Two more Indian beaches—Kadmat and Thundi in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep—recently gained the prestigious Blue Flag certification. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted the news, saying, “Congratulations, particularly to the people of Lakshadweep, for this feat. India’s coastline is remarkable and there is also a great amount of passion among our people to further coastal cleanliness,” in response to Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav’s announcement of the news. Last year, Puducherry’s Eden Beach and Kovalam beach in Tamil Nadu had earned the accolade, and now the total number of Blue Flag beaches in India stands at 12. Spain, at 614, holds the world record for the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world. The eco-label is given to beaches, marinas or sustainable boating tourism operators by the Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) for meeting and maintaining a set of “stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria”. The beaches that receive this certification are deemed as the cleanest in the world, based on parameters such as environment conservation, bathing water quality, ocean currents, disabled-friendly amenities, among others.
Two more Indian beaches have made it to the list of Blue Beaches. Minicoy, Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach – both in Lakshadweep – are the proud entrants in the coveted list of Blue Beaches, an eco-label given to the cleanest beaches in the world. pic.twitter.com/i2bTdB5tJi
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) October 26, 2022
A much-anticipated celebration of Khasi food, art and music in the recent years, The Hills Festival, organised by the state’s tourism board, is back in the capital city of Shillong. To be held on November 4 and 5, the festival will see not just art installations, music performances, and food stalls, but glamping facilities and bicycle trails for visitors. The theme of the fest is Spirit of Meghalaya, and will raise a toast to eco-tourism and the empowerment of local communities, reported EastMojo. As part of the festival, the region’s famous living root bridges, which made it to the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list a little while ago, will be recreated and presented on stage. For other details, check out the festival’s website.
The Neral-Matheran toy train has always been one of Matheran’s most cherished tourist attractions. In 2019, incessant rainfall resulted in the route suffering damages at multiple locations, and the train was forced to be discontinued. Now, after intensive infrastructural repairs undertaken by the Central Railway, the historic train that first commenced operations in 1907, is back with a Vistadome coach, gabion protection and grouting of stone pitching beneath the track, as tweeted by Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw. The 20-kilometre Neral-Matheran route takes passengers through the lush landscape of the Western Ghats. The line has also been equipped with side drains for rainwater, extra pipe bridges and box bridges as part of the revamp. Take a look at the ride, as tweeted by the Ministry of Railways.
Visual delight for passengers!
Meandering through the stunning landscapes of Western Ghats, the Neral-Matheran Toy Train has resumed services with the addition of Vistadome Coach for the passengers to experience the grandeur of travelling. pic.twitter.com/aCqDht1FZF
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) October 26, 2022
Travellers to Odisha now have the option of undertaking walking tours to several heritage sites all over the state. The programme, titled Odisha Walks, will take heritage enthusiasts to places such as the Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves, the Mukteswar and Lingaraj temples that were built during the 10th and 11th centuries respectively, and the Shanti Stupa. Odisha Tourism Development Corporation chairperson Lenin Mohanty said, “These five guided tours along the identified heritage circuits would help reveal the city’s rich architectural treasures, culture, traditions, rituals and customs.” These walks will be conducted from Friday to Sunday every week from 6.30 am to 8.30 am.
Prannay Pathak dreams about living out of a suitcase and retiring to the island of Hamneskär to watch films in solitary confinement. He is Assistant Editor (Digital) at National Geographic Traveller India.