highway projects across fertile agricultural lands in the western belt, the people of the State were at the receiving end. They were only waiting for the elections to teach a lesson to the BJP and to AIADMK for cozying up with the ruling party at the centre. Moreover, the DMK and its chief M.K. Stalin managed to create a rainbow coalition of Dravidian forces, centre and left of centre parties, Dalit party, and Tamil nationalists. This coalition countered the BJP’s Hindutva ideology effectively, preventing it from striking deeper roots electorally in the State. The DMK and its chief M.K. Stalin created a rainbow coalition, which countered the BJP’s Hindutva ideology and prevented it from striking deeper roots in the State.
In neighbouring Kerala, even the BJP candidate in Union Minister K.J. Alphons lost his deposit in Ernakulam. The Congress won 19 of the total 20 seats, leaving just the one for the LDF constituent, CPM. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the valedicotry function of the 1000-days celebrations of the LDF Government in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. Due to a throat infection, the CM did not deliver the inaugural address. Photo: S.Gopakumar/The Hindu.
All the seemingly polarizing Hindutva campaign surrounding the Sabarimala issue failed to convince the highly literate State to vote for the BJP, though its vote share increased to 12.9 percent now. Women sure did come out on streets against the Supreme Court verdict on temple entry, but when it came to voting they trusted the Congress. The devout women and men, angry with the SC verdict, were totally cut up with the LDF government for the stringency with which it tried to implement the apex court verdict. The BJP thought it could milk the issue for votes. For sure, the BJP vote share did increase in Kerala, but not enough for it to win seats for Lok Sabha. In the next assembly elections, the BJP would be a more serious player in the bipolar polity in the State. In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP ended up with a 0.96 per cent vote share that was lesser than what NOTA polled at 1.49 per cent.
In Andhra Pradesh, the two national parties, were not even in the fray, so to speak, as the two regional chiefs – Telugu Desam Party supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu and challenger YSRCP head Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy fought it out, both for assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Riding on strong anti-incumbency, Jaganmohan Reddy swept to power with a massive majority, decimating the ruling TDP. He won 22 out of the 25 parliamentary seats as well. In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP ended up with a 0.96 per cent vote share that was lesser than what NOTA polled at 1.49 per cent. The BJP clearly paid for its earlier alliance with TDP in Andhra Pradesh as it just could not grow on its own. One definite reason for the BJP debacle in Andhra Pradesh is the fact that Modi government failed to honour the promise of Special Package to Andhra Pradesh that was made by the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the time of the division of the State and creation of Telangana. It was the promise of the Union government that in continuity ought to have been honoured is the sentiment that the BJP could not effectively counter on the ground.
Prosperous South prefers economic issues to emotive ones
In different States of South India, strong regional forces, representing local aspirations, are well entrenched and play upon linguistic pride, sub-nationalism, and distinct culture and even their own brand of social justice and welfare governance. The voters have a clear choice from among a regional party and at the same time having representation in central government in an era of coalition governments that worked till 2014.
The regional forces and opposition-ruled governments successfully projected the BJP as the main enemy of the region by playing up perceived injustice to the South Indian States when it came to devolution of finances from the central government or even response to natural calamities. Tamil Nadu people nurse a grudge that centre did not help the State enough when it was battling cyclone Gaja last year. The BJP at the national level or at the State level could not take a proper stance on Cauvery issue too. The battle is not so much against the language, but its imposition and what this implies when viewed from livelihood and employment perspective.
In South Indian States the BJP is seen as a north Indian party bent upon propagating Hindi at the cost of the regional languages. The battle is not so much against the language, but its imposition and what this implies when viewed from livelihood and employment perspective. The relatively higher developed South attracts workers from across the country and notably from States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, that are at the near bottom of the Human Development Index and suffer from the lower level of social indicators, be it education or healthcare. If we take per capita income too, South Indian States are way ahead of those in the Hindi belt. Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception building up that these workers vote for BJP in their respective States but come out to South India for employment or livelihood as they cannot find any prospects back home.
It is because of the relative prosperity and the progressiveness of the South Indian States, the politics move away from the socio-economic problems that can be exploited by political parties say in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or West Bengal. The different governments in different States of South India have delivered better growth, job opportunities, better infrastructure and welfare.
Consider these facts.
Average per capita income at 2011-12 prices for the five Southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana works to ₹1,18,070 in 2016-17. In comparison, the per capita income in Uttar Pradesh was about a third of that at ₹38,965 and in Bihar, a little over 20 per cent of the southern average, at ₹25,950.
If we take social development indicators like infant mortality rate, the South is far ahead. In Kerala, the IMR, the number of deaths of infants under the age of one per 1,000 live births, is a mere 10 compared to a high of 43 in Uttar Pradesh or 47 in Madhya Pradesh, as per data for 2016 that is available. This after, UP managed to make a drastic reduction in IMR from 83 in 2000 to 43 in 2016. But even in South, Andhra is yet to catch up as it has an IMR of 34.
Even in the sex ratio at birth, Kerala stands at a high of 967 as compared to 843 in Haryana during 2013-16 period. This explains the problem men have in finding a bride in Haryana and they go as far as Kerala to “purchase” brides.
A North-South divide can also be seen in maternal mortality rate, population growth rates, fertility rate among women, literacy, and several other indicators, a report in the Businessline dated April 22, 2019, said 1 .
Few Congress leaders allude to these facts to explain that emotive issues like Ram temple or cow that symbolise Hindutva of the BJP, that resonate in the North do not find similar traction, perhaps because of the higher levels of literacy, education and economic progress.
Is Stalin cut out for a larger role in the region?
Now, what the Lok Sabha results means, in the very short run, is the very real possibility of destabilisation of the JD (S) – Congress coalition government. Moves are afoot, but it all depends on how much support does the former Chief Minister and State BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa gets from the central leadership. What the central leadership would be weighing is whether giving a handle to the opposition ahead of the key assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra due next year would be worthwhile. the BJP would like to see the back of the Kumaraswamy government as its local leaders have been impatient. But the recent local body elections in Karnataka have shown that the Congress is still very much relevant in State politics.
But it is now becoming increasingly clear that South India is firmly on the radar of the BJP, as Karnataka and Telangana present it with a base to launch its assault from for its 2024 mission South India. The BJP’s strength, in fact, can become its weakness as the regional forces in South India get more wary of the BJP and its predatory moves.
The politics in the southern States presents a different challenge to the BJP as they do not encourage politics played on Hindu-Muslim divide but on State-specific issues that play out in their own context. The biggest challenge is the present itself as an acceptable party and for that, it must present itself in a language that the people in the States understand. But clearly, this is difficult for the BJP to adopt as it goes against its core Hindi, Hindustan, Hinduism ideology. And even if the BJP manages to tone down its Hindi only approach for political work, then the same could be interpreted in a wrong manner in the Hindi heartland. So, it remains to be seen as how best the BJP will cross this language divide, from which stem other differences. So far, South India has held itself against the RSS backed political push of the BJP, but a second successive term at centre with an increased mandate could give that much-added firepower to the BJP for its South side campaign. But the BJP’s strength, in fact, can become its weakness as the regional forces in South India get more wary of the BJP and its predatory moves.
It is in this context that the stillborn Federal Front idea of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhara Rao becomes very significant. Can DMK supremo M.K. Stalin, who has emerged as a key leader in South India after thwarting the Modi wave in Tamil Nadu like AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa did in previous general elections, hold onto the political capital he has managed to earn in Tamil Nadu? And build upon it for a more enlarged role as a unifier of anti-BJP forces in neighbouring States?
In this context, the role of Congress too will be very interesting as it has become more or less a South India based regional party, barring its few seats in North and West. On Stalin’s success and ability to withstand and counter the Hindutva ideology, as he has just shown in strongly opposing the latest Hindi language trial balloon, his relevance and longevity in TN and national politics will be determined. Stalin’s strength in Lok Sabha presents him with a chance to articulate the South Indian voice effectively. There is a perception that the presence of 37 AIADMK MPs in Lok Sabha in the 16 Lok Sabha was a waste as they failed to make their presence felt in Parliament and also failed to articulate Tamil Nadu issues forcefully.
Telangana and Andhra new growth areas for BJP
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan Reddy faces a real test as the TDP has been routed but not eliminated completely. But more than the TDP, it is the BJP that he has to worry about, as the national party moves in to capture the vacuum created by the decimation of the TDP. Already, BJP sympathisers have unleashed a campaign on social media cautioning Jaganmohan Reddy to be cautious on his approach to issues relating to the minority community. The BJP will be chipping away, slowly but surely, over the next five years and will enter various pockets gradually.
The fact that more time was given to Catholic priests at his swearing-in ceremony than to priests from other religious faiths has been noted. But, more importantly, his main thrust of the attack against Naidu was on his inability to get special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Since this is entirely in the hands of the central government, his political acumen will be tested from day one. The BJP will be chipping away, slowly but surely, over the next five years and will enter various pockets gradually.
In the South, the BJP’s immediate focus after Karnataka will be Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, in this order. A few constituencies could be earmarked in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for special attention instead of wasting energies by working across these two states.
These are the broad contours of the BJP’s South strategy that its leadership is handing down to the next rung leadership. The BJP is believed to have set a modest target of around 60 seats from South India’s 130. In 2019, the BJP won 29 seats of its own and another of its alliance partner AIADMK. It has recognised that it must shed its image as a party of Hindi heartland and adopt a more flexible language policy if it wants to make forays in fresh territories like Tamil Nadu and Kerala and to some extent Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. These four States contribute 100 seats out of which the BJP has won only four this time.
Even as the other parties are still reeling under result shock and going through motions of introspection, the BJP is up and about its South Indian campaign. Meetings of leaders on the ground with key party officials to identify issues, devise strategies and work out detailed programmes has already begun in different regions of South India.
[ Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi is a senior journalist who spent the last eight years in Chennai, covering Tamil Nadu for The Hindustan Times newspaper. He has just retired and relocated to Bengaluru and writes about South India and all that it has to offer. He can be contacted at ].
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