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As Dhempe Travel Blog loves traveling with family mainly dad Hrish, mom Sunitha and son Reyansh; we decided to make the group much bigger this time with grand parents Nageswara Rao and Gowri joining us; as of course, more the merrier! We decided to travel to Australia via Singapore. As Singapore visa is free for 3 days when you travel via it to some major countries including Australia, we took advantage of that free visa scheme. As I was searching for good accommodation in Singapore, I came across Holiday Inn Express Singapore Serangoon which is near to the Little India area in Singapore.

The newest Holiday Inn Express hotel in Singapore, Holiday Inn Express Singapore Serangoon is conveniently located on Jalan Besar in the heritage hub of Little India cultural district, which is just a 20-minute drive from Singapore Changi Airport. Just a few minutes walking distance from Farrer Park and Bendemeer MRT Stations, the hotel offers easy access to all key business and leisure areas of Singapore, including Orchard, Bugis, Chinatown and Marina Bay, as well as, Suntec Convention Centre and National Stadium. Guests can enjoy a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment options including 24-hour Mustafa Centre.

Featuring 119 modern design rooms, Holiday Inn Express Singapore Serangoon is the smart choice for savvy travellers who are looking for the best location combined with the best value in Singapore Serangoon area, offering an affordable and hassle-free stay.

The modern room features comfortable high quality bedding with a choice of soft or firm pillows and LCD TV. Refresh with our multi-functional power shower. Stay connected with complimentary WiFi. All rooms feature tea, coffee maker, in-room safe, refrigerator and essential toiletries kit.

ROOM FEATURES are as follows: 

SLEEP
Black-out Shades
In-room Safe
Separate Hanging Closet
In-Room Heating and A/C Controls

BATHROOM/PERSONAL CARE
Private Bathroom
Bathroom Amenities Available
Hair Dryer
Separate/Walk-in Shower
Separate Vanity Area

IN-ROOM FEATURES
Mini Refrigerator
Coffee Maker
Tea Maker
Flat-screen TV
Work Desk with Lamp
Desk-level Electrical Outlet
Premium Channels
Direct-dial Phone
220AC

ADDED VALUE
Connecting Rooms Available
Slippers
Complimentary Coffee/Tea Supplies
Complimentary Bottled Water

The hotel architectural design is about bringing a carnival concept combined with a history of the iconic landmark into life by reflecting the old days through modern design of colourful geometric pattern which is inspired by carnival Ferris’s wheel.

Always wanted to visit Bikaner in Rajasthan and recently had an opportunity to make my dream come true. Thanks to the new airport operations in Bikaner airport, there are direct flights now from Delhi and Jaipur daily and they are pretty reasonably priced too. I would say around Rs.2000 per ticket if you book a little in advance. Once we arrived in Bikaner, we arrived at the “Jewel in the desert” which is the Gaj Kesri hotel on the outskirts of the town.

Built in the palace style of Rajputana in the Bikaneri vernacular, Gaj Kesri is a tribute to the skills and meticulous craftsmanship of the artisans and masons of Bikaner and nearby villages. Surrounded by verdant grounds and lawns, the hotel offers traditional grandeur with arty and chic interiors. The hotel is built by architect Mr. Sunil Rampuria who is also the 5th generation of the Rampuria’s who own the famous Rampuria Havelis.

Gaj Kesri is home to a superb and unparalleled collection of contemporary Usta Work – the glorious art form of Bikaner all created in their own workshop. That makes the hotel a museum of sorts. Mr. Sunil Rampuria, the owner has been passionately involved for the last 35 years in keeping this lovely art form alive and it was great pleasure seeing the masterpieces created by the brothers Asghar, Iqbal, Ayyub and Ameen adorning the spaces inside the main building.

Rooms are designed aesthetically well and give you a royal feeling of staying in a palace. All the amenities like mini bar with cold drinks, electric kettle for coffee and some locally made desserts welcome you into the room after a long journey. Room rates are just Rs.6000 plus taxes, which is a really affordable for the amazing royal stay.

I liked the way artifacts were displayed across the room showcasing to us how the royals live. The lighting was sufficient and provided a warm feel to the room. The walk in wardrobe and the palatial bathrooms were a perfect fit to this regal room.

We enjoyed swimming in the open air pool in the Gaj Kesri grounds. You can have a nice cold beer with some amazing veg spring rolls as you take a dip in this beautiful swimming pool. It is also a nice place to have a romantic dinner in the evening enjoying the cool breeze in the air.

The owners Mr. Sunil Rampuria and his charming wife Mrs. Anju Rampuria played perfect hosts to us as they regaled us with their royal stories and how they built this beautiful jewel in the middle of the desert. Mr. Sunil created the blueprint for this resort on his own after leaving his job in Vizag and coming back here. Mrs. Anju had a wonderful jewelry collection which she showed us which tell countless tales of the royal families.

The multi cuisine restaurant serves only vegetarian food but you won’t be disappointed even if you are a non-vegetarian as the food is very healthy and prepared very fresh. The restaurant itself is very aesthetically decorated which reminds you of royal dining.

My 6 year old son Reyansh had a wonderful time at Gaj Kesri as he had so many activities to do. His favorite activity was swimming in the pool and enjoying some delicious vegetarian spring rolls along with some hot milk. He was pampered by the entire staff and he enjoyed being in the open air with less screen time.

The lawns are great to arrange big marriage functions or family celebrations. It is also great for kids to enjoy playing some outdoor games or just lazing around on a beautiful winter morning or evening. 

Reyansh loved the decor of Gaj Kesri which looked to him like a palace. He enjoyed learning about the different artifacts and the meaning behind them from the owners of Gaj Kesri itself. Children of all ages can have a wonderful time at Gaj Kesri without feeling bored. 

Gaj Kesri offers traditional grandeur with arty and chic interiors which definitely makes us feel royal. The Rajasthani thali served by Gaj Kesri is really exceptional but they also serve some mouth watering dishes from Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines.

It was great to have dinner with Mr. Sunil Rampuria and other travel bloggers from across India. We also enjoyed some live band performance by Raja and his team who sang wonderful Bollywood and Indi pop numbers. Wine and liquor was flowing nicely as we enjoyed the music with some delectable vegetable starters.

In a nutshell, Gaj Kesri provides an amazing stay in Bikaner as you discover the city and various attractions it has to offer. Builton 25 acres of land, Gaj Kesri is a sprawling property with 41 rooms–31 Art Guest Rooms and 10 Standard Rooms.

My 10th class buddy Prabhas’ Saaho created another benchmark in the history of Indian cinema, with an opening of 100 Crores at the box office in India alone. After Baahubali 2, Saaho is the second film that has taken the nation by storm!

The action thriller, Saaho, marks Prabhas’ Bollywood debut and Shraddha Kapoor’s Telugu debut. The film which opened on Friday, ran with full houses from the morning show. The movie also has a fantastic cast of Jackie Shroff, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Mandira Bedi, Chunky Panday, Mahesh Manjrekar, Arun Vijay and Murali Sharma.

Saaho is presented by T-Series, produced by UV Creations and directed by Sujeeth.

Earlier this week, India’s heartthrob actor ‘Prabhas’ was seen at the press conference for ‘Saaho’ at The Leela Palace Hotel. The media and fans were seen waiting eagerly for the Rebel-Star’s appearance. It was great to meet him after 25 years! Also I met Shraddha Kapoor recently at IIFA Bangkok.

Prabhas’ took on all the questions with grace and charm. When asked if he prefers ‘Baahubali’ over ‘Saaho’ he said, Baahubali is what got me a place in the hearts of numerous Indians. But ‘Saaho’ is a passion project of Sujeeth and everything from the trailer to dialogues have been carefully worked on and I hope you love it as much as you did Baahubali.

Talking about Bangalore, he said, he has only fond memories of Bangalore, the bright Brigade Road and beautiful tree-laden walkways and how he and his friends would come down on vacations and enjoy here.

When asked about Kannada films he said, there are several great projects that have come out of the Kannada Industry like Yash’s ‘KGF’ that are showing us how it’s done and expressed interest towards acting in a Kannada film if something good comes along.

Recently went to the Star Lounge on the top most floor of Big Pitcher Brewery on Old Airport road, Bangalore. I have always been going to Big Pitcher since the opening 5 years ago. It’s a beautiful open air roof top lounge where you can enjoy the beautiful Bangalore weather with wonderful beers and lip smacking food.

The craft beers on tap were Sarava (wheat beer), Hop Witch (American hoppy beer), Adjust Maadi (citrusy beer), Kingslayer and Czech that pilsner. My favorites were Hop Witch and Czech that pilsner. Just see the lacing on the beer glass – it is a symbol of perfect beer!

Among short eats, the favorites were Tawa Grilled Paneer, Doodhia Kabab, Star lounge Buffalo wings, Green Chicken Ghee Roast served with neer dosa, Kudla Garlic Pork and Tiger Prawns.

Crowd favorite was this Angari Khatarnak Murgh which is juicy chicken tikka flavored with curry leaves and fiery green chilli.

Among mains, the favorites were Tandoori Chicken Naanza (Pizza + Naan!) and Paneer Naanza. Chicken Naanza is basically desi-style naan base with traditional Indian tandoori chicken, onions, green chillies and coriander. I loved the taste of Naanzas!

In desserts, Tiramisu was heavenly and so was Double Caramel Baked Cheese Cake which is basically made of creamy mascarpone cheese, blended with golden, homemade caramel, whipped cream & choco chip, on a light, crumbly crust.

Star lounge at Big Pitcher is an exotic rooftop getaway in the brewery which is in the middle of the city with great food and drinks.

You should check out their unlimited chef’s special starters, main course and drinks offers. They are really value for money!

India continues to be one of the world’s top destinations for travellers, many of whom return time and again. But, while it’s a welcoming and open country, it also possesses a very distinctive culture. Too often, first-time visitors neglect to look into these differences, and it can easily negatively impact their experience.

If you’re planning on heading there in the near future, we’d always recommend doing some research. The good news is, it will make for good reading – the story of India is one of the richest in world history. But to whet your appetite, here are five things you may not (yet) be clear on:

1. Regions

The first mistake would be to treat a country of over a billion people – with the seventh-largest land area in the world – as a place in which the same norms apply everywhere. And, India is so vast that any one trip is only likely to take in a few of its many regions at a time.

It’s also a federation of 29 states, meaning these regions are partly self-governing – and so the rules imposed can vary somewhat across the country. So when you do your research, make sure you’re focusing on the particular area or areas you’ll be staying.

2. Etiquette

For all the regional differences, though, there are certain behaviours your hosts will likely appreciate – and others you should know to avoid.

First of all – regardless of whether you’re left or right-handed, Indians shake hands with the right. This is because the left is associated with toilet usage. It’s also considered impolite to touch someone else with your feet – indeed, try not to angle the soles at others. And you’ll be expected to remove your shoes before entering a home or sacred space.

3. Religion

As you’ll probably be aware, the majority of Indians are Hindus, but there are also a sizeable proportion of Muslims. How you’re greeted will give you an idea – ‘namaste’ is the traditional Hindu greeting, while Muslims will tend to begin with ‘salaam alaikum’.

India was the cradle of many of the world’s most successful religions, and you may well also meet Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains on your travels – so it’s worth knowing a little about each (even though there are actually more Christians in the country than any one of these minorities these days).

4. Seasonal

Just as knowing the difference between regions may guide your decision where to go, so having an idea of India’s seasons – and many great seasonal festivals – may influence when in the year you prefer to be there.

For instance, the colourful celebration of Holi takes place in February or March, while Diwali’s illuminated nights arrive in October or November. And, if you want to see some of the best public pageantry the country has to show, December is Wedding Season, when you’ll witness parades of horses and drummers, the lighting of symbolic flames and family parties that last for days.

5. LGBT+

India is a modern country and has progressed somewhat toward equality in the last decade. But it can also be a conservative culture in which public displays of romantic affection are not particularly encouraged whatever your orientation.

Due to the indigenous hijira population, there’s been a legal recognition of a third gender for some time but, again, trans visitors are encouraged to be careful. Thankfully, there are at least an increasing number of resources to consult before travelling or while in-country.

We all love holidays, yes? But when it comes to long journeys with children, we need to have a few extra tips and tactics to hand. After all, there’s nothing worse than a car full of miserable, bored, unhappy, irritable and thoroughly fed-up kids! Unsettled children mean impatient and crotchety parents.

Pack toys and snacks for the kids

First and foremost you need to make sure that your child has a comfortable car seat. The more comfortable your little one is, the more relaxed they will be. Who knows, they may even fall asleep and give you an hour or so of peace.

Most mums know about the ‘Magic Bag’ trick. What’s a magic bag, you ask? Well, when you go on long car journeys or even flights or ferries, always carry a bag with distractions for your child. Now this could contain colouring books and crayons or felt pens, depending on the age of your little ones. Perhaps pop a few activity books in the bag, too. Those little magnetic car games are brilliant as there’s no way the children can lose the pieces. Obviously there are exceptions, but you’re pretty safe with magnetic game pieces.

It’s always a good idea to put some tried and tested little toys in the bag – toys that you know your child loves playing with. And then, of course, you must never forget your children’s favourite cuddly toys or comforters too.

In addition, it’s worthwhile packing a few snacks – preferably non-sticky, dry ones and plenty of drinks.

Be prepared for unexpected accidents and sickness

Mum and dad should also have a separate bag to hand with wet wipes, tissues and spare nappies or pull-ups for babies and toddlers. Anti-bacterial hand gel for nappy changes and little ‘accidents’ on the go are a real essential.

And then of course you have to be prepared for the inevitable ‘I feel sick’ moment too. Let’s be fair, most of us parents have heard that one a few times, haven’t we?! Pack a few carrier bags, even more wet wipes and a damp flannel in a sandwich bag or similar as well. A few extra clean tops wouldn’t go amiss either. Keeping a change of clothes to hand is always well worth it when travelling with children. Motion sickness can happen to anyone at anytime, so it’s better to be prepared.

Have some fun game ideas to hand

There are many fun travel games such as ‘I Spy’ and the ‘license plate game’ that children will enjoy playing on those long, boring journeys. Most of us have our own favourite version of them. ‘Spot the yellow cars’ (substitute any colour you want!) and noting down how many you see is another good car game to while away a few more minutes, too.

So whether you are heading on a family holiday to Spain or further afield, just remember that the more prepared you are for the journey, the happier everyone will be.

As we are the top family travel bloggers in India, Dhempe’s Travel Blog was recently invited for a staycation at one of India’s best hotels, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, which was recently refurbished entirely. This is a dual property in Hitech City which is spread over 15 acres.

We had a comfortable ride from the airport to the hotel which took around 45 minutes on a Friday afternoon. Best part is that due to the outer ring road, you can reach the hotel within 45 minutes to 1 hour anytime of the day.

Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre was one of the original pioneers of five-star hospitality in Hyderabad having opened more than 15 years back. The hotel now has new and contemporary designed rooms, vibrant restaurant upgrades, an elegant lobby and a spirited bar. We were welcomed very sweetly by the hotel tea with a wet towel, traditional teekha and some cool refreshing drink. 

We checked into our suite room which had a lot of wonderful surprises waiting for us. They were done in a contemporary fashion with lot of modern elements. The rooms are spacious and give out good vibes to relax and recoup.

The bed was really comfortable and had the best of the linen which was perfect for a good night of sleep!

I personally loved the eatable Instagram frame made for our welcome – a delicious almond sponge layered chocolate and coffee flavored french pastry!

I met the executive chef Gaurav Malhotra who treated us to some of the best savories of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh along with Irani Chai! It was a really much required break after traveling from Bangalore.

Gaurav Malhotra, Executive Chef, said that the new restaurant Food Exchange will act as a hub for the coming together of conversations, specializations, food innovations and the celebration of multi cuisines. The venue offers a casually elegant dining experience with a progressive approach to food creation and beverage innovations. The outlet will also feature artisanal desserts, familiar comfort food and other treats, all curated for the modern diner’s palate.

We were part of the Seafood wave weekends which happens at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Center from Friday to Sunday, only for dinners, by the poolside. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see the variety of seafood which was there considering that Hyderabad is not close to the sea. I was told by the chefs that the fresh catch is flown in daily from Godavari belt and coastal Andhra.

Some of the seafood on display was king prawn, pink perch, tuna fish, red snapper, white pomfret, lady fish, mackerel, squid, baby octopus, mud crab, sea crab and Indian salmon. The ambiance created was like that of a seafood market, where you could choose the seafood you like and then it would be grilled according to the type of spices you like.

Some of the best dishes were sea crab, pomfret and prawns. Such world class sea food in Hyderabad was really a dream come true and kudos to Novotel chefs for the same!

We then went to The Bar for some cocktails while watching IPL matches. The bar has been given a more chic and contemporary feel, making for a cheerful ambiance. It has been transformed to target and attract the young crowd over weekends. Guests can look forward to innovative concepts and more interactive offerings.

Best part is that the bar has got license to officially be open till 3am every night! That’s much better than the night life of entire Bangalore! So it’s a great place to let you hair down after a long day and enjoy with friends and colleagues!

We had a great swim the next day and basically relaxed by the pool while enjoying some sumptuous breakfast from The Food Exchange. The outlet is characterized by a social and interactive atmosphere with flexible seating options offering indoor casual and poolside outdoor seating. Live kitchens and conversations with the chef make this venue interactive and flamboyant, with an emphasis on freshness, local ingredients and organic produce.

Food Exchange is bringing together food, culture and traditions from across the world and making your breakfast, lunch and dinner exciting! The bright colors on the walls are really welcoming and the seating space are also very well done. With regards to the food, you of course have all the best cuisines in the world like Italian, Oriental, etc but also local flavors from South India, specially Andhra Pradesh. The cold cuts section is really exhaustive and so is the desserts section. There are a lot of live stations which are present to create your customized food in buffets.

Food Exchange is an all-day dining and social hub for discerning palates. Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre seeks to further deepen its impact in Hyderabad with the newly curated gastronomy offerings at Food Exchange, strengthening its decade long positioning in the market. With both western and Pan Asian cuisine on the menu, Food Exchange is a modern interpretation of food markets found across the globe and is reminiscent of places where local people in-the-know go to dine.

Travelling with kids can be hard work, but the rewards of seeing their little faces light up and knowing they have made memories that will stay with them the rest of their lives makes it all worthwhile.

1. Paris, France

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/nnzkZNYWHaU

We often think of Paris as a romantic getaway location, and not suitable for families and children. This couldn’t be further from the truth. France has something to offer everyone, food, fashion, history, and sports.

Take your kids for a walk along the river or take them to see the Eiffel Tower. If you’re looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, try the Catacombs of Paris – an exciting adventure for children of all ages, but do book ahead as some bloggers describe waiting for up to two hours. Not ideal with small children.

2. Toronto, Canada

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/V4S9FZmvYvM

Toronto is an amazing city full of activities that your kids will love and so will you. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum to learn all about Canada’s history, while your kids marvel at Dinosaur skeletons and colourful Native Canadian Headdresses.

You can journey south of the city to see Niagara Falls, a breath-taking site that your kids will surely remember. If you do take your kids to Canada, make sure they are reasonably well behaved as Ben Groundwater says that the one thing not to do in Canada is to be rude.

3. Kerala, India

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/9Dt4WutvwDs

Visiting India is on many people’s bucket list, but it can seem like an impossible destination if you have a young family. The major cities are probably far too manic to take your kids to, but Kerala moves at a slower pace and is ideal for families. The national parks are recommended for families, as it’s incredible to see the looks on your kids’ faces when they first spot an elephant will provide a special moment.

4. London, England

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/O9_pzf-WMm0

Visiting London will allow you and your family to explore hundreds of years of history and culture. The museums and monuments aren’t all stuffy and boring they are often fully immersive and tailored towards kids.

The Science Museum has a special section for children that contains interactive games and puzzles relating to its current exhibitions. Actors playing various historical characters bring to life The London Dungeon and immerse your kids in its history. Might be too scary for young kids.

5. Florida, USA

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/Ju2sBBsiKSs

Orlando, Florida may just be the place your kids want to visit the most. It is home to the world’s greatest theme parks, including Universal Studios, and Legoworld.

If theme parks aren’t for you, then Florida still has plenty to offer. Take them on an educational trip to the Kennedy Space Centre where they can experience the shuttle simulator. You could also take them to see the alligators at Everglades National Park.

6. Melbourne, Australia

Image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/-gmtAa0Q5MI

Australia is a fantastic place to visit and once your kids are old enough to handle the long flight it’s well worth taking them. If your kids love animals then Melbourne is the perfect location.

There are over 300 different animal species at Melbourne Zoo, particular highlights include the gorillas and the butterfly house. Head down to the Phillip Island Nature Park and witness the March of the Penguins, it will delight your kids.

Did you know that India’s best South Indian restaurant Dakshin was actually started in Chennai in Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park 30 years back on 14th of April 1989? Dakshin brings together the rich culinary traditions from six South Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Puducherry. When were invited for 30 years celebrations of Dakshin, we didn’t think twice and along with top 10 travel and lifestyle bloggers from Bangalore, started in Dakshin Blogger Bus from Bangalore to Chennai!

The Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park and GV Media tech ensured that we had a very comfortable journey in a AC bus from Bangalore to Chennai with sufficient stops on the way for breakfast and snacks. Also Dakshin team gave us a welcome box which had lot of wonderful amenities to remind us of the great food at Dakshin!

The Dakshin goodie bag had famous Tamil Nadu specialities like Mullu Murukku and Adirasam along with some sweets too!

Some of the other snacks were ribbon pakoda, mami’s snacks, nellikai mitai. One of the cutest gifts was that of a small coffee filter ! GV Media tech team also gave us very nice goodie bag with stuff we need for the travel and also a filter coffee tumbler and mug!

We reached after 7 hours of journey. Though we were bit tired, the enthusiasm with which the Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park team welcomed us was amazing! The entire team including Mr. Jit Bose, Area Director Sales & Marketing, South India, personally welcomed us and took care of us for our entire stay!

Located 12 km away from Chennai International Airport and close to business and financial hubs, Hotel Crowne Plaza Adyar Park is situated along numerous cultural attractions, such as Mylapore Temple, Mahabalipuram and Dakshina Chitra.

The hotel boasts of 287 guest rooms, with classic accommodations in the Park Wing or modern aesthetics in the newly refurbished Towers Wing, like where we were staying.

I loved the room amenities kept in our suite room which were customized to spread the message of ‘Dakshin Turns 30’! Lot of wonderful attention to detail!

Executive Chef Deva and his team of experienced chefs at Dakshin had created two exclusive dishes – nattu kozhi ammi masala (Chicken) and Chettinad aadu (Lamb) which are made up of 30 flavour packed ingredients.

Executive Chef Deva also cooked the legendary Banana Dosa for us which is one of Dakshin’s most popular dishes and also some fritters.

We went to the 30 years celebration too which was a grand affair and had the best of the cuisine from states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Dakshin was launched to cater to the demand in the market for authentic South Indian cuisine. Groups of chefs from various regions of Southern India were summoned and they were asked to prepare and present food from their region.

Jit Bose talked during the event about the origin of Dakshin and praised the entire team, few of them who are there since last 28 years or so!

The celebratory menu included traditional thirst quenchers like Neer Moru, Para Saaru, starters like Nandu Puttu, Meen Moilee, main courses like Theeyal, Appam, Kal dosai, Veechu Parotta, vegetarian and non-vegetarian thali meals and desserts like elaneer payasam, Basundi etc. There were also be special cocktails and mocktails which drew inspiration from the flavours of South India.

The thalis which are being curated in honor of the 30th anniversary are attractively priced at INR 1999 plus taxes for a vegetarian thali and INR 2499 plus taxes for a non-vegetarian thali available for both lunch and dinner.

Dakshin serves vegetarian and non – vegetarian South Indian cuisine which is served only with the best alcoholic beverages. Dakshin is also known for its succulent and delicious sea food. The food at Dakshin is served on a traditional banana leaf to give their guests a wholesome traditional experience.

The USP of Dakshin is the Iyer’s  Trolley, a selection of South Indian Tiffin or snack time food items  which have been adapted for fine dining, as is the Filter Kapi which is served in silver tumblers and hand tossed for you by the staff. The ambience, authentic cuisine, personalized service and traditional instrumental music make up for a complete gastronomic experience appealing all your six senses.

ACT Fibernet (Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd.) India’s largest fiber-focused broadband provider, launched its first consumer product ‘ACT Stream TV 4K’ device powered by Android in India. As part of the new brand strategy towards offering innovative customer centric solutions to enhance user experience, the streaming device will provide a 360 spin to all entertainment needs of a consumer.

Key Features and Offerings

ACT Stream TV 4K is a one stop entertainment solution for customers where they can enjoy their favourite movies, TV shows, sports, music videos from existing on-demand streaming providers and TV channels. Powered with ACT Fibernet’s high speed fibernet connectivity ACT Stream TV 4K has the capacity to transform a living space into a full-fledged entertainment zone.

Some key features of the box include,

4K device with Dolby Passthrough – Future ready to enable users experience their favourite content in its fullest.
ACT Stream TV 4K will allow streaming content from popular apps such as Netflix, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Hooq, Zee5, YouTube, Sun NxT and from 3000+ apps available on Google Play Store. Customers can also watch over 100 of their favourite Free to air TV channels.

Single click subscription: Customers can subscribe to premium content from existing OTT streaming partners and channels that have tied up with ACT Fibernet and pay for their subscription directly as part of their monthly bill.

Catch up TV: Customers can catch up on their favourite TV shows, matches and highlights for upto 24 hours.
Powered by Android 9 Pie: Brings the power of the latest Android Pie operating system with access to over 3000 TV apps in the Google Play Store.

Voice search powered by the Google Assistant: Easy to search desired content and control device with voice commands powered by the Google Assistant.

External devices: Allows to connect hard disk, USB, joysticks, camera to view family pictures, video chat with friends or play games and more.

Compact and Sleek Design

Combined with latest technology and design, the box has been customized to make it intuitive and user friendly. The device is supported with a remote-control unit which can be used to operate the box. The remote has an ergonomic design with minimalistic keys making it extremely easy to use and helps users launch their favourite apps from any screen they are in.

Price, Availability and Offers

The ACT Stream TV 4K box is priced at INR 4499. It will be available with select plans and for purchase post commercial launch in May 2019. Customers can visit www.actcorp.in/streamtv4k for purchase.

As an introductory offer, ACT Fibernet will provide the ACT StreamTV 4K complimentary to select 5000 customers. Additionally, customers will get a bundle of other exclusive offers including, discounted rates on the VOD apps, extended trial periods on content apps, free access to pay-per-view content, download apps from Google Play store and more.

About ACT Fibernet

ACT Fibernet is India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP as on September 30, 2017 (in terms of number of fiber broadband internet subscribers from residential homes) (Source: India Broadband Market Overview – 2017 dated February 19, 2018, prepared by Media Partners Asia). Headquartered in Bangalore, ACT Fibernet has operations in 15 Indian cities as on December 31, 2017 with approximately 1.4 million customers.

Continuing its work with the feedback from Indian consumers, Asus has become aggressive with the price and specifications with Zenfone Max Pro M2 that feels bigger with thinner bezels, a notch and a chin at the bottom.

First Impressions

Design & Display

The 15.9 cm (6.26) FHD+ Full View display of this smartphone is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. Its rear panel is 3D glass-like with a wave design giving it a premium feel. The compact Notch panel makes the most of the space by accommodating an LED Proximity Sensor, an Ambient Light Sensor, a surprise Soft LED Flash, an Earpiece, a Notification LED and a front camera.

Asus is offering Zenfone Max Pro M2 with a shiny exterior with distinguishing colors of blue and Titanium that is easy to hold thanks to its curved sides. A laminated back and glossy finish quickly picks up smudges during daily use.

I had to stretch a bit to access the power and volume buttons located on the right side. , Adding an extra bit to the convenience, Max Pro M2 can accommodate 2 SIM cards and a microSD card. Each of the SIM slots support 4G VoLTE for fast connectivity.

Security

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 offers Facial Recognition and a Fingerprint Sensor for unlocking the phone. Both these options turn on the phone is seconds which is very convenient.

Camera

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 houses two cameras in the back, a 12-megapixel primary lens and a 5-megapixel depth-sensor. The aperture of the primary lens is f/1.8 providing a pixel size of 1.25 microns. The Depth, set through the 5-megapixel secondary lens allows enough light for great daylight shoots. However, it suffers under low light as photos are grainy with enough noise levels. Quick settings provide a dedicated night mode but with no improvement to the overall quality of the images or videos.

A manual intervention is required to adjust the quality and not meant for Insta Shutterbugs like me. I prefer the automatic settings to adjust depth blur. The selfie flashlight is a welcome addition for capturing some great photos. Camera is perhaps the achilles heel for the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2.

Performance

Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 system-on-chip (SoC) and Android Oreo 8.1 out of the box, the mobile phone is free from bloatware. With the Android Pie update expected any day, the phone’s performance will receive an additional boost.I love the UI, smooth with no lag or slowdowns. I could open multiple apps in the background without a need to close any one of them thanks to its RAM optimisation at software levels. All of my day-to-day activities like browsing the internet, video binge watching, Social media updates, messaging and calling were seamless. The phone is kind to Google Maps, gaming apps, video editing tools, video recording and playback. 5,000 mAh battery lasted for two days and Charging time is two hours.

Dhempe’s recommendation 

Priced between 9,999 to 13,999 Asus Zenphone Max M2 is powerful and competitive. The 5-magnet NXP speaker and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection makes the mobile experience seamless and secure.

Announcing the arrival of Rishi, the pioneering Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) based Enterprise Project / Business Intelligence (EPI) solution. Rishi helps managers predict business outcomes, prepare for the next course of action, and help their organizations perform to their potential.

At the RISHI-XAI launch in Bengaluru, on 6th March 2019, A.V.Sridhar (CEO & Co-founder of Digité Inc) said – “one of the fundamental problems of adopting AI/ML at scale is that the current generation of black box AI products do a very poor job of explaining results to the end user. Keeping that in mind, we have built RISHI with eXplainable AI (XAI) capabilities to effectively drive AI adoption within the enterprise. RISHI XAI will help enterprises not only to dig into the data, but also to predict the way the project could do in the future”.

Mr. Sridhar added “All along the data was actually really giving you information about what is already happened. AI helps in term of talking about the future. XAI not only talks about the future, but it also able to give different scenarios which you can actually tweak and control as to how the project will perform and what all action you can take to really get the project back on track in the future.”

Mr. Sridhar was accompanied by his leadership team – Mahesh Singh (Sr. Vice President, Head of Marketing and Parameshwaran.C.R. (Sr.Director).

RISHI’s unique features include:

  • Handcrafted knowledge system
  • Domain specific ML models
  • Role based What-if analysis
  • Chat Bots

RISHI transforms your organization by providing a smart way to manage programs, introducing granular program management and driving project decision making with the XAI engine.

Rishi is brought to you by Digité Inc, the global leader that has been the trusted partner for the world’s top IT services companies. Rishi is a combination of Digité’s 18+ years of domain experience combined with bleeding edge Data Science Technology in one package. This product will bring a massive change in the Enterprise Project/Business Intelligence world.

For further details, visit www.digite.com / contact [email protected]

ACT Fibernet, India’s largest fiber broadband ISP (Internet Service Provider) recently launched its new brand identity with the unveiling of the logo and tagline ‘Feel the Advantage.’ The rebranding initiative is a strategic component of ACT Fibernet to becoming the most admired in-home entertainment and interactive internet services provider in India.

The new logo represents the brands’ ethos – Sharp, futuristic, innovative, exciting, creative and modern. The tagline, ‘Feel the Advantage,’ is simple, but a powerful expression of the brand’s mission, values, and commitment.

In 2019, ACT Fibernet will expand its products, service offerings and partnerships across various categories, namely – ACT Advantage Entertainment, ACT Advantage Gaming, ACT Advantage Speed, ACT Advantage Service, ACT Advantage Smart Cities, and ACT Advantage community.
As part of the activity, ACT Fibernet will partner with content partners like ZEE5 and SonyLIV, among others, to strengthen its content offerings. Increasing its focus on the gaming industry, the ISP is working with popular gaming cafes, gaming OEMs and gaming publishers to provide the highest quality gaming experience to users.

Within the next six months, ACT Fibernet plans to launch its broadband services in multiple cities across North and West India, thereby expanding its footprint in the country. ACT Fibernet will also be launching a 24×7 call center and a unified call center number to address customers’ queries in real time.

In support to the Government’s mission towards building a digital India and smart cities mission, ACT Fibernet aims to complete 5,000+ wi-fi hotspots across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, and others. Further, ACT Fibernet is jointly working with the Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments to enable free wi-fi connectivity in public libraries and schools.

Speaking on the occasion, Bala Malladi, CEO, Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd, the parent company of ACT Fibernet, said, “We have always believed in providing our customers the best solutions through our products and services. Today, consumer needs and usage behaviour is continuously evolving. Newer technologies are constantly being adopted and becoming mass-scale by the day, be it streaming or gaming or smart homes. It is, therefore, our responsibility to work in conjunction with the rapidly evolving customer’s expectations and find feasible ways to serve them. We strongly believe that our new brand identity reflects this value and commitment we have towards our customers.”

“Moving forward, we will be launching new products and services that our consumers desire. We are confident that with our pioneering fibernet connection, hyper-fast speeds, new offerings and industry’s best customer service in place, we will successfully transform our customers’ experience enabling them to do and accomplish more. With ACT, you can feel the Advantage,” he added.

Event Name: Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018

When: 28 November – 16 December 2018

Where: Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Competing teams: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain

Event & Ticketing partners : DNA Networks, Ticketgenie Solutions Pvt Ltd

The 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup was the 14th edition of the Hockey World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men’s national field hockey teams organized by the FIH. It was held from 28 November to 16 December 2018, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. The inauguration ceremony which was held on 27 November 2018, witnessed the biggest ever drone flying show in India. I was privileged to be a part of it!

Belgium won the tournament for the first time after defeating the Netherlands 3–2 in the final on a penalty shoot-out after a 0–0 draw. Defending champions Australia won the third place match by defeating England 8–1.

Ticketing services for the games was managed by Ticketgenie. Ticketgenie has earlier managed Hero Honda Hockey World Cup New Delhi 2010, Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men Lucknow 2016 which India won, and Hero Champions Trophy Bhubaneswar 2014.

One of the main partners of the event was DNA Entertainment Networks Private Limited, which is a pioneering & prestigious international event management company based in Bangalore, India. DNA combines the excitement and rush of a live event with impressive business and logistical efficiency to produce stronger and better results for all its corporate partners.

DNA Entertainment Networks has been the League Partner for Hockey India and the Hockey India League since its inception in 2013. Apart from conceptualizing Match Entertainment activities, branding and hospitality for various international tournaments for Hockey India such as the 2010 Hockey World Cup in Delhi, various World Series tournaments and the Champions Trophy in 2014, DNA overlooked Sportainment and logistics for all editions of the Hockey India League. This included organizing the Opening & Closing Ceremonies and the Players’ Auction, providing accreditation services, League management for all 6 venues and sponsorship management from the third edition on wards. DNA has also managed the stadium for the Ranchi Rhinos and the Kalinga Lancers and currently undertakes Venue Management for the Delhi Wave Riders and the Jaypee Punjab Warriors.

Head-quartered in Bangalore, DNA Entertainment Networks has a pan-India presence with branches in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata & New Delhi.

Tickets for the semifinal, finals, and bronze-medal matches were made available online from September 14th on www.ticketgenie.in, and, due to very high demand, had been restricted to two tickets per head. Ticketgenie which is owned by DNA Networks, is the no.1 sports ticketing website in India.

Ticketgenie as you know provides seamless ticketing solutions for Organisers and Customers through a vibrant e-commerce and retail network. They have managed ticket sales and redemption for marquee music events featuring artists such as: Rolling Stones, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Roger Waters, Sir Elton John, Yanni at the Taj Mahal,Bryan Adams, Ricky Martin, Sting, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Metallica, Slayer and Santana, among others!

In a complex logistic environment in which cricket is played in India, Ticketgenie has provided Online Sales, Validation and Retail Sales of tickets at multiple stadiums across the country for over 10 Million customers till date. This covers the Indian Premier League, Champions League T20, Cricket One Day Internationals, Cricket T20 Internationals and Cricket Test matches for various State Cricket Associations on an annual basis.

Diversifying within Sports arena, Ticket Genie provided services for Hockey International matches as well as Hero Hockey India League, Extreme Sports, India Badminton League, Tennis and Basketball. They ensures that all their customers have a safe and secure system for purchasing tickets. All transactions are processed on their Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certified Payment Gateway.

India Cloud Summit is the one place to explore new ideas & learn from industry experts. Join us for the event that brings together technologists, executives, customers, partners & key decision makers from all industries.

Whether you are new to the cloud or an experienced user, India Cloud Summit will be an inspiration to you & will provide technical knowledge for your cloud journey. They have put together a mix of thought leaders & industry experts to cover topics like Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML), Alexa, IoT, Migration, Big Data and Cloud Architecture best practices.

The purpose of the summit is to network, share ideas and have meaningful conversations about how others are implementing Cloud in their organizations, Cloud migration, Devops and more.

Key Speakers: Julien Simon, Global Technical Evangelist AI/ML, Amazon Web Services; Sudhir Rawat, Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft; Santosh Shanbhag, Enterprise Solutions Architect, Fidelity Investments and more

Registrations are open for the ‘India Cloud Summit 2019’, an event that intends to bring together executives, technologists, partners, customers, and key decision makers from all industries on the 15th February 2019 in Bangalore. This event has been organised by KnowledgeHut, a leader in the learning industry.

The India Cloud Summit intends to inspire and add more to the technical knowledge of new cloud professionals as well as experienced users through a series of power-packed sessions. The purpose of this summit is to exchange ideas, network, and have a meaningful conversation about how others are implementing Cloud in their organisations, Cloud migration, DevOps, and more.

If you register with our code DHEMPE, you get a whopping 45% discount on the India Cloud Summit ticket! Go ahead and register soon and don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity!

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