A mountain home turned boutique hotel perched in the breathtakingly beautiful environs of Binsar, Uttarakhand, the Mary Budden Estate is sprawled over 5 acres of pristine forests of the Himalayas. Far yet accessible (and worth every minute for its visceral experience) it offers visitors a natural habitat away from the mania of the metropolises. It enables you to make deeper connections with the self while you disconnect from the daily hustle.
Bought in 1899 by Ms. Mary Budden and converted into a school for orphans the estate was inoperable until almost 100 years later Serena Chopra acquired the property. Chopra, a writer and photographer based in New Delhi transcended it into her home away from home. The vintage furniture, a majority of which is made of wood or stone and logwood fireplaces render the place uber charming. The cobbled sit-outs and patios provide unparalleled views of mother nature. Visitors can snuggle up with a warm soaking the warmth of the logwood fireplaces (and hospitality, needless to say).
Guests can take their choice of accommodation from a lodge (for 2) to a cottage (for 6).
The Mary Budden Cottage carries the name and the legacy of a 19th-century British lady who sought to live in this enchanting niche. In its clever restoration, the cottage features three luxury en-suite rooms with spacious dining and drawing rooms.
The Estate’s Lodge is a contemporary take on the colonial cottage. It offers three separate en-suite rooms with two separate dining and sitting areas all equipped with fireplaces. Basked in sunlight, these rooms offer magnificent vista points.
An all-day dining space with al-fresco seating in the outdoors offers majestic views of the encompassing forests and mountains. You are bound to meet fellow guests and storytellers. The tip of the iceberg is the handsome pahadi dogs. Named after the lady who restored the state, Serena’s garden is bursting with sunlight, cheery just like her persona.
Dinner is served to you under the canopy of a starry sky. It is Nature in its rawest and best. Banter, bonfires, and beauty are what the dinner at Mary Budden Estate features. For visitors who wish to go a few notches up on their high-on-Himalayan state, b.y.o.b is recommended as alcohol is not sold at the estate.
Whether it’s their commitment to sustainable living (they use only rain harvested water) or their usage of organic cleaning agents the Mary Budden experience is an all-encompassing one. Terminating a tiring expedition in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary to coming home to one’s own sanctuary at the Mary Budden Estate nestled in all its glory. At sundown, sprawling into the garden listening to fellow travellers unfurling stories of myths and legends (while you sip your own-brought tipple). Mary Budden Estate is the quintessential quiet yet stimulating experience. And it compels you to come back for more.
HOW TO GET THERE
Shatabdi from New Delhi to Kathgodam. From the Kathgodam train station to Mary Budden Estate takes 3.5 hours approximately.
Road tripping could take 10 to12 hours depending on traffic conditions or landslides.
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PLAN INDIA ORGANISING 4TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ‘PLAN FOR EVERY CHILD’
The 4th national conference ‘Plan For Every Child’ – Build Back Better with Girls’ started on Tuesday at The Park Hotel in New Delhi.
The two-day conference, from December 07 to 08, 2021 brings together a series of power-packed discussions that aim at formalising clear action points to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19 on girls. Organised by Plan India, the conference would be attended by people from diverse backgrounds like jurists, government officials, media, civil society organisations, experts, and child rights practitioners from the national and international sphere to discuss the multifaceted agenda of inclusion, safety and equality for and with girls, in building a better India post the pandemic.
The inaugural session was attended by Sriram Haridass, Representative India and Country Director, Bhutan a.i., United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Dnyaneshwar Manohar Mulay, Member, National Human Rights (NHRC), Major General Manoj Kumar Bindal, Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and Rathi Vinay Jha, President, Plan India Governing Board and Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Hon’ble Justice Madan B. Lokur, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India will also join the conference to deliver the special address outlining the need for legal awareness and legal literacy for girls for building back better.
Commenting on Plan India’s commitment to girl-centered community development, Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan India said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has created many challenges and slowed down the pace of development and change that was being achieved through the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative. It is important that collaborative efforts for advancing education, nutrition, health, safety nets for all girls and women are undertaken with renewed vigour by government, civil society, and corporates. At the Plan for Every Child Conference, more than 30 eminent Speakers and experts would deliberate and resent the pathway to girl-centered community development in post-covid situation. They would focus on the solutions and safety nets for millions of girls, children and women with a vision to enable them to learn, lead, decide and thrive.” The two-day conference will facilitate multiple sessions, presentations, and discussions on addressing the barriers for girls and young women in getting access to; inclusive and quality education, health services, child development, and mental well-being, essential medicines, and vaccines, maternal and reproductive health care, food security and nutrition, especially in rural and marginalised communities.
The delegates would also deliberate on how communities, local NGOs, institutions, corporates, and the state could put girls first and develop integrated approaches towards eliminating gender-based violence in all its forms. Plan India would follow up on the recommendations from the conference with policymakers, corporates, and other stakeholders on enabling innovations and new approaches for scale and impact.
Plan India has been successfully organising ‘Plan for Every Child (P4EC) National Conference’ since 2016 with Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India. These national conferences brought in rich and varied perspectives on prevention, system strengthening, safeguarding children, equality for girls and provided recommendations on the priorities and opportunities for the advancement of girls’ rights. In its first year, deliberations from the conference founded the 2016 India Declaration – a commitment by 500 NGOs across 32 states and union territories along with key stakeholders in government, media, and subject matter experts, to protect and uphold the rights of the child. Following this we examined the interface of inclusion, access, and opportunities for girls in the 2017 conference by bringing to the platform, important deliberations regarding solutions and best practices for challenges faced by girls.
Solethreads introduces India’s first-ever: The Solester REUSE Programme
Solethreads, the digital-first, innovation-led, comfort footwear specialist, has launched India’s first-ever and one of its kind product recycling and reuse initiative, ‘The Solester REUSE Programme’ – that aims at sourcing sustainable materials and encouraging the upcycling process.
With this, the brand reinstates and further strengthens its ethical credentials based on the three pillars of Comfort, Innovation and Sustainability that the brand is built upon. Solethreads establishes and promotes circular fashion through The Solester REUSE Programme. This initiative allows anyone to exchange their flip flops and slippers, for reward points, which can be used to purchase the brand’s products. The footwear that the company receives through this initiative is in turn recycled and used to create new Solethreads eco-friendly flip flops.
Solethreads is known for its best flip flops with trailblazing patents and technologies such as proprietary and patented ultra-comfortable SuperFoam™ footbeds made from recycled EVA products. That’s not all. The leading flip flop brand also goes one step further in its efforts to offset its carbon footprint through durable, skid-resistant ECOTREAD™ soles made using recycled rubber.
Any part of the product that isn’t reclaimed or recycled, is 100 percent vegan, which has been sustainably sourced as well. The brand is now using its expertise to ensure these sustainable and innovative processes are being utilised for The Solester REUSE program.
Speaking on The Solester REUSE Programme, Gaurav Chopra, Co-founder said, “With over 30 patents and counting, we lead innovation in the open footwear segment and take active steps in ensuring that all our products are either recycled, reclaimed or vegan; so that we can reduce our carbon footprint and work towards a sustainable tomorrow, today. As a part of this program, we also ensure to donate some items to relevant institutions and foundations, so that they can reuse them.”
Recently, the brand also raised INR 2.5 crores in venture debt funding from Alteria Capital in order to broaden its research and development, product portfolio and to meet the growing demand for the best flip flops in the country.
“With over 5,00,000 customers that are celebrating the joy of walking with Solethreads, we’ve grown into a much-loved and the most comfortable flip-flops brand. This exciting partnership with Alteria Capital will support us in widening our pipeline of sustainable innovation to reach out to a broader base of customers and provide the best flip flops to the consumer,” as per Sumant Kakaria, the CEO and co-founder.
According to Vivek Pillai, Principal, Alteria Capital, “Solethreads’ focus on comfort led by innovation and sustainability has struck a chord with the modern Indian consumer. We have closely watched them scale in a short span of time, and are excited to now partner with the team in building the next big challenger brand in the category.”
Early this year, Solethreads raised Rs 13 crore in Series-A round funding from DSG Consumer Partners and Saama Capital. As the digital-first consumer brand one can buy slippers online and the best sliders for men and women through Solethreads’ D2C website, at all leading e-commerce platforms, including Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart, and offline retail outlets (MBOs and leading footwear stores such as Metro Shoes).
LYNKEY TO TOKENISE PROPERTY, RESORT DESTINATIONS WORTH $8 BN ON BLOCKCHAIN
Global platform LynKey, which powers luxury resort and vacation property with blockchain and AI technology, on Tuesday announced a project for tokenising and offering NFT solutions of over $8 billion dollars for travel and tourism using smart contracts.
LynKey will digitise luxury resorts and properties at multiple destinations, offering them over its blockchain-powered token marketplace and ecosystem, seeking to tokenise all aspects of property development — purchases, leases, land use, and related tourism entertainment — in an international blockchain-powered ecosystem to connect the people around the world with the best of property technology and premium experiences from resorts and cruises with NFTs.
“Using NFTs with AI data-driven protocol sets, the company is revolutionising the travel destination and entertainment space with smart tourism. LynKey connects the global audience with a blockchain-powered platform and a token that empowers an ecosystem with time-sharing, and reward solutions at premium luxury tourist spots”, said Dinis Guarda, founder and non-executive Chairman of LynKey.
Guarda, who is also the creator of platforms ‘citiesabc.com’, and ‘openbusinesscouncil.org’ has been collaborating with universities including Oxford, added, “By bringing the power of blockchain and NFT technology to the tourism and property industry, and even going forward by creating a related metaverse, we bring comprehensive digital solutions to see the travel and property world in a secure, innovative, rewarding, and trustworthy space”.
Cindy Tran, Co-Founder, and Chairwoman of LynKey said despite globalisation, challenges in the tourism and travel industry persist and that blockchain and NFT technology can address and resolve these issues. “Most global travelers or property buyers have to deal with local currencies, lack of transparency in buying or leasing property and timeshares, and losing money to high exchange fees or worse. Furthermore, travelers cannot personalise their travel experiences, modify, sell, or cancel their ‘trips’. Planning to travel or searching to lease property may be digital, but the rest of the process certainly is far from seamless or perfect with conventional models of tourism and travel. A consolidated marketplace and token solution will solve many of these issues,” she said.
With global tourism forecast to reach a $1.3 trillion mark by the end of 2021, LynKey seeks to target issues like non-transparency, unreliability plaguing the travel industry. Currently, the non-digital format of the current property leasing, licensing, and time-sharing is time-consuming and easily flawed. Additionally, there are often liquidity issues with respect to the global property market, which sometimes leads to price gouging and high costs.
A FESTIVAL THAT BECAME THE TALK OF THE TOWN – THE SHILLONG CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Believe me, the craze was all real. The festival has stirred the crowd of the state and beyond for the entire month of November, with the season of blossoms that sprinkled the city in pink. It was branded as the ‘Most Happening Festival of Shillong’ which was awaited by all.
The announcement already had the people talking with its dashing and appealing performer line-ups that most people would never imagine seeing live from the Local YouTube sensations like Jessie Lyngdoh, DJ Wanshan, Shane, DJ Zethan, Rum and Monkeys, B4NSHAN, Lily Sawian to international artists such as PYRA, CNR Mafia, DJ Mari Ferrari and PIXY. The festival kickstarted from November 25 to November 27 with programmes divided between Literary fest at Wards Lake and Polo grounds of the same festival. It got a lot of press for confusion between the two venues but well as they say ‘Any kind of negative publicity is still publicity’, the most anticipated festival became the talk of the town among the localities as well as the rest of the country.
But I would say the festival was rather a ‘Big Hit’ with obvious small hurdles along the way but this was one of the first major festivals in the city so maybe let’s loosen up a little and give the organisers Rockski EMG a pat on their back for pulling off such a package of entertainment to our ‘Sleepy Town’ within a span of one month with their international standard of production and lineup of 4 International Artists amidst travel restrictions.
The performers’ line-up was pretty impressive for a festival in a small town, artists came to perform from the UAE, Portugal, Thailand and Korea. Even though the highlighted acts were that of international artists I would say the spotlight was rather taken by our homegrown local talents. They put up some good performances given the fact that most of them had their debut stage performances at the festival. The festival grounds had an undeniable amount of synergy between the crowd and the performers that were magical to watch. “Having the crowd sing along to our songs word by word is success for us” Says Jessie Lyngdoh, one of Shillong’s upcoming Pop Stars.
Various other competitions provided platforms to the youths to showcase their talents, as well as major designers such as Arif Mukhim, Tatyana Momin, and well-known models like Zuchobeni Tungoe, Marjorie Noreen Dunai from the Northeast, who were also part of the show.
Many had their eyes on the Local Wine and Beer Making competitions and Korean/Japanese food competitions as the voting were done by people’s choice. The festival also had various stalls ranging from food, handmade products, local products, and art that were available for attendees to buy from. The food stalls at the festival were at a different game of their own, it was a food paradise for meat-eaters and to those open to trying new things as it had a various range of food from traditional to Japanese.
The people who attended the festival ranged from locals to people travelling from around the country just to be part of it. I spoke to a couple of tourists who travelled specially to attend the festival and they said ‘I couldn’t believe something like this happens in Shillong’ and they couldn’t believe that the people of Shillong were so civilised, and that is true the crowd were amazing but just because of some we are again branded as the ‘always aggressive crowd’.
This festival had me wondering about the kind of news and media we consume in the state, the biggest event was not even broadcasted once on any local channels and a small incident at the entry was depicted as almost an act of terrorism.
The Shillong Cherry Blossom 2021 was undeniably a successful festival and the flock of the crowd who attended the festival says it all. I am really glad something as huge as this festival happened at our home grounds, hoping this would ignite more festivals with more platforms for local talents.
MediaTek to enhance India’s 5G prospects in 2022: From mainstream to flagship
MediaTek, the world’s leading fabless semiconductor company powering nearly 2 billion connected devices a year, reiterated its commitment to powering disruptive technologies, R&D capabilities and opportunities for expanding India’s footprint in the coming year.
The company is upbeat on 5G prospects in 2022 and looks at expanding its portfolio in India with a comprehensive range of mainstream, premium and flagship products. This was announced on the sidelines of the 9th edition of MediaTek Technology Diaries- “Unlocking the Future”, focused on the latest technology trends from MediaTek and the smartphones/smart devices market in India. “We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. Our journey has been sustained, and we have grown consistently in size and revenue. 2021 is significant for us as we have, with the launch of the MediaTek Dimensity 9000, covered the entire spectrum from flagship to the mainstream. This year has also been a significant one in terms of our expansion and scaling efforts. We have been hiring extensively and are ramping up capabilities across our facilities in India,” said Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India. “For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country’s technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs.”
The event witnessed engaging interactions around current topics including:
5G – MediaTek’s plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips. In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world. Packing the best, most advanced technology and features on the planet, the Dimensity 9000 is super powerful yet super power-efficient in a 4nm package, ensuring superior 5G speeds and next-gen gaming technology, professional-grade imaging, videography, advanced AI and computing architecture.
Incredible In. Incredible Out – MediaTek’s focus on customer interactions and experiences was also discussed along with the ongoing campaign “Incredible In. Incredible Out”, what we put into our Dimensity 5G chips, shapes the incredible experiences you get out of it, be it incredible 5G connectivity, photography, Video Streaming and industry-leading gaming experiences
Smart Devices – Keen on designing innovative solutions for new age requirements, MediaTek remains a market leader in digital TVs, voice assistant devices, Wi-Fi routers and other smart home products with a portfolio that caters to a wide range of customers across smartphones, smart homes, automotive, IoT and home/enterprise connectivity segment.
R&D – Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture provides closer-to-metal access on the Dimensity 1200 chipset for brands to tailor smartphone features like AI, multimedia and camera, hybrid multiprocessing and connectivity, giving device makers access to customised consumer experiences.
MediaTek presented the attendees with details on its host of new global launches this year, including the Filogic models for Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, the world’s first 7-nanometer 8K digital TV flagship system-on-chip (SoC), the MediaTek Pentonic 2000, and the MediaTek Dimensity 9000.
“This is for the first time in any tech transition in India that a strong device ecosystem will precede the commercial launch of services. By the time we have official 5G services kicking in, India might already have over 50 million active 5G devices,” said Tarun Pathak, Research Director, Counterpoint Research.
Sharing key highlights from the ‘The Connected Indian – 2021’ Report, Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Chief Analyst Techarc said, “With a rapidly changing lifestyle powered by technology, consumers are reinforcing their focus on ‘smartisation’ by shifting towards smart devices ecosystem which includes personal use gadgets, devices for home and office automation. Processors continue to be key enablers in terms of main components which define the features and functions of these smart devices.”
The Technology Diaries series is an interactive, informative series aimed at demystifying the newest technologies that are transforming our daily lives. This is in tune with MediaTek’s philosophy of making great technology available to everyone so we can all connect more easily to the things that shape our everyday lives, enhance and enrich it, make us smarter and healthier.
MediaTek Incorporated is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables nearly 2 billion connected devices a year. We are a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile devices, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables.
MediaTek empowers and inspires people to expand their horizons and achieve their goals through smart technology, more easily and efficiently than ever before. We work with the brands you love to make great technology accessible to everyone, and it drives everything we do.
JOURNEY OF HOUSE OF ROHET BEGAN AS AN EXPERIMENT INTO HOSPITALITY: AVIJIT SINGH ROHET
In this exclusive interview with us on NewsX India A-List, Avijit Singh Rohet shared his journey in hotel management, vision for House Of Rohet and the heritage of his forefathers and much more.
Avijit Singh Rohet, Director, House Of Rohet, joined us for a detailed conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive interview, Avijit shared his journey in hotel management, vision for House Of Rohet and the heritage of his forefathers. Excerpts:
Speaking about the journey of House Of Rohet, Avijit said, “The journey of House Of Rohet began as an experiment into hospitality by my grandparents and my parents, way back in 1990. It has been a journey since then. We converted our ancestral home, which is Rohet Garh, currently one of the first heritage hotels of the country, back in 1990 as an experiment. From there, our journey kind of snowballed on. We have a small bouquet of four properties now, all offering experiential experiences to our travellers, a completely different take on what you would find in your regular city 5-star hotels. That is what our USP is, offering scratch beneath the surface if you will, into Western Rajasthan.”
Talking about the different properties under the umbrella of House Of Rohet and what makes each one of them special, he said, “Our first property is Rohet Garh, which is a heritage hotel and is our ancestral home. It has been our family home since 1622, so I am the 15th generation of my family to be living here. Lots of histories in these walls and we have been very conscious not to change any of the old structures. Everything we have been done repurposed for the hotel, has been done in the old building. It’s been a challenge to do so. It is not easy at all but it has been an experience. Today, Rohet Garh stands the testament of what heritage hotels can become and what value old buildings hold in today’s India. Our second property is Mir Garh, which really is the jewel in our crown. It’s a 9 suite only luxury bouquet property built on top of a sand dune, literally in the middle of nowhere. It is about 20 km west of the village of Rohet, just toward the sunset. You don’t find population in 2 km radius. Over there, really is the homage of art and craft of rural Rajasthan. We were very conscious while creating Mir Garh to use only and only local artists, local craftsmen and sourced everything that we put into the property only from in and around the city of Jodhpur. It’s a testament to the art and craftsmanship of the area.”
“Our third property is a more rustic experience, which is our wilderness camp. Rohet Wilderness Camp is again a small boutique camp but a very rugged experience. Again, very different from the kind of palatial royal feel of Rohet Garh and the uber-luxury experience of Mir Garh. The camp is entirely eco-friendly. All the walls and floors are plastered with cow dung and clay and done by hand every year by the local village women. It is entirely powered by solar. It is more of an outdoor experience for those who like to be part of one with the wilderness, enjoy the birds in the morning and see wildlife outside their tents. Our newest property is the Rohet House in Jodhpur, which we opened just pre-pandemic. That is kind of an urban take on the art and craft of Rajasthan. It is a chique city villa, done up in a traditional way yet keeping it with the times. It is like a contemporary take on Rajasthani art. All the walls in the Rohet House are handpainted by local artists. They have really created masterpieces on the walls.”
“Our first property in Rohet Garh was a heritage hotel and it is our ancestral home. It has also been our family home since 1622.”
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