A frequent traveler gets to see the mood of a city at all hours of the day. It not just profiles the city but also helps to understand and come to grips with it. Commuting on the road leading to the station, you can easily make out that it is time for the Shatabdi to leave, going by the number of cars on the road.
The same is not the case at night when say the Kalka Express departs. At the Sector-17 bus stand, the buzz starts in the early hours of the day with buses leaving for their destinations—both inside the city and outside. It is not like this late into the night as the place falls silent but there is life all around it with many tea stalls and eating joints catering to passengers waiting for the daybreak or students out on a nocturnal foray.
Amid all this, the Tribune Chowk serves as a constant, where you can always be a traveler, boarding a bus leaving for your destination. The place is the city’s pulsating artery linking it with the outside world. The Sector-43 bus stand has served to decongest the city and caters to buses leaving for different destinations, also providing in the process a glimpse into the cultural mélange that a city is.
At the Jaipur railway station once, a lady constable was trying to control a queue of passengers trying to board a train, “Arre Bandra, Arre Worli..” To the uninitiated, it was obvious that the train was leaving for Bombay. The same holds true for Chandigarh. The accent and the physical appearance of the drivers and conductors is a moniker more than the name of the state roadways written on the buses. For long, used to traveling in PRTC and PUNBUS buses, used to watching humorous Punjabi films on board, the change in accent is quite discernible when you are on a bus belonging to the other state roadways. “Bhai, Gadi main bath JA,” the conductor says and you know it is the Haryana Roadways. The dilemma for me is that despite being from a Hindi-speaking state, I find returning to it quite a challenge after the long sojourn in this part of the country. It sounds so familiar and so comforting, and yet it sounds so very unusual. Earlier, whenever my train would cross Jakhal and enter Punjab, my heart would sink at the linguistic and cultural dissimilarity. Over the years, it has become the new normal, so much so that once in Haridwar, undecided on where to eat, I headed for a Punjabi eatery because I knew what would be on the platter. Not just this, long back once in Hyderabad, I found a Punjabi eating joint near the railway station. It was not just about culture but more about, “When in doubt, seek it out.” In Delhi, the rush of people from the eastern states is all too visible. Culture is the basic building block on which rests our identity. But there should be no ethnocentric approach but more like what Gandhi said about preventing cultural isolation—not to let the house be walled on all sides and windows to be stuffed. Culture of all lands should blow about the house freely.”
As Online Travel has caught the fancy of the internet savvy travelers the online travel market is booming. No wonder that the online Travel is one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide. India is also not left behind in this race as according to industry Pundits, Online Travel Market in India would be worth around US $ 6 Billion.
As a logical extension to such buoyancy, Travel Guides have shown a steady rising to move online and in the process fulfilling the needs of the niche readers. Both traditional print brands, as well as purely cyber entities, are slogging it out to grab the attention of this niche segment. The publishers of print brands after their initial reluctance have also started embracing the web and publish all their content online.
Let’s take a look at what the Travel Guides offer. Travel guides have become a necessary tool for anyone who is thinking of vacation. A Travel Guide is full of helpful advice, precise information, good ideas, etc besides being well-written, well laid out as well indexed.
These City centric guides provide information on all aspects of travel. You can get good information on How to Reach, Attractions, Excursions, festivals, History along with the various kinds of accommodations available like lodges, hotels, resorts and the bed-and-breakfasts. Convenient maps make it easy for the newcomers to exactly pinpoint any destination.
An ideal Travel guide should also briefly outline the recreational activities coupled with more mundane activities of life that can be done in a particular city. Another important aspect that is generally missed out is the public transport of the cities where a traveler lands up. A genuine Travel Guide is also supposed to give precise information about the state of public transport highlighting bus routes, Cabs and Auto fares.
Another important aspect of a City Guide is to have a semblance of balanced information. This is important because travel can be both for as well as business.
Pros and cons of Online Travel Guides
More and more people are into researching the internet, as a result, the Online Travel Guides have become quite popular as compared to their print counterparts. However, both the two brands have their own set of advantages and limitations.
Online Destination Guides are successful in tapping user-generated reviews and provide the added advantage of E-Commerce options. So surf the web pages of the guide and book flights, hotels and other arrangements at one go directly through the site. Another great feature of the Online Guides is that there is ample scope for value addition. For example Indian railway has planned a new train to connect Amritsar to Kasargod. This information can be easily updated in the Guide for the travelers to see.