MasterChef: Sandeep Pandit responds to 'too much curry' complaints
MasterChef: Sandeep Pandit responds to ‘too much curry’ complaints
MasterChef Australia contestant Sandeep Pandit has recently been at the top of his game on the reality cooking show. Photo: Channel Ten More With a perfect 10/10 score and an Immunity Pin under his belt, MasterChef Australia contestant Sandeep Pandit has recently been at the top of his game on the reality cooking show. Now the 37-year-old, originally from Kashmir, India, has responded to a string of viewers who’ve complained he’s made ‘too much curry’ on TV. “I do not shy away from the fact that I’m the home cook,” Sandeep tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia, explaining he’s proud to showcase traditional recipes that have been passed down generations. “I know there’s a lot of talk on the internet about me making goat curry, but just look back at the amount of dishes I have put up. Indian food is not just curries.” The 37-year-old, originally from Kashmir, India, has responded to a string of viewers who’ve complained he’s made ‘too much curry’ on TV. Photo: Channel Ten More
I know this is going to sound mean spirited but I want Sandeep to lose otherwise we are only encouraging his behaviour of only ever cooking one dish … #masterchefau — Dave Sampson (@DaveSampson75) May 28, 2019
Question: how can you be a “Masterchef” if you just know one type of cuisine? Shouldn’t it be diverse? #masterchefau — Bella Yumiko (@bella_yumiko) May 28, 2019 The IT project manager says there’s a common misconception that Indian cuisine is simply curries and nothing more. Some of the delectable dishes he’s served this season are certainly not curries. “I think it’s my endeavour coming into this competition to showcase Indian food [and that it] is not just about curry,” says Sandeep. A notable example is his finger-licking lobster masala that wowed judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. “Again a lot of people did call it curry but that’s not a curry,” the contestant explains.
So a lot of people complaining about Sandeep cooking mostly curries or other versions of Indian food, just FYI, indian dishes are super diverse in itself. Just because someone uses spices, doesn’t mean all the dishes are same. Not defending him, but that’s the truth #MasterChefAU
I love Indian cuisine, especially S. Indian, the majority of their food can be made vegetarian and it’s tasty af.
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Join @JoziStyle for #DineJoziStyle at Thava Classic Indian Restaurant in Montecasino worth R1,000 #DineThavaStyle #DineMonteStyle
The award-winning Thava Indian Restaurant continues to grow in popularity thanks to its unique blend of spice, culture, and hospitality.
Thava specializes in Indian cuisine and prides itself on its use of the freshest local ingredients, aromatic dishes and, in a first for South Africa, its unique Indian Tapas offering – pure indulgence; perfect for sharing, perfect for experiencing. Served in tasting portions as a starter, or as a main shared meal, guests can select from a combination of any items straight off the set or daily specials menu.
Mathew Abraham, owner of the Thava restaurants, says that his passion for food comes from his mother – an incredible cook who generously shared her recipes through hours of telephonic conversations so that Mathew could bring a taste of India to Johannesburg. Diners at Thava can expect to experience a journey of spice through outstanding food in a warm and inviting atmosphere complemented by knowledgeable and friendly.
There is a mouthwatering array of vegetarian, lamb, chicken or seafood dishes to select from, Reflecting the diverse culinary specialities of India, Thava’s menu includes fragrant curries, biryanis and stews, spicy Tandoori and Masala dishes, all served with traditional breads, rice dishes and side dishes of freshly prepared chutneys, pickles or vegetables.
Thava has restaurants based in Norwood, Johannesburg, Gauteng and Ballito on the KZN North Coast. Thava have recently extended their cuisine into Montecasino – and you’re invited to join JoziStyle for #DineJoziStyle at Thava Classic Indian Restaurant in Montecasino worth R1,000 #DineThavaStyle #DineMonteStyle.
Win 1 of 5 double seats to #DineJoziStyle #DineThavaStyle #DineMonteStyle worth R2,000!
We are taking five JoziStylers on a journey of spice and surprise at Thava in Montecasino where you will be treated to an array of sharing platters with fellow foodies. In addition to enjoying a taste of Thava, we have lined-up an evening of food, fragrance, and culture.
Venue: Thava Montecasino Date: 26 June 2019. 6:30PM for 7PM.
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The winners will be randomly selected from submissions by our blog, Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter followers.
Entries close on Sunday, 16 June 2019 at 12PM. The winner will be selected by an online random generator. Winners will be announced by Monday, 17 June 2019, 9PM. The prize is not transferable for cash.
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5 more things to do in Switzerland- The New Indian Express
Home Cities Hyderabad 5 more things to do in Switzerland
Marvel at stunning vistas of the countryside through Swiss Rail, and get the thrill of a lifetime walking on Europe’s highest suspension bridge! Share Via Email By Vijaya Pratap Express News Service HYDERABAD : Last week, I spoke about “5 things to do in Switzerland”. To continue a memorable journey in the beautiful country, you can think of including the following five more enjoyable experiences to your itinerary.Through these, you will realise that the Swiss biscuits are as delicious as their chocolates; you may never want to leave the charming city of Lucerne after spending a couple of days there; you may get addicted to the adrenalin high that the Titlis Cliff Walk provides; you may wish the Swiss Rail Journey would continue forever; and remember the fine dining experiences in Switzerland for the rest of your life. The chances are, you may be too besotted with Swiss, and you may plan your next holiday there again! Well, one can never say. Swiss has that kind of mesmerising hold on its visitors!
Swiss Rail Pass offers unlimited travel in Switzerland on board trains, buses and boats. Sold for 4, 8, 15 or 22 days or one month, it allows a free entrance to over 400 museums and exhibitions and 50% discount on mountain excursions.
Free for children up to 16 when accompanied by at least one parent. Cheaper and wiser to buy online in India in INR. Good discounts on group bookings. The difference in comfort level between 1st and 2nd class is not much. But a second class pass saves considerably.www.raileurope.co.in/pass/swiss-passwww.swissinfo.i
Lucerne’s romantic swan lake Lucerne’s incomparable charm lies in its swan lake in the midst of the city. Stroll around the place and admire its trademark Chapel Bridge and octagonal Water Tower. Along with the Spreuer Bridge and the Musegg Wall with its nine towers, they used to form part of the city’s ancient fortifications. Saunter through the Old Town’s narrow lanes with a guide, to learn interesting, humorous and true facts about Lucerne’s history, churches, bridges, balconies, alleys, towers and squares.
Titlis Cliff Walk Ride in the world’s first rotating cable car ‘Titlis Rotair’ that whisks you up to the peak. During this trip, the gondola turns through a complete 360 degrees that gives amazing views of sheer cliff faces, deep crevasses and snow covered mountain peaks. Walk on the spectacular suspension bridge (Europe’s highest) at the peak – crossing it calls for nerves as strong as the steel cables the bridge hangs from! (recommended only for the adventurous!)
Swiss Rails – most delightful travel Trains simply glide, offering stunning vistas through their wide glass windows. There are people who stand throughout, to click pictures or just look through the kaleidoscope. Switzerland is a small country: these fast and efficient trains, don’t take more than an hour or two to reach another city. Swiss rail pass is very pocket-friendly.
Fine biscuit making Discover the secrets of fine biscuit making at Trubschachen, just a 45-minute ride from Lucerne by train or car. At the world-famous Kambly, their master confectioners will assist you (by prior appointment) in creating and baking your own biscuits and cookies. At the shop, take your pick of over 100 varieties of biscuits (you can sample), a great selection of exclusive and seasonal Kambly specialities. Watch a film on the history of Kambly. A truly captivating experience for the entire family. Admission is free.
Fine dining at glamorous and exotic places Restaurant Kornhauskeller with its murals and restored medieval architecture in Bern has a romantic ambience and an interesting past: it was a corn house before. Ristorante Verdi in the Old Town of Bern is themed after the great Italian composer.
Specialises in Emilia-Romagna, cuisine from Verdi’s region. Their magnificent vaulted cellar houses home-grown wines and grappa from the “Vallocaia” vineyard and rustic products from Tuscany. The country house Baren in Eggiwil is known for traditional food. Their speciality – handmade ice cream with meringue, fresh cream and choc chips, an exotic handed down recipe.
(The author is a documentary filmmaker and travel writer; she blogs at vijayaprataptravelandbeyond.com) Stay up to date on all the latest Hyderabad news with The New Indian Express App. Download now (Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit ‘Click to Subscribe’ . Follow the instructions after that.)
Our round-up of the best summer festivals in Hertfordshire
Our round-up of the top festivals and events in Hertfordshire this summer
Herts Fit Fest
Herts Fit Fest is a celebration of health and fitness. The emphasis is on bringing people together through fitness in a non-judgemental environment. The festival will offer interesting, challenging, fun and effective classes, talks and group sessions for all abilities. Experience all this in a relaxed and fun environment where you can turn up in your old gym clothes, get involved, get sweaty, make friends, have fun and no one judges you. Experience classes you haven’t tried before with a number of boutique and unique style classes all in one location. Classes include Zumba, kickboxing, pole fitness, and yoga and pilates, along with some of best instructors in Hertfordshire and the UK.
Springfield Farm, Old Parkbury Lane, St Albans, AL2 2DY, Thursday, July 4, to Monday, July 8. Details: hertsfitfest.com
Tring’s comedy festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019 and attracts top names which this year include Milton Jones, Romesh Ranganathan, Ed Byrne, Reginald D Hunter, Josh Widdicombe, Clive Anderson and many more. The festival kicks off with The Roving Comedy Night, a crazy pub crawl involving 20 comedians in four local pubs.
The Court Theatre , Tring, Sunday, June 30, to Saturday, July 20. Details: get-stuffed.biz/tringe/
A music festival set in the idyllic Chiltern Hills, Chilfest has been running for the last six years and in that time has raised £30,000 for charity. The custom-built Chilfest arena comprises a top quality stage and sound rig, and a wide variety of food and drink outlets, providing all the ingredients for a great weekend of live music. This year’s line-up includes Bananarama, Soul II Soul, Hot Chocolate, The Selecter, and many more.
Cow Lane, Tring, Saturday, July 6. Details: 01296 660279 chilfest.co.uk
Folk by the Oak
This one day festival is surrounded by the leafy green parkland of Hatfield House, where you will be immersed in music, history, ancient oaks, bunting, fun and laughter. From the intimacy of the Acorn Stage to the open air festival buzz of the Main Stage, award-winning musicians and inspiring new talent will come together for one memorable day. The carefully curated stages are complemented by hand-picked caterers and craftspeople. There are also creative workshops to discover onsite as well as a dedicated family friendly area.
Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield, Sunday, July 14. Details: folkbytheoak.com
Todd in the Hole
A family friendly festival in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, celebrating the very best of English eccentricity. Music acts include tributes to Oasis, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Elvis. There will be a selection of great food from South African cuisine to Indian vegan dishes, a classic BBQ banquet to a tempting Greek menu, all washed down with something refreshing from the festival’s huge bar. There will also be a summer flea market celebrating the best local artisans from Hertfordshire, offering homemade arts and crafts, baked treats, floral crowns, vintage clothing and much more.
Todd’s Green, Stevenage, Friday, July 19, to Sunday, July 21. Details: toddinthehole.co.uk
Hertford Castle Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Families and friends are invited to attend the annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic held in the castle grounds. Children are encouraged to bring along a teddy to the event. There will be a bear hunt, teddy bear parade, magic shows, bouncy castle and activities arena. A live brass band concert will perform throughout the day and Hertford Castle will be open to the public to explore. Hertford Canoe Club will be running free water activities on the River Lea for children and adults to enjoy.
Hertford Castle, Hertford, Sunday, July 21, 12pm to 4pm. Details: hertford.gov.uk
The Great British Food Festival
Expect lots of amazing food producers, tasty street food and thirst quenching bars, alongside chef demos, a bake stage, new BBQ stage, lots for the kids and great live music in a stunning location.
Knebworth House, Stevenage, Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, 10am to 5pm. Details: greatbritishfoodfestival.com
The Battle Proms picnic concert takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field in the leafy parkland at Hatfield House. Legend has it that it was beneath one of the ancient oaks in this field that the young Queen Elizabeth I heard that she was to be Queen of England. The Old Palace at Hatfield House is where Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood and later held her first Council of State in 1558. A place so steeped in history makes the perfect setting for a summer celebration with the Battle Proms. Events include a Napoleonic cavalry display, the British Army’s official parachute display team, gun salute and some great music.
Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield, Saturday, July 13. Details: battleproms.com
Set in the valley of the River Rib, you can expect a picturesque country escape from this premier music festival. The festival will this year be headlined by Rag’N’Bone Man, Wolf Alice and Nile Rodgers & CHIC with special guests Friendly Fires. Camping is available, as well as boutique camping and a campervan field.
Standon Lordship, Standon, Thursday, July 25, to Sunday, July 28. Details: standon-calling.com
Festival of Wildlife
The 2019 Festival of Wildlife, in association with Herts Natural History Society and in partnership with Tarmac, takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Panshanger Park, near Hertford. The free family festival celebrates the rich diversity of wildlife in Hertfordshire and Middlesex and features walks, talks, family activities and conservation demonstrations. Local conservation groups, food producers, artists and craftsmen will also be there on the day.
Panshanger Park, Thieves Lane, Hertford, Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28. Details: hertswildlifetrust.org.uk
The Big JiveSwing Festival is one of the UK’s largest free jazz festivals featuring some of the best internationally acclaimed jazz musicians, bands and dancers within the UK. It’s a great family day out with live cabarets, dance classes for children and adults and a vintage photo booth, all for free.
Cassiobury Park , Watford, Sunday, July 28. Details: watfordbigevents.co.uk
Harpenden Lions Highland Gathering is a great day out with a Scottish flavour, offering five pipe and drum bands, highland dancing competitions and displays as well as solo piping. Plus traditional highland games heavy events including weight over the bar, tossing the caber and putting the stone. There are plenty of amusements for children including a climbing wall, rugby and golf challenges, the popular kids’ circle for younger children, opportunities to make sand art pictures and to use a potters’ wheel, face painting and electric go-karts. And there were lots of food and drink too with beer and cider stalls run by local pubs. Adults and children enjoy the charity and commercial stalls and the Crafters’ Marquee selling traditional and handmade items. The Scot’s Corner sells Scottish fine food, clothing and crafts. Sideshows provide further entertainment and in addition there is a large classic cars and motorbikes display.
Rothamsted Park, 33 High Street, Harpenden, Sunday, July 14. Details: harpenden-lions.co.uk
Manisha Khemka reviews Kutir: Posh Indian offers modern cuisine and an extensive wine list
Connect You are here: Home / Food & Drink / Manisha Khemka reviews Kutir: Posh Indian offers modern cuisine and an extensive wine list Manisha Khemka reviews Kutir: Posh Indian offers modern cuisine and an extensive wine list By Manisha Khemka on 9th June 2019
A TGIF dinner reservation at Kutir, celebrated chef Rohit Ghai’s new-ish restaurant in a three storey terraced property on Chelsea’s Lincoln Street, off King’s Road, was clearly an outing worth looking forward to. Interestingly, this property previously was also home to Rasoi, Chef Vineet Bhatia’s pricey Indian kitchen.
Sweet fragrances of the horticultural past are long gone, displaced along with the nursery sites under the Chelsea Improvement Act of 1845. But new, different smells are in place — fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s reaction to curry aromas wafting in through windows.
My nose guides me to the last house on the street, which looks nothing like a kutir, a tiny, remote cottage. There is a doorbell to ring. Nervous of walking into an unsavoury private domestic, I tiptoed in gingerly, shopping bags and all, and walked straight into the sheer delight of a mini Rajasthan haveli (a grand decorated house). Kutir is located in a townhouse nestled away on a quiet side street in Chelsea
Intricate jewel-coloured floral and wildlife prints adorn the many quirky small rooms of this townhouse. Fortunately, it hasn’t been renovated into a large open-concept space. There is even an elegant conservatory. The lighting is just right by way of glass chandeliers. The chairs are upholstered in a combination of sink-in leather and soft bespoke fabric in heritage patterns. Textures, colours and motifs run amuck in the house, creating visuals artistic enough to impress nearby Saatchi Gallery. The powder room is compact but exquisite in its wall paper design. It was a sensory high even before I had seen the menu.
Inspired by luxury lodges of wildlife hunting trips, the restaurant menu features distinct, meaty, seasonal game dishes. The food was bold, robust, honest, gimmick-free, heart-warming, even a little heart pulsating — the stuff of wild jungles and brave safari expeditions. Spicing across dishes was restrained, controlled and efficient, without resorting to a full artillery of spice jars.
Chicken tikka pâté in a filo crisp and salmon potato dumplings served with a tempered spicy smooth yoghurt were tasty and substantial amuse-bouches; none of the foam stuff on Kutir’s tables.
The highlights of our expedition were the junglee maas paratha, morsels of flaky warm Indian bread dipped in melt-in-mouth venison and a rich, intense, expertly flavoured sauce, and the quail naan, stuffed with spiced minced meat and topped with scrambled quail eggs, truffle shavings and truffle oil. The naan had the Grey, my dining partner, floating in meat heaven. He called it mind blowing, out of this world and rated it 11/10. Pink prawns in coconut, sesame and sweet Roscoff onion masala was also an excellently fired shot — succulent, plump and fantastically spiced. A must-try. Kutir pays homage to India’s rich heritage and wildlife
Dhokla, a spongy square snack made from fermented rice batter, lacked any oomph and character and, sadly, was a plain country cousin best left out of the party.
My wild mushroom khichadi was an opulent version of its humble soulful Indian cousin. The appearance and taste was more of a butter-rich Italian truffle risotto with splashings of wine. I expected ghee, cumin seeds, fried onion, lentils and tiny pieces of potatoes, the staples of any decent khichadi. After incorporating some original bits and flavours, this could make for an interesting and delicious small plate.
Bhappa doi-pineapple, a sweet steamed yoghurt dessert, was as beautiful as its surroundings, and despite its petite size, its subtle interplay of texture, colour and flavour brilliantly reinforced the overall sensory high.
The wine list is extensive. However, I stuck to my rule — Reisling with a curry — and it didn’t disappoint. The Grey sampled a Chateau Lachesnaye Bordeaux, its fruity and sweet spice aromas perfectly complementing the intensity of the game flavours. Kutir means ‘a small cottage in the middle of nowhere’
Service was on the dot, and as in a typical Indian home, the vibes were of warm and welcoming hospitality. Kutir clearly takes pride in serving its guests.
The bill-sweetener, a dainty pineapple cake topped with a rose cream flower, sealed my bond with this special somewhere-between-a-kutir-and-a-haveli house.
If you fancy trying out exotic and deliciously spiced meaty dishes, then this is a journey well worth embarking. Rohit Ghai seems happy not following trends and, for now, is leading his own unique charted expeditions.
Meat-abstaining slender yummy-mummies or vegan congregators need not run away. Kutir servesa six-course vegetarian tasting menu, as well as a good value Weekender Special.
When it was time to say goodbye, all I wanted to do was to find a comfy room upstairs, move in along with my pashmina, paisleys and shopping bags, and wait to be served my next meal. There was no reason to leave. Culinary heavyweight Rohit Ghai is the Head Chef at Kutir
Food 9/10, Service 8/10, Decor 9/10 From the menu:
Hotel Review: Andaz London Liverpool Street
Lizzie Wood June 8, 2019 Hotels , Taste , Travel No Comments
Hotels near airports or train stations can conjure up images of pokey rooms with a sad looking ironing board in the corner. As a 267-room, five-star hotel, I wasn’t expecting quite the same from Andaz London but to say it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.
Nestled a few steps from Liverpool Street Station, the entrance is grand but unassuming. Originally built as the Great Eastern Hotel in 1884, perhaps it’s just a building that has grown to feel at home?
Step through the revolving doors and you enter a serenity that is the Andaz Lounge. Recently renovated, it takes you back to a Victorian train carriage – heavy curtains, low lighting and vintage trunks which turn into a DJ booth after dark. Despite the heavy detailing, there are plenty of nods to the East End’s creative streak with avant-garde prints dotted around.
The welcome on the front desk was a little monosyllabic, but that must have been a blip in what was otherwise a faultless customer experience with all of the staff going out of their way to deliver the types of thoughtful touches that make you murmur “ooh, that’s nice”.
Head upstairs and the rooms are palatial (I could have slept on the bed horizontally) with a complimentary mini bar and oversized chairs for lounging. One of my favourite touches was the library of books which all had a connection to the surrounding area (I can highly recommend I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ years ).
Andaz is one of those hotels you could become anonymous in simply because it’s so large, yet you still feel at home. The building boasts five restaurants and bars including ‘proper boozer’ Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen, Eastway Brasserie (think East End brunch vibes) and Japanese restaurant Miyako.
One of the hotel’s most intriguing secrets is The Masonic Temple. Housed behind a set of heavy, studded doors, it’s the City’s only original Freemasons’ meeting lodge, built in 1912.
Andaz is in a prime location and there’s plenty to do beyond the hotel doors. Spitalfields on a Sunday may be a tourist favourite, but it really is hard to beat. If you want to play local, head away from the official market down to Petticoat Lane and, further on, you’ll stumble across some of traditional Indian sweet shops in Aldgate and Whitechapel (stop off at Culpepper ’s roof terrace on the way for a glass of something cold). Head in the opposite direction and you’ll soon hit Columbia Road Flower Market where, post 4pm, there are some bargains to be had.
If you’re looking for something that avoids the market throngs, try a walking tour with Shoreditch Street Art Tours. We were treated to the history behind some of the East End’s current wall decorations by Maria Domenica Arcuri who took us through pieces by Banksy as well as lesser known artists. Finish off at the infamous Beigel Bake bagel shop (get the salt beef).
On the topic of food, Spitalfields and its surrounding streets are packed with options. From paella to poutine, boa buns to burgers, nearly every type of cuisine is available. If street food isn’t your thing, try Pizza Union , thin crispy pizzas at £4-6 a pop and rough bottles of red. And of course, there’s always Brick Lane’s curry houses to tempt you ( City Spice is my favourite).
If opulent furnishings, big beds and dark corners for sipping martinis are your thing, then Andaz might just be the place for you.
By Lizzie Wood , Travel Editor
Riaz Haq commented on Riaz Haq’s blog post Pakistan’s $20 Billion Tourism Industry is Booming
19, 2018 at 10:35am
#Pakistan keeps #terrorists on the run and #economy on a rollBusinesses’ focus shifts from bombs and kidnappings to taxes and policy. #Taliban #TTP #terrorism #India #Karachi #Rangers
KARACHI — Terrorism, corruption, misrule: Negative perceptions have dogged Pakistan for years. But thanks to sweeping operations by the army and a powerful paramilitary force, those perceptions may be becoming outdated, and businesses are taking notice.
In Karachi, the country’s largest city, motorcycles and elaborately decorated buses weave down dusty roads between colonial-era buildings. Less than a decade ago, these were truly mean streets. “Between 2010 and 2012, we saw one or two terrorist attacks every month and one or two targeted killings and kidnappings for ransom every day,” recalled Army Maj. Gen. Mohammad Saeed. “There were 17 no-go areas which the police could not touch in Karachi.”
At the time, even major hotels had occupancy rates of just 10% to 15%. Hundreds of shops and other businesses closed down.
Then the Rangers began to clean up.
The Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary law enforcement organization overseen by the military and the Interior Ministry, set out to tackle the violence head-on. In 2013, the Rangers Sindh — which operate in Sindh Province, including Karachi — mobilized 15,000 troops. The provincial legislature granted them broad powers to search homes and make arrests, enabling them to quickly turn the tide. These guns were seized at a hideout in Miranshah — the front line of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism operations. (Photo by Go Yamada)
In 2017, there were zero bombings and only five kidnappings, according to Saeed, who serves as director general of the Rangers Sindh. This is no small feat in a city with a swelling population of 17 million — perhaps even 20 million if migrants from rural areas are factored in. “We destroyed all of the terrorists’ pockets,” he said, adding that hotel occupancy rates are over 90%.
The story is similar in Pakistan’s other major cities. And as the Rangers have made headway, business sentiment has improved and growth has picked up. Mohammad Saeed, director general of the Pakistan Rangers Sindh
Pakistan’s real gross domestic product grew 5.3% in the fiscal year through June 2017, the quickest pace in 10 years. The central bank projects the growth rate for this fiscal year will approach 6%. Inflation has stabilized and exports are brisk.
“Unfortunately, Pakistan is a victim of negative perception,” said Arif Habib, who heads the conglomerate Arif Habib Group. “There is a lot of difference between perception and reality.”
But the rest of the world seems to be catching on to the positive changes, too: Foreign direct investment is estimated to reach a record $5 billion or so in the current fiscal year, up from $3.43 billion last year.
This is not to say Pakistan’s safety problems are a thing of the past. The budget for maintaining security is insufficient, and efforts to shore up the police are still a work in progress. Another major challenge is to prevent militants who have fled to neighboring Afghanistan from coming back.
Miranshah is a one-hour military flight away from Peshawar, in Pakistan’s northwest. It is the main city in North Waziristan, one of the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
This is the front line of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism operations. The Afghan border is just 20km away
Around 2008, insurgents from al-Qaida and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan controlled some 30% of North Waziristan. But large numbers of militants have fled or been killed since the army began weeding them out in 2014.
More than 300 people died in terrorist attacks in the FATA in 2014, but the number was down to 113 in 2017.
“During the operation, 26,000 rifles, 13,000 submachine guns and explosives for more than 50,000 suicide bombs [were seized],” said Col. Wasi Uddin in a bunker at the heavily guarded headquarters of the army’s 7th Infantry Division. Monitors on the wall showed real-time footage of the border with Afghanistan.
Now that the heavy fighting appears to be over, people are returning and efforts to rebuild houses and public facilities are in full swing. The army is spearheading a drive to reopen hospitals, schools and bazaars in the FATA. Residents have been given 130 sq. km of farmland as well as job training programs.
“Now we are building a 1,400km-long fence along the border to stop the cross-border terror,” the colonel said. But sporadic attacks are still a threat in the mountainous border region. A young military officer and another person were killed in an ambush on the outskirts of Miranshah in mid-December.
Pakistan’s national security adviser, retired Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua, blames the neighbor. There is “no border control in Afghanistan,” said Janjua, who has sparred with the U.S. over security measures. “In 2016, out of 128 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, 125 were cross-border terror from Afghanistan.”
There are 145 monitoring posts on the Afghan side of the border — around one-eighth the number on the Pakistani side — reflecting the capacity constraints of the Afghan military and police.
Over in Peshawar, at the base of the Khyber Pass on the Pakistani-Afghan border, a determined effort to bolster the police is bearing fruit.
The city is a key hub for trucks carrying goods to and from Afghanistan. Freshly slaughtered lamb, mutton and live peafowl can be found at the local bazaars. Men tend to carry rifles — a symbol of masculinity — but violence has decreased significantly, according to the police chief for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
“From 2007 to 2017, [the number of] dead and wounded in the province decreased to one-sixth,” said Inspector General Salahuddin Khan. The police head count has surged to 82,000, from 34,000 in 2001, and the force receives training from the army. A Karachi bazaar bustles with shoppers in December. (Photo by Go Yamada)
Khan and other police leaders are focusing on “depoliticization, digitization and confidence.” They reject politicians’ interference with recruiting, and have created a database of rented houses and vehicles terrorists might use.
“For security, cooperation from the local people is essential,” Khan said. This includes holding the police themselves accountable: The government has established a Dispute Resolution Council, which includes third-party members appointed by a high court, to receive complaints against law enforcement.
Khan is not satisfied. “Support from the government is better than it used to be,” he said. “But the budget is never enough. We are [making requests] all the time.”
In Karachi, there is still a sense of unease despite the obvious improvement. Some government officials and foreign businesspeople still ride around in bulletproof vehicles with their own security details.
For now, the Rangers are keeping the pressure on. If police capabilities improve, Saeed said, “we will pull back.” Comment by Akhtar Hussain on January 20, 2018 at 7:07am Thank you for sharing this wonderful and inspiring news ! 27, 2018 at 7:33pm
A #British archaeologist named Hugh Trevor Lambrick, who was the Deputy Commissioner of #Larkana in 1940s, called (Shushangi) ‘Toshangi’ the #GrandCanyon of #Sindh . #Tourism #Pakistan on #Vimeo https://vimeo.com/253033673?ref=tw-share A British archaeologist, author and civil servant named Hugh Trevor Lambrick, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Larkana in 1940s, called (Shushangi) ‘Toshangi’ the Grand Canyon of Sindh. It is one of the most dramatic places to visit in the Kirthars. The deep gorge (700ft deep) is formed by the waters of Kenjhi River which has been flowing in the area since time untold.Salman Rashid, Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society traveled in 1996 to this place from Ghaibi Dero (Shahdadkot Sindh).We a group of trekkers i.e. Aziz Ahmed Jamali, Abdul Qadir Jamali, Muhammad Yaqoob, Asad Mir, Aqeel Baig & Sufi reached here from Khuzdar Baluchistan side Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2018 at 8:18am
Pakistan aims to revive glory of ancient Mughal city Lahore March 1, 2018 by Khurram Shahzad https://phys.org/news/2018-03-pakistan-aims-revive-glory-ancient.html Perched on scaffolding, restoration experts chip away at decades of grime and repair broken mosaic tiles in a bid to save the colossal murals depicting historic battles and regal ceremonies on the walls of Lahore fort. The painstaking work is part of efforts to preserve Lahore’s crumbling architectural history as officials juggle conserving its diverse heritage with building modern infrastructure in Pakistan’s chaotic second city. The metropolis, which once served as the capital of the Mughal empire that stretched across much of the subcontinent, has been subsumed into a myriad of civilizations across the centuries. This rich past is most visible in the milieu of architecture salted across the Walled City of Lahore—from Hindu temples and Mughal forts to Sikh gurdwaras and administrative office built during the Raj. “You get a history of a thousand years, 500 year-old houses and monuments and mosques, shrines and a very peaceful atmosphere,” says Kamran Lashari, director general of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA). Prime among them, and dating back to the 11th century, the Lahore fort was first built of mud and was then later reinforced with stone over the centuries by a long cast of Mughal emperors who oversaw its expansion and the accompanying artwork. But periods of conflict along with searing heat, monsoon rains and years of neglect have taken a toll on the fort. Despite the onset of decay, experts suggest the city’s vast Islamic architectural heritage could make it a contender to rival more established Silk Road travel destinations. “Lahore can easily compete with Samarkand. It nearly matches Ispahan,” says Sophie Makariou, president of the Parisian-based National Museum of Asian Arts. Makariou adds that its failure to shine is more to do with safety concerns that have plagued the nation after multiple attacks. “Due to the bad reputation of Pakistan, it remains unknown,” she explains. Pearl of the Punjab But as security across Pakistan continues to improve, officials are hoping to revive Lahore’s lost glory. More than 40 conservationists with the the WCLA—including engineers, architects and ceramists from across the globe—are currently working on restoring the mosaic mural on the fort’s exterior. “It’s one of the largest murals in the world. It contains over 600 tile mosaic panels and frescos,” says Emaan Sheikh from the Agha Khan Trust for Culture. Restoration of the mural is just part of a larger project to refurbish the fort, which includes conservation projects in the royal kitchen, the summer palace and a basement, according to WCLA’s director general Kamran Lashari. Similar work by the WCLA has already been done to revamp the artwork at the historic Wazir Khan mosque and the Shahi Hammam—one of the only surviving Turkish Baths in the subcontinent that is approximately 400 years old. The city’s famed Delhi Gate, which once hosted extravagant Mughal processions arriving in Lahore from the east, has also been fully restored along with dozens of homes in the Walled City. Many of those involved in the project are optimistic. “The cities which are most famous for tourism, you can take London, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome, all the prerequisites which are available in those cities, are available in Lahore,” claims Ahmer Malik, head of Punjab’s tourism corporation, referring to Lahore’s architectural and cultural attractions. Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2018 at 10:22am
Pakistan’s crumbling architectural heritage https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-architecture/pakistans-…
Pakistan (Reuters) – When British colonial rulers hastily left South Asia at Pakistan’s painful birth in 1947, the ensuing chaos and violence meant little attention was paid to the architecture they built or influenced in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi. More than 70 years later, architectural gems have been torn down and many are either crumbling or under threat from real estate developers in Pakistan’s commercial capital which is mushrooming into a mega-city. The structures, weathered by the salty air, open the door to Karachi’s colonial scars, researchers say, pointing out that many of the original owners were among millions of Muslim and Hindu refugees who fled their homes amid communal and religious violence that accompanied the end of British rule in India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan. ”Every brick of the heritage building narrates a story of those who left in 1947,“ said Akthar Baloch, a researcher who has written several books on Karachi’s heritage. ”They built them with love and affection. “When people like me feel bad looking at the neglect of these heritage sites, one wonders how the families of the owners must feel if they ever visit Karachi.” (Click reut.rs/2F03sEg for a picture package of Karachi’s crumbling heritage buildings) Karachi’s population has skyrocketed to nearly 17 million people in 2017 from an estimated 400,000 at independence, and every inch of the city has become a valuable commodity for developers building homes or drafting plans to alter the city’s skyline with new skyscrapers. Jahangir Kothari Parade promenade, once an imposing British heritage site, is now obscured by a maze of overpasses and the shadow of Pakistan’s tallest building. The promenade is part of a handful of buildings, along with the colonial-era Imperial Customs House, which have been restored to their former grandeur, but such projects are rare when the focus is on tearing down old and building new. Rapid urbanization has ensured large-scale destruction, particularly in the old city areas, where more profitable multi-story residential buildings have sprung up. But amid the new concrete, remnants of the colonial legacy can still be seen, often recognizable by their state of neglect. The Saddar neighborhood of Karachi has perhaps the largest concentration of British architectural history, while in the city’s eastern district, the iconic old colonial jail has been declared a heritage site by Sindh province’s antiquities department. So far more than 1,700 premises have been listed as heritage sites by the antiquities department and the process continues. The Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, introduced in 1994, has helped provide legal protection for structures of historical significance. But courts are also busy with cases of developers trying to circumvent such protection. Comment by Riaz Haq on March 4, 2018 at 7:31pm
Over 92,000 foreigners visit Pakistan since launch of CPEC https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/288568-over-92-000-foreigners-visi… Since the start of ground work on the (CPEC), the flagship multi-billion dollar project of “One Belt and One Road Initiative,” more than 39,000 Chinese came to Pakistan in past five years. More than 92,204 visas were issued by the government of Pakistan to foreign nationals in an apparent effort to expand foreign investment, business opportunities and tourism in the country during this period. Over 120 Pakistani missions abroad issued 29,622 visas to foreign nationals in 2013, 10,267 visas in 2014, 22,932 visas in 2015, 13,456 visas in 2016 and over 15,927 foreign nationals came to Pakistan in 2017, revealed official data/documents Geo News has had exclusive access to. As many as 7,859 Chinese were issued visas in 2013, the starting period for the CPEC projects soon after the incumbent government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came into power. Following this development, Pakistani missions in China issued over 7,859 visas to Chinese citizens in 2013, 69 visas in 2014, 13,268 visas in 2015, 6,268 visas in 2016 and according to informed officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs that estimated 12,287 visas were issued to Chinese nationals by the authorities last year. In addition to it, officials revealed to this correspondent that about 91,000 Chinese nationals visited Pakistan on tourist visas in past five years. Some 27,596 visa extensions were also granted to Chinese on recommendations of ministries of interior, foreign affairs, water and power and planning and development, a 34 percent increase as compare to 2015-16, added the officials. This frequent flow of foreign nationals encouraged foreign direct investment (FDI) which jumped 163 percent to $222.6 million in July 2017 on a year-on-year basis, revealed official data collected from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The main contributor to this foreign net inflows has been China, which is investing around $60 billion under the CPEC’s initiative. Pakistan received $2.4 billion in 2016-17, highest since the PML-N government took the charge of the state’s economic affairs while FDI remained $1.45 billion in previous PPP regime. The government under Prime Minister Youth Programme also trained over 110,000 youth, majority of them as the authorities claimed, would be associated with CPEC projects in coming years. For security of these Chinese workers, the government of Pakistan has also deputed an estimated 37,000 security personnel to guard Chinese workers engaged in some 22 projects directly associated with the CPEC and 214 other small and mega projects in Pakistan. For this purpose, the government has deployed 15,780 military personnel trained under umbrella of the Special Security Division (SSD) and the Maritime Security Force (MSF). Balochistan would get more security, as a few wings (450 personnel) of the MSF for coastal area, six wings (6,700 personnel) of the Frontier Corps, 3,210 police constables and 1,320 Levies personnel would guard all the routes. More than 4,200 policemen, 1,290 Rangers, 5,500 private security guards and 740 Askari Guards would protect various projects linked to the economic corridor in Punjab. Official data continued to reveal that Pakistan issued visas to 1,505 Australian nationals in 2013, 549 visas to Germans in 2013 and 575 visas were issued to German nationals in 2017. The Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi also issued over a thousand visas to Indian nationals in 2013 and 584 Indians were given Pakistani visas in 2015. As many as 786 Iranians were issued visas in 2013 and 945 visas were issued by Pakistani missions in Iran in 2016. Comment by Riaz Haq on March 4, 2018 at 7:46pm
Pakistan has 116 diplomatic missions in other countries. This figure includes 85 embassies, 29 consulates and 2 permanent missions.
Pakistan ranks 27 in the world and 7th in Asia on Lowery diplomacy index.
India has 181 missions including 124 embassies and 48 consulates.
India ranks 12th in the world and 3rd in Asia on Lowery Diplomacy Index.
United States is number 1 and China is number 2 on diplomacy index.
US has 273 diplomatic missions while China has 268.
France ranks 3rd, Russia 4th and Japan 5th in the world.
https://globaldiplomacyindex.lowyinstitute.org/country_rank.html Comment by Riaz Haq on June 19, 2018 at 8:14pm
#Pakistan: #Adventure #travel’s best-kept secret? Alex Reynolds: “Bring an adventurous spirit and an open mind, and you won’t have to find your way off the beaten track in Pakistan. The way will find you.” #tourism https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/pakistan-adventure-travel/index…. … via @CNNTravel When the British Backpacker Society released its list of 20 adventure travel destinations for 2018, the top spot was taken by a somewhat surprising entry: Pakistan. Citing “mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination” and the friendliness of the locals, the society says the South Asian country will change “every preconception that you ever held about this area of the world.” So is Pakistan ready to step up? Though the country was a tourism hotspot in the 1970s, recent decades have spawned plenty of fears about Pakistan travel, owing to political instability and terrorist attacks. But though threats remain and there are indeed places travelers should avoid — the US State Department still advises its citizens to reconsider traveling there entirely — improved security backed by a government-led push to promote tourism means visitor numbers are on the rise. In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million foreigners visited Pakistan, 200,000 more than the previous year. In January 2018, it was announced that the country would be offering a multiple-entry 30-day visa on arrival to tourists from 24 countries including the US and UK. Bookings are up 100% this year for Wild Frontiers, a tour operator based in the UK and US that have been running trips to Pakistan for 20 years. For founder Jonny Bealby, it’s not difficult to see why the country is appealing to travelers once again. ‘Epic accessible landscapes’ “I call it adventure travel’s best-kept secret,” he says. “For the adventurous traveler it offers so much. More epic accessible landscapes than you will find anywhere else, meaning landscapes you drive to rather than trek for days to. “In Hunza [a mountainous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region] for example, you can sit on the rooftop at your hotel having breakfast and you’ve got seven 7,000-meter peaks all around you, which is pretty incredible.” Pakistan adventure travel destination Bealby also points to the country’s interesting cultural allures — both in terms of architecture and people. “The cuisine is of course great and the hotel accommodation is actually a lot better than most people think,” he adds. “Tie all those things together and you’ve got the perfect adventure travel destination.” According to Bealby, tourism in the north of the country has not yet been restored to Pakistan’s heyday during the early to mid-nineties when hotels would need to be booked at least a year in advance, yet he has certainly noticed a change in attitudes in recent years. “I would say that the security situation in Pakistan has improved radically in the last three years and it is now becoming a real possibility for people that previously might have been too wary of going to a place which they felt was unsafe.” Related content 23 ancient cities that have survived more than just time ‘People were utterly delighted to see a foreigner’ For US-born travel blogger Alex Reynolds of lostwithpurpose.com, who has visited the country twice, the things she read were not enough to put her off. Comment by Riaz Haq on August 14, 2018 at 7:40am
‘Emerging #Pakistan’ brand buses hit #Berlin’s roads on #IndependenceDay2018, showing beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, majestic landscape, Made in Pakistan FIFA Football, magnificent architecture and vibrant and diverse culture. #Tourism
Berlin’s iconic yellow buses are carrying brand Pakistan on the streets of the city on nation’s 72nd Independence Day.
This branding campaign is running under the theme of ‘Emerging Pakistan’.
The initiative is a part of celebrations planned by the Embassy of Pakistan in Berlin for the 71st Independence Anniversary of Pakistan this year
Berlin caters to hundreds of tourists, especially during the summertime, who will get to see these buses daily. For a brief time, many Berliners will see these buses portraying the diversity and beauty of Pakistan.
Speaking to this correspondent, Jauhar Saleem, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany said, “We are endeavouring to showcase beautiful Pakistan, perhaps the best-kept secret in the world of tourism.”
These special buses showcase the natural beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, majestic landscape, Made in Pakistan Football used for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, monuments representing ancient civilisation, magnificent architecture and vibrant and diverse culture.
The banners on buses aim to attract foreign tourists to the wonderful land of Pakistan, for many that still remains unexplored.
Although for many Germans and Europeans, in particular, northern areas of Pakistan offer a mesmerizing adventure, an ancient Indus civilisation of Moen-Jo-Daro have always fascinated German archaeologists and researchers. Also, the culture and the ethnic richness of Pakistan is appreciated all over Europe. Comment by Riaz Haq on September 3, 2018 at 9:09am
Hospitality Management Training Program
Hospitality Management Training Program (HMTP) is one of the flagship programs of HF focused to impart knowledge and skills to young men and women giving them opportunities to learn & practice the skills required for the hospitality industry in Pakistan and abroad. HMTP was initiated in 1999 by introducing practical training in Marriott and Pearl Continental Hotels across Pakistan. HMTP has been expanded to Peshawar and Karachi. The qualification under this program offers food preparation, Culinary Art, Front Office, Reception, Operational Services, Food & Beverage Services and Accommodation Operations and Services. Other Technical and Vocational trainings include beautician, tailoring and professional skills training.
Following international vocational qualifications (basic to advanced diploma level) are being offered under this program:
Food Preparation and Culinary ArtFront Office and Reception Operation ServicesFood & Beverage ServicesAccommodation Operations and ServicesHF trained over 5,000 youth since last few years, the program is facilitating youth with various International Vocational Qualifications (IVQs) curriculum/content, approved by City & Guilds UK and National Training Bureau, Islamabad. Comment
McLeodganj: The Eighth Wonder
When it comes to touring in Himachal Pradesh, McLeodganj is an inevitable mention. Just straight out of a movie– it is an exquisite location with interplay of clouds and sunshine, cold weather and breathtaking scenic beauty. Situated in Kangra district and at the suburbs of the famous Dharamshala, it has grown to be a favourite destination among tourists. This place is also called ‘Little Lhasa’ because of the dominant Tibetan population who moved here after their homeland was invaded.
As unusual the name sounds, this little town is visited by thousands every year for various purposes: marvelous scenic beauty, spiritual experience, trekking and mountaineering, sightseeing and Himalayan adventures.
This town is a special spiritual getaway and pilgrimage for the Buddhists, just like any other location in Himachal. This is because this place was the house of Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the 14 th Lama of the Buddhists who had come here in 1960 after his exile from Tibet. His Holy presence attracts lots of tourists and pilgrims to the town.
One can visit the Namgyal Monastery which was the personal home of the 14 th Lama of the Buddists and is also the largest Tibetan Temple outside of Tibet. Besides being a beautiful monastery, Namgyal is also a focal point for education called the ‘Namgyal Tantric College’, where the arts of Kalachakra, Vajrakilaya and other Tantric practices are taught to the future Namgyal Monks.
The well-known Bhagsunath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is famous for a waterfall that flows through the temple itself. The magnificent waterfall called the Bhagsunag falls, cascades down to form a pool at the base that is considered to be holy among the devotees. A dip in the cold water induces a spiritual feeling in the hearts of people.
The Kareri Lake at the base of the Minkiani Pass is another famous tourist spot. Camping by the side of this serene lake, in a green meadow under the pass absolutely adds bliss to your trek experience.
McLeodganj is considered the hub of Himalayan adventures, especially trekking. It is home to the most exciting treks in India–the Triund Trek and this town serves as the base camp to reach the summit of the renowned hill.
You can also go shopping in the local markets for souvenir and even if you don’t intend to buy anything, the stroll in the streets alone will let you discover different aspect of this town.
When in McLeodganj, forget about your diet. There are various famous eateries and restaurants that serve Indian as well as Tibetan cuisines. It is probably one of the best places in India that serves top quality coffee. It is hard to find an untidy or unsatisfactory restaurant here in this town. It doesn’t matter if you eat hot momos from a local eatery or have a proper snack or meal in a cozy café, the view of the Himalayan range is a constant wherever you go and it makes you full all the more.
HOW TO REACH
By air: The Gaggal Airport is the nearest to this town. Few airlines serve McLeodganj so Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi, serves as the nearest airport and it is recommended that one boards a flight to Delhi and then travel to McLeodganj by road.
By road: A lot of state government buses and private buses connect McLeodganj with Delhi, Chandigarh and Dharamshala and many other places. One can hire a cab at any part of the town.
By rail: The Pathankot Railway station around 90 kilometres away from this town is the nearest rail head. Trains that move between Delhi and Jammu can be availed to reach McLeodganj. Plenty of trains are available at this route. There are plenty of cab and bus service outside the railway station.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Take care of your belongings and do not leave valuable items in your hotel room.
If you wish to take photos of the locals, please do so with their permission.
Keep in mind the cultural difference and respect the local norms.
This quaint town in the suburbs of Dharamshala is a nature lover’s paradise providing spiritual peace and unforgettable scenic beauty. Advertisements