Huge Landslide on Our Way to Gangtok

wpid-20150719_170011.jpg

Jaya, her father and I were coming to Gangtok yesterday to see my son, Babai. He’s studying MBBS at SMIMS in Gangtok. The flight reached Bagdogra airport on time. The cab was already booked and we proceeded for Gangtok, which is around 125 km. It’s a mountainous road with beautiful natural surroundings. Teesta river flowing by the road adds to  […]

Read More →

Dubai Mall — It’s Not Just a Mall!

Today I got some time in the evening and I went to the Dubai Mall. The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. As per Wikipedia, in 2012, Dubai Mall continued to hold title of world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination, and attracted more than 65 million visitors, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the 54 million recorded in 2011. It attracted more visitors than New York City with over 52 million tourists in 2012, and Los Angeles with 41 million. There is a nice waterfall in the mall. In the souk, there is a fossil of a dinosaur — DubaiDino. It’s 24-metre long and 7.6-metre high. I first thought it was fake because how would you have dinosaur fossils in a mall? But, it’s indeed a real fossil. The long-necked, whip-tailed dinosaur (Diplodocus longus) is more than 155 million years old. The remains of DubaiDino were discovered in 2008 at the Dana Quarry in Wyoming, US and it was flown to Dubai. About 90 percent of this fossil’s bones are original and were found intact at the excavation site, making it one of the rarest discoveries in paleontology history. There is Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo inside the mall. It’s just not a mall! Bought a ticket for AED 120 ($33.33) and walked in. It’s really quite a big aquarium with great collection of fish. Then went up to the second floor for the underwater zoo. […]

Read More →

Mall to Celebrate Travels of Ibn Battuta

In the evening after the meeting was over, I went to the Ibn Battuta Mall. It’s the world’s largest themed shopping mall. This mall is uniquely designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta. Ibn Battuta visited India during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Each region Ibn Battuta explored – Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China – is reflected in the architecture and theme of the mall’s six courts. These courts strongly project the historical and cultural richness of this Arabian icon’s life, serving as inspiration to all those who visit. Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368) was a Moroccan explorer of Berber descent. He is known for his extensive travels. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe, and to the Middle East, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Ibn Battuta is generally considered one of the greatest travellers of all time. The mall houses a 21-screen multiplex. I returned to hotel after having fried cod with a can of coke from London Fish N Chips at the Tunisia Court. It’s a nice evening today.

Read More →

Mall of the Emirates

I reached Dubai today for meetings with our software vendors. They’re located in Media City. We went and checked in at Hotel Radisson Blu at Media City. It’s also pretty hot in Dubai. I went down to Icon Bar for some beer. But the bar wasn’t serving alcohol as it’s Ramadan time. They said that alcohol is served during Ramadan after 8.00 pm. Anyway, I sat down there and had a cup of black coffee. To pass the evening time, I took a cab and went to Mall of the Emirates. The mall was opened in 2005. On November 2005, it was named the World’s Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London. The mall also hosts Ski Dubai — the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park. I was just enjoying window shopping and walking with people around. Then went to an Italian restaurant — Emporio Armani Caffe and ordered for fried shrimps with calamari along with cappuccino. Fried shrimps and calamari were very delicious. I returned hotel after having an ice-cream from Baskin-Robbins.

Read More →

Dubai Airport–Terminal 2

Inaugurated on May 1st 1998 to alleviate congestion at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 catered to scheduled, charter and special interest flights during special occasions. A few years ago, when Iraq was served by charter flights of Jupiter Airlines, we used to travel to Baghdad from Terminal 2. It used to be a small airport with lacking facilities in contrast to the Terminal 1. Now, Terminal 2 is home to Dubai’s budget airline flydubai, which launched operations on June 1st, 2009. Undergoing a massive makeover, Terminal 2, hub for flydubai is now completely transformed. This terminal is also used by low-cost airlines, charter flights and airlines coming in from CIS countries and Iran. Today, I was returning to Baghdad after vacation. This time I was traveling by flydubai. I visited Terminal 2 after a long gap of several years. It’s looking much brighter and filled with a number of shops and eateries. It was in the morning, around 6.30 am. I found people queuing to get into the famous restaurant belonging French chain of bakery restaurants – Paul. As I was traveling by Business Class, I headed towards the flydubai Business Class Lounge. The ground floor was a bit crowded but the first floor is more spacious and good for relaxed seating. I preferred to sit at a corner with a power connection to charge my mobile. I also breakfasted there. The staff at the lounge are quite polite and nice. The […]

Read More →

Falcon Gold Lounge, Bahrain

wpid-20150310_204327.jpg

This time while traveling to New Delhi from Baghdad, I took the Gulf Air flight. I normally prefer the UAE based airlines for convenience. Gulf Air doesn’t service Baghdad on Sundays. Etihad and Emirates haven’t yet started the service since the shooting incident. So, the transit point is Bahrain International Airport. Although it’s quite an old airport but other airports […]

Read More →

Ugrasen ki Baoli

My dad has come to Delhi for attestation of some documents by Iraqi embassy. So, mom and I also accompanied him to Delhi from Ranchi. I went with my dad. Mom was resting at the hotel. After depositing the document at Ministry of External Affairs for their attestation before it’s attested by the Iraqi embassy, Dad & I went for a walk from Patiala House towards Connaught Place. We then walked into the historic Ugrasen ki Baoli. Ancient Indians used to build water temples as well as earliest forms of step wells and reservoirs. Ugrasen ki Baoli (a.k.a. Agrasen ki Baoli) is one of such step wells in Delhi. It is designated a protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). It’s a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well on Hailey Road near Connaught Place in New Delhi. Baoli or baori is a Hindi word (from Sanskrit vapi, vapika). Water temples and temple step wells were built in ancient India and the earliest forms of step well and reservoir were also built in India in places like Dholavira as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation. Although there are no known historical records to prove who built Agrasen ki Baoli, it is believed that it was originally built by the legendary king Agrasen during the Mahabharat epic era and rebuilt in the 14th century by the Agrawal community which traces its origin to Maharaja Agrasen. The Baoli is a unique blend […]

Read More →

India Gate at Night

India Gate is the pride of Delhi. An imposing structure, the gate was built in memory to the of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during World War I. The India Gate is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath. 13,300 servicemen names, including some soldiers and officers from the UK, are inscribed on the gate. The India Gate, even though a war memorial, evokes the architectural style of the triumphal arch. India Gate at night A photo posted by I.RoyChoudhury (@iroychoudhury) on Oct 8, 2014 at 5:51pm PDT In 1971, following the Bangladesh Liberation war, a small simple structure, consisting of a black marble plinth, with reversed rifle, capped by war helmet, bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the soaring Memorial Archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the Flame of the Immortal Soldier, since 1971 has served as India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During the night, India gate is dazzled by floodlit and the fountains nearby are lit up with colored lights. People throng the lawns around the India Gate in the night.We went there yesterday to enjoy the splendor of India Gate. There are many vendors selling tea, ice creams, chanachur, toys etc. We spent sometime there and returned after having dinner at Pindi Restaurant in Pandara Road, New Delhi. We had lovely chicken dishes and then returned to our hotel.

Read More →

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

I have come to Delhi with my mom & dad for a couple of days for getting my dad’s graduation degree attested by Iraqi embassy in New Delhi. We are staying at hotel The Park in New Delhi. It’s just opposite to the iconic architectural masterpiece of 18th century – Jantar Mantar. Mom and dad were remembering this place as mom used to wait with me in the lawns of Jantar Mantar for dad to come from his office and pick us up for shopping etc in Connaught Place area. I was toddler then. :-) Dad and I walked across from our hotel to Jantar Mantar. The Jantar Mantar is an equinoctial sundial, consisting of a gigantic triangular gnomon with the hypotenuse parallel to the Earth’s axis. On either side of the gnomon is a quadrant of a circle, parallel to the plane of the equator. The instrument is intended to measure the time of day, correct to half a second and declination of the Sun and the other heavenly bodies. The jantars have evocative names like, Samrat Yantra, Jai Prakash Yantra, and Mishra Yantra; each of which are used to for various astronomical calculations. The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best […]

Read More →

Returned to Baghdad

I went to India on a two-week vacation on June 6 to attend to some family events. In the meanwhile, the security situations in Iraq deteriorated suddenly as ISIS overran large swathes of the north and west of the country and seized over half a dozen cities, including Mosul. 40 Indian nationals were abducted from a construction site in Mosul. 46 Indian nurses are also stranded in Tikrit hospital. These caused a great concern not only in India but around the world. The Indian media is giving wide coverage of the happenings in Iraq. I was in communication with my colleagues in the bank. They informed me that the situation in Baghdad is okay and there’s no new development in Baghdad that might be a cause for worry. My friends and relatives in India were apprehensive of my returning to Baghdad. Some advised me against it. However, returning to Baghdad is my call of duty. As always, my wife and my son stood by me. With their good wishes, prayers and blessings of my elders I began my journey from Ranchi yesterday. The immigration official at the passport control desk refused me when I replied to him that I was going to Baghdad. I talked to him that I am working in Baghdad and was in India on vacation etc. He was acting on the travel advisory issued by the government of India on June 15 2014, wherein Indian nationals were […]

Read More →