Delhi to Agra in 90 minutes, Railways test 160-kmph semi high-speed train on July 3

Railways took trial run on July 3 of a train at a speed of 160kmph on the Delhi-Agra route as it looks to launch a semi-high speed service between the two destinations in November.

Equipped with an electric locomotive of 5400HP, the train began its test journey at 10 A.M. on July 3 from New Delhi Station with Commissioner Railway Safety PK Vajpayee, Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) of Delhi and Agra Divisions and other senior officials involved with the semi-high speed project on board.

RPF personnel were deployed along the route to ensure that the trial run goes off smoothly. There are about 16 speed restriction areas and curves on the Delhi-Agra route which are being upgraded to improve the speed.Currently, the Bhopal Shatabdi runs at speeds of up to a maximum of 150kmph on that route.

The train would come as a boon for tourists visiting Taj Mahal as the travel time between Delhi and Agra is expected to come down to 90 minutes from the current 120 minutes. After the Delhi to Agra service, Railways will run similar trains for Kanpur and Chandigarh from the national capital.

Etihad Airways to operate more flights between 5 Indian cities and UAE

Etihad Airways will start more flights from the UAE to India by increasing the frequency of flights to Kochi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad. Due to strong demand from business and leisure travellers, a double-daily frequency will be operated to Bengaluru, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad from October 1. Double-daily frequencies were also introduced to Kochi route last month as well as Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2013.

India introduces liberal visa policy for Afghanistan nationals

The Centre announced a liberal visa policy for the citizens of Afghanistan, which includes allowing stay up to two years and exemption from police reporting for senior citizens and children. The new visa policy for Afghanistan nationals is being introduced on humanitarian grounds for two years.

As per the policy, Afghanistan nationals will be allowed to stay in India on stay visa/resident permit up to two years at a time. Exemption from police reporting will be granted for Afghans below 12 years or above 65 years of age.

India to grant multiple-entry tourist visa to select category of Bangladeshi nationals

India has relaxed visa rules for a category of Bangladeshi nationals planning to cross into its borders. Children below the age of 13 years and citizens above the age of 65 years will be given multiple-entry tourist visas for five years on their arrival in India. The move is aimed at giving a fillip to ties between the two South Asian neighbours.

Rani ki Vav, Gujarat included in World Heritage List

Rani ki vav in Patan town, Gujarat has been approved for inscription on the World Heritage List. The recognition was granted by UNESCO at the World Heritage Committee Session at Doha, Qatar. UNESCO has recognised the masterpiece as an exceptional example of technological development in utilising ground water resources in a single component, water management system and its exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions.

Rani ki vav, a stepwell built in the 11th century, is the most developed, elaborate and ornate example of a unique type of Indian subterranean architectural structure, and it marks the zenith in the evolution of stepwells in India. It is a particularly large and complex example of a stepwell, with seven storeys of ornamented panels of sculptures and relief representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.

Taj Group announces environment & social responsibility initiatives

Taj Group announced its vision for corporate sustainability and community development initiatives going forward. The group’s upcoming forty one new projects that will be launched in the next four years (2014-2018) will set new benchmarks in global sustainability and social responsibility stated a company release.

Amongst the several sustainability initiatives that will be undertaken in the next four years, the Taj Group plans to strengthen its commitment to water conservation by adopting a group-wide challenge aimed at conserving and judiciously using one of the scarcest resource of the future. The water consumption of all hotels in the Taj portfolio will be recorded and reviewed on a regular basis – with a focus on increasing rain water harvesting, water recycling and reuse and ensuring zero water discharge into municipal sewers.

ITC Grand Chola bags ‘Best Business Hotel’ at the Lonely Planet Travel Awards 2014

FITC Grand Chola was awarded the ‘Best Business Hotel’ at the third annual Lonely Planet Magazine Travel Awards 2014, held in Mumbai on June 11, 2014. The winner was selected through an online readers’ poll conducted by the magazine. The awards recognise the best travel experiences, service providers, the preferred places to stay and the destinations Indians most love to visit.

The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho bags ‘Best Hotel Award’

The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho was recognised as the ‘Best Hotel in Madhya Pradesh’ at the State Tourism Awards held at Bhopal on Madhya Pradesh Tourism Day. The award was presented by Babulal Gaur, Minister for Home and Jail, Madhya Pradesh and Surendra Patwa, Minister for Culture and Tourism, Madhya Pradesh.