short trip to Hyderbad

SCUBA DIVING IN GOA

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This Christmas, on our annual break in Goa, I decided to do something completely different, something, none of us had done before – something exciting enough to get us away from being beach and pool bums for at least a day.. and what we decided was, let's do a day of Scuba diving !! Though Goa isn’t really regarded as the best place to go Scuba Diving (primarily because the underwater visibility isn’t too good ), we said, what the hell, we’re here, might as well do it !!

Scuba diving in Goa

So, we booked ourselves on to what's called an Introductory Scuba Dive experience with a company called Dive Goa, an outfit I’d heard of, but, didn’t really know much about. Their Dive Shop and training facility was in North Goa, about a 45-50 minute drive from our home, and I guess a similar drive away from most of South Goa’s hotels (obviously closer for those at one of the North Goa Hotels). Dive Goa is a small outfit run by a very pleasant husband-wife duo of Ashwini and Ajay, Ajay being a Diving instructor himself, and his better half handling the commercials.

After the initial half-hour of classroom instruction, and signing the mandatory release forms, we got to the pool for the equipment training, and within about an hour, we were all set. The 6 of us (Geeta, the kids, a cousin and his son and me) potential Scuba Divers, along with 3 Dive instructors were on a small boat headed towards Grande Island, just about 8 or 10 miles off the coast. The rest, as they say... is history!! The Diving was great fun, Ajay and his team fantastic, and the kids actually didn’t want to come to the surface almost until they were told that their air cylinders were nearly empty.

A lot of people we’d spoken to, had actually discouraged us against trying our hands at Diving in Goa, glad we didn’t listen to them (sorry friends !)...it was a great experience,even if visibility was only about 10 meters and the Goa waters not really what one would call crystal clear...but, the important thing was, that we hadn’t really gone to Goa for the Diving (if we’d done that, perhaps we’d have been disappointed by the water and visibility levels), but, were in Goa anyway, so, this was a great way to experience diving for the first time.

Scuba diving in Goa

As a family, we loved it so much, that Geeta and I will possibly do the 4 day Open Water Course next time we are in Goa (again, it might not be the best place to do it, but, for us, its convenient, since we anyway spend about 2 weeks a year in Goa, and its also relatively inexpensive), and guess what, both the kids are going to the Andamans for a Diving Camp this summer.

All in all, I’d say, if you are in Goa anyway, and keen to try your hand at Diving, or even keen to get your PADI/SSI certification, without going to somewhere far away, Goa is a good option.
 


EXPLORING HYDERABAD- THE CITY OF PEARLS

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A couple of weekends ago, a family function made me travel to Hyderabad. Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh (and soon to be the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ) is one of the largest, and most populous cities of Southern India, with a population of over 7 million. Hyderabad, is also known as the “City of Pearls”, as also the “City of Nizams”.  

Charminar, Hyderabad

After a couple of days of exploring the sights and sounds of Hyderabad, the first thing that struck me, and actually a question I asked myself was “ Why is Hyderabad not a more prominent city on the world tourism map? “ In my view, less than 1 % of the total international tourists who travel to India travel to Hyderabad --- which is actually appalling, given that the city has a lot to offer tourists. From monuments like the Charminar and the Golconda Fort (which even has a Sound and Light show in the evenings), museums like the Salarjung Museum (which has a great collection of the Nizam’s jewellery, artifacts etc), to excellent shopping opportunities, to great food, good bars, great Hotels, Hyderabad seems to have it all.  Talking of Hotels, I would actually say that the Faluknuma Palace in itself is enough reason to visit Hyderabad. Towering above the city’s skyline, the Faluknuma Palace, the erstwhile home of the Nawab of Hyderabad, is now a luxury hotel managed by the Taj Group.

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Of course, in addition to the Faluknuma Palace, Hyderabad does have a good variety of other deluxe hotels too, from the Taj Krishna to the ITC Kakatiya. For the travelling Golfer in me, Hyderabad was good too, and both, the HGA Golf Course as well as the Boulders Hills Golf club offering challenging layouts and excellent facilities.  At the end of actually spending 3 days experiencing Hyderabad, doing a fair bit of sightseeing, playing a bit of Golf, doing a bit of shopping and dining out, I was actually convinced, that we as in the Tourism Industry and as in the Govt of India Tourism authorities, need to do a whole lot more and the city definitely needs to be showcased more prominently of the International tourism stage.  

The author, Kapil Goswamy is the Managing Director of Trans India Holidays, New Delhi.  


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