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May 19, 2011

 NEW DELHI: Travellers have found Delhi hotels to be the dirtiest in the country. A survey by travel website TripAdvisor said three of the eight dirtiest hotels in India were located in Delhi.

The three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai — account for 80% of the dirtiest hotels in the 2011 Travellers Choice Hotel Awards.

TripAdvisor compiles a list of 'dirty' hotels and 'most recommended' hotels every year based on traveller reviews and follows it up with staff visits and videos to verify claims made by visitors.

TripAdvisor MD Sharat Dhall said, 'The travellers' choice awards offer travellers transparency of choice. If reviews were not credible, we would not have 3 million Indians visiting the site every month.

Of the top eight dirty hotels, three were in New Delhi, two in Maharashtra and one each in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.

Some of the blogs on the website for Delhi hotels said "no extra charge for cockroaches" and "stay only if you have no other alternative", criticizing the unsanitary conditions.

 
May 19, 2011

 Out of the 10 dirtiest hotels in Asia, four are in India, according to a survey conducted by India’s third largest travel website TripAdvisor LLC. Out of the eight dirtiest in India, five are located in Delhi.

TripAdvisor, which belongs to online travel firm Expedia Inc. and features hotel reviews, culled the ratings from a universe of around 14,000 hotels—budget to luxury properties.

Four-star Centaur Hotel, near Delhi’s new Terminal 3, has been voted the worst for three consecutive years, in Asia and India. The Centaur hotels are units of Hotel Corp. of India Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Air India Ltd. Mintcould not immediately contact Centaur hotel executives despite repeated efforts.

The other three Indian hotels on the Asia list are Namaskar Hotel, Hotel Metro Tower (both located in Delhi) and Raj Residency (in Chennai).

This is the third edition of the ranking by cleanliness (or lack thereof).

The ratings are not based on expert opinions or journalist reviews but solely on the experiences of millions of travellers from India and around the world, said Sharat Dhall, managing director, TripAdvisor India. The hotels hall of shame for 2010 includes properties in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Agra and Munnar. From broken fixtures, unclean beds and bugs, what travellers saw, smelled and experienced was unpleasant. Some of the terms used to describe their experience included “awful, pretty bad, the worst, not recommended, disgusting”.

Travellers are increasingly looking up online reviews before deciding on which hotel to book.

“These ratings are critical for me in taking a decision before booking a holiday,” said Rinosh John Mathew, managing director of RJ Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, a frequent traveller who runs a mobile accessories business.

“I don’t want to get disappointed after reaching my holiday destination. I browse through expert views and these kind of ratings online before booking,” said Mathew.

TripAdvisor’s Dhall said the collective opinions of millions of real travellers can help protect others from bug bites, lousy service, dirty sheets and damp rooms.

“The list is only intended to serve as a strong reminder to hotels that cleanliness is the least that travellers expect from their hotel rooms and surroundings,” said Dhall.

“These websites also give us a wide variety of affordable and decent holidaying options,” Mathew added.

However, Rajinder Kumar Budhiraja, director at Hotel Namaskar, shrugs off TripAdvisors’ ratings. “I am having 100% room occupancy. If my rooms are not clean, people will not flock here. We are a budget hotel with a room rent of Rs.400 and therefore we cannot offer a five-star service for that money,” Budhiraja said.

“If a window is broken, we will be changing that in two days time. But one cannot pinpoint that as a key point against us. Significantly, Lonely Planet has reviewed us and suggested us as good place to say in. Despite repeated attempts, we declined to put an advertisement in TripAdvisor, hence we are in the dirtiest list,” Budhiraja added.

TripAdvisor’s Dhall countered that argument. “The dirtiest hotels list is based purely on real traveller reviews and ratings on cleanliness, and thus determined by user-generated content. TripAdvisor is identifying these hotels being true to our promise to share the whole truth about hotels to help travellers plan their trips,” Dhall said.

Interestingly, there are only six hotels from the metropolitan cities in TripAdvisor’s survey for the top 25 Indian hotels. The majority of them are from the smaller towns such as Kodagu in Karnataka, Kumarakom in Kerala and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. For honeymoon stays, not a single metro city hotel was featured in the top 10 Indian hotel listing.

The 25 Indian hotels include Taj Lake Palace of Udaipur, Taj Rambagh Palace of Jaipur, the Oberoi Grand of Kolkata, the Oberoi Amarvilas of Agra, Taj Exotica in Goa, Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi, the Oberoi Udaivilas, Trident Hotel in Gurgaon, ITC Royal Gardenia in Bangalore, the Oberoi in Mumbai and Vivanta Taj at Kumarakom (Kerala).

“More and more non-metro hotels featuring in the top 25 hotel list is a reflection of a trend wherein people are looking for newer and exciting destinations,” Dhall said. “As Indians have started travelling more in a year, they are looking at more and more unique experiences in smaller and leisure destinations. Hence, properties that are offering unique things become favourites.”

 
 
May 19, 2011

 TripAdvisor unveiled the list of India’s Dirtiest Hotels in 2011, based on the reviews travellers. This is the sixth edition of the Dirtiest Hotels list worldwide and the third edition of India’s Dirtiest Hotels list.The Dirtiest Hotels are not based on expert opinions or journalist reviews but solely on the experiences of millions of travellers from India and around the world.

The hotels hall of shame for 2011 includes eight hotels in New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Agra and Munnar. Centaur Hotel IGI Airport , Hotel Namaskar in New Delhi and Raj Residency, Chennai are three hotels that have been featured in the list for two years in a row. Commenting on the list, Sharat Dhall, MD, TripAdvisor India said, “The list is only intended to serve as a strong reminder to hotels that cleanliness is the least that travellers expect from their hotel rooms and surroundings, and when hotels fall short of delivering it, travellers have platforms such as TripAdvisor where they can expose such hotels in front of a global audience.”

The Dirtiest Hotels in India:

  • Hotel Namaskar, New Delhi
  • Raj Residency, Chennai
  • Hotel Metro Tower, New Delhi
  • Centaur Hotel IGI Airport, New Delhi
  • Hotel Manama, Mumbai
  • Shanti Lodge, Agra
  • Hotel Unicontinental, Mumbai
  • Autumn Trees, Munnar.
 
May 19, 2011

 Travel and hotel reviews web site TripAdvisor seems to be on a scorching growth ride.

The popular web site is tooting the horn today that it currently lists 45 million reviews and opinions.

Apparently, 23 new contributions are posted every minute. Since October 2010, the site has added five million reviews and opinions.

As of March 2011, TripAdvisor is said to have 45 million reviews and opinions covering:

* 85,000 destinations

* 474,000 hotels

* 100,000 vacation rentals

* 135,000 attractions

* 675,000 restaurants

* 6 million traveler photos

To coincide with the rapid expansion in content, TripAdvisor has since 2010 launched in Argentina, Greece, Indonesia, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Norway, Poland, Taiwan and lately in Malaysia.

In all, TripAdvisor operates in 29 countries and is available in 20 languages.

 
May 19, 2011

 Millions of travellers give a thumbs down to eight Indian hotels, and New Delhi's Centaur Hotel located near the Indira Gandhi International Airport IGI Airport, has been voted the worst for three consecutive years not only in India, but also in Asia

According to TripAdvisor, the world's largest and most popular travel site, the other Indian hotels termed as the dirtiest include eight in all, and they are located in New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai Agra and Munnar.

Centaur Hotel (Delhi), Hotel Namaskar (Delhi) and Raj Residency (Chennai) are three hotels that have been featured in the list for two years in a row.

These three hotels along with Hotel Metro Tower (Delhi) have found pride of place in Asia's Top 10 dirtiest hotels this year.

A disappointed TripAdvisor member said: "I think it would have been better to spend the night at the airport rather than go through the torture at Centaur. I think it's high time either the management was changed or they shut it down".

"The collective opinions of millions of real travellers on TripAdvisor can help others save themselves from bug bites, lousy service, dirty sheets and damp rooms. The list is only intended to serve as a strong reminder to hotels that cleanliness is the least that travellers expect from their hotel rooms and surroundings, and when hotels fall short of delivering it, travellers have platforms such as TripAdvisor where they can expose such hotels in front of a global audience", said Sharat Dhall, Managing Director, TripAdvisor India.

The complete 2011 list of dirtiest hotels in India:

1. Hotel Namaskar, New Delhi: The windows were partially covered with pieces of old newspaper and lots of dirt.82 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.. Raj Residency, Chennai: All the furniture in the room is either eaten by insects or broken.78 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.

3. Hotel Metro Tower, New Delhi: Bedsheets full of left behind hairs.97 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.

4. Centaur Hotel, New Delhi: Park bench might be a better option.95 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.

5. Hotel Manama, Mumbai: Two long earth-worms were dancing in the shower.67 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.

6. Shanti Lodge, Agra: The bed was covered in sand and dirt.57 percent of reviewers do not ecommend this hotel.

7. Hotel Unicontinental, Mumbai: Lethal electric cabling hanging from the walls.75 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel.

8. Autumn Trees, Munnar: Rooms are stinky with fungal smell.89 percent of reviewers do not recommend this hotel. (ANI)

 
May 19, 2011

 TripAdvisor has announced that its iPad app is the most downloaded travel app in India. The free app has a number of features unique to it, which are not on the website, including virtual tours of travel destinations and a function that superimposes images from the places near your location on to Google maps of the area.

“With virtual tours on the TripAdvisor iPad app, we’ve made the experience even more engaging and helpful for travellers,” said Mike Putnam, Director of Mobile Product for TripAdvisor. “For travellers who have ever booked a hotel or restaurant and arrived only to be disappointed by the neighbourhood, this feature brings a whole new way to gain insights into their destination. Now, travellers can get the full picture in advance, along with the wisdom of TripAdvisor’s more than 40 million reviews and opinions,” he added.

Travellers can access the new function by clicking on the Street View icon for hotels, restaurants or attractions. This is applicable to all places in the world where Street View by Google is available. In addition, travellers have access to map based browsing and location aware features like a ‘Near Me Now’ function to find hotels, restaurants and attractions near their location, along with access to reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions.

“Apart from its ability to allow extensive research for pre-planning for holidays, the application becomes a most handy travelling companion on the go by advising travellers on places to stay, eat and see, based on their current location,” said Sharat Dhall, Managing Director, TripAdvisor India. 
 

 
May 19, 2011

 Centaur Hotel IGI Airport, New Delhi voted the worst amongst the dirtiest hotels for three consecutive years!, in India as well as Asia 

TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest and most popular travel site , with more than 40 million monthly visitors, today unveiled the list of India’s Dirtiest Hotels in 2010 , according to reviews by millions of real travellers. Delivering its promise of being the world’s most trusted travel advice to help travellers plan their trips; TripAdvisor identifies India’s most disturbingly dirty hotels. True to its core, the Dirtiest Hotels are not based on expert opinions or journalist reviews but solely on the real experiences of millions of travellers from India and around the world. 

This is the 6th edition of the Dirtiest Hotels list worldwide and the 3rd edition of India’s Dirtiest Hotels list. 

The hotels hall of shame for 2010 includes eight filthy hotels in New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai Agra and Munnar. From broken fixtures, filthy bedding and bugs, what travellers saw, smelled and experienced was shocking. “Awful, Pretty Bad, Worst, Not Recommended, Disgusting” are just some of the terms used by travellers to describe these properties and warn other travellers. 

Centaur Hotel IGI Airport , Hotel Namaskar in New Delhi and Raj Residency, Chennai are 3 hotels that have been featured in the list for 2 years in a row. These 3 hotels along with Hotel Metro Tower, New Delhi have also found their pride of place in Asia’s Top 10 dirtiest hotels this year! 

Despite its proximity to the world class T3 International airport in Delhi, Centaur Hotel consistently receives extremely negative reviews by travellers and has continuously been on the list for the past 3 years. 

A disappointed TripAdvisor member says, “I think it would have been better to spend the night at the airport rather than go through the torture at Centaur. I think it’s high time either the management was changed or they shut it down”. 

It is appalling to see that the top 3 metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai account for 6 out of the 8 dirtiest hotels in the list 

“The collective opinions of millions of real travellers on TripAdvisor can help others save themselves from bug bites, lousy service, dirty sheets and damp rooms. The list is only intended to serve as a strong reminder to hotels that cleanliness is the least that travellers expect from their hotel rooms & surroundings, and when hotels fall short of delivering it, travellers have platforms such as TripAdvisor where they can expose such hotels in front of a global audience”, said Mr. Sharat Dhall, Managing Director, TripAdvisor India. 

The list of Dirtiest hotels follows in close heels of the 2011 Travellers Choice Hotel Awards released by TripAdvisor annually to showcase the best in hospitality around the world and India, across several categories ranging from Bargain to Luxury. 

Here is the complete 2011 list of the Dirtiest Hotels in India. Listed alongside are actual reviews from travellers who braved these hotels: 

Hotel Namaskar, New Delhi: “We have travelled very widely in India and the Hotel Namaskar has been our worst accommodation yet. It might be cheap but avoid it! 

We were woken in the night by a fight in the lobby. The room had no windows. The bathroom was disgusting - even by Paharganj standards. The hotel is located down a dark and rather dodgy alleyway. Essentially, this hotel is a total dive. We only stayed one night and cancelled our other reservations”. 

Raj Residency, Chennai: “Room No.252 allotted was worst than dormitory rooms. A/c was not working, water heater was not working. After fire fighting with manager alternate room 251 provided which was better off than earlier. Hotel should be banned and License registration to be cancelled by Govt. authority for not maintaining the hotel”. 

Hotel Metro Tower, New Delhi: “Had a terrible time with the managers - they`ll cheat blatantly if they know you are in desparate need. Rooms are cramped, dirty and there are very few decent rooms and consider yourself as blessed if you get one of those. An amazing place to gift a free holiday to your enemy - he`ll regret it & you`ll love it!!!”. 

Centaur Hotel IGI Airport, New Delhi: “It is shameful that this hotel is rated five star. In spite of management’s claims of renovations, nothing has changed: bugs in the room, dirty carpets, bad smell, poor front desk services, 20 year old TVs, and strange people hanging out in the lobby”. 

Hotel Manama, Mumbai: “I`m glad I`m not suicidal as I would have considered ending my life before going to sleep so I could avoid waking up in this dirty, neglected and depressing hotel”. 
Shanti Lodge, Agra: The first look was decent and we decided to book the hotel...then when we came to our room it was terrible...the bathroom flush was not working, there was no hot water...the cable TV was not working and there were frequent power cuts…”.Hotel Unicontinetal, Mumbai: “We would prefer to camp out with the scores of families on the streets directly outside this hotel than to ever even consider venturing inside its filthy, greedy, unwholesome walls ever again”. 

Autumn Trees, Munnar: “We booked this hotel based on the website - The pictures are clearly edited - When you reach the hotel, there is a garbage dump by one side, and there are no tea gardens etc next to it. The real shock comes to you once you go into your room - The conditions can only be described as: A SHABBY STINKING ROOM IN A LODGE. 

We booked it for 2 nights in Munnar by paying in advance, but after one night, we said, enough - and we rushed out, of course after losing the booking amount”. 

The TripAdvisor India site launched a little over 2 years ago already attracts over 3 million unique Indian visitors a month. Its popularity as one of the top 3 travel sites in the country is owing to its rich content on Indian destinations and hotels in the country coupled with the growing trend of Indians’ planning their trips based on the experience of other travellers’. 

To check out the list of the worst hotels worldwide go to 
http://www.tripadvisor.in/DirtyHotels 
For a window of respite from the worst check out the top hotels worldwide by region including India in the 2011 Travellers’ Choice Awards list at http://www.tripadvisor.in/travelerschoice 

 
May 19, 2011

 TripAdvisor today announced the top 10 romantic hotels and resorts in India, based on TripAdvisor editors and travellers.

“Valentine's is a perfect time to indulge in a romantic getaway. Be it an overnight stay or a long weekend, it is a perfect time to stay at a fine hotel or a resort and enjoy a bit of romance. Since, this year Valentine’s Day is falling over a weekend, we have picked some delightfully romantic Indian getaways to help you make your day a memorable one”, said Sharat Dhall, Managing Director, TripAdvisor India.

The Top 10 are:

  1. The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
  2. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
  3. The Leela Kempinski Goa
  4. The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Kerala
  5. Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
  6. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur
  7. Wildflower Hall hotel, Shimla
  8. Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh
  9. Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore
  10. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarkaon

Continued Below

 

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Also amongst the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “This property is more than just a nice hotel to stay at while you're visiting Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It's a whole another reason to visit Agra. My wife and I stayed here for two nights on a short anniversary getaway. The view has to be seen to be believed. The grounds are lush and immaculate. The aesthetic of the pool area is superb. The food is among the best we've had at any resort, and we've stayed at more than a few . The service is the best part: efficient, friendly, and extremely polite without being obsequious. The staff went out of their way to facilitate a balcony dinner for us, whipping up a beautiful romantic setting without being asked to, even calling in an electrician to make our raclette-maker work. There were several other instances of outstanding service during our short stay”.

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Amongst the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “Something we are still raving about. A once in a lifetime experience! Right from the rose petal welcome, surprise upgrade to Rang Mahal, champagne-spa, honeymoon surprises, and warmth of the staff.”

The Leela Kempinski Goa

Amongst the Top 10 Family Hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “We stayed in lake side rooms of Leela. The rooms, cleaning and hotel staff were awesome. It also has a private beach, and provides every facility inside the campus.”

The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Kerala

Amongst the Top 10 Family Hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “Our stay at the Leela was simply amazing. We stayed in the Club on the honeymoon package and would definitely stay there again. The food, the service, the luxury....none of it could be topped. Thank you, Leela, for making our honeymoon so memorable.”

Continued to the next page.

 

 

 

Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Amongst the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India, Hotels with Best Service and the winner of Overall Top 25 hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “It is an exquisite place, where every surface gleams and everyone has a smile for you. Our palace room was just a basic room tucked away in the former "women's wing", it was absolutely delightful, spacious and complete with a golden canopy above the bed, mirrored fireplace and a window seat lined with a dozen or more gorgeous silk cushions. If you want to experience luxury and service and enjoy a romantic holiday at the same time, I highly recommend you experience it at the Rambagh Palace.”

Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

TripAdvisor Review: “We stayed here for only 2 nights. I wish I had booked it for longer. All personal requirement is met by staff at any time at reasonable price. Check in was easy and our room was ready and waiting for us , and it lived up to it's photos . The room was spacious with a small balcony, a small anti room with a safe & wardrobe and a good size washroom with toiletries and fresh towels . This was clearly the best hotel we stayed at. If we come back to Jaipur sometime again, we would certainly stay here.” said one TripAdvisor member

Wildflower Hall hotel, Shimla

Amongst the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India and Hotels with Best Service according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “The rooms were lovely with gorgeous views of the mountains. The location is truly breaktaking. The staff is friendly and attentive. In short, you won’t go wrong staying at the Wildflower Hall. It was a wonderful experience.”

 

Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh

TripAdvisor Review: “It has been one of my best experiences ever .I must have really been blessed to have had an opportunity to be at Ananda. The team was excellent and as one says, it’s the people that make the difference. They were fantastic, the food was exceptional and the SPA …no words to express the experience.”

Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore

TripAdvisor Review: “This hotel, if you can call it that, is beautiful. It isn't a hotel, it's an experience. The hospitality is superb, the food is delicious and the attention to detail intense.”

Coconut Lagoon, Kumarkaon

Amongst the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India, Family Hotels and the winner of Overall Top 25 hotels in India according to TripAdvisor 2010 Travelers' Choice awards

TripAdvisor Review: “If you wish to experience the best of keralite hospitality coupled with serene green surroundings , coconut lagoon in Kumarakom is the right place to be in.Right from the time you are taken to the hotel entrance in a jetty to the time when they wave farewell to you , the hospitality is simply commendable.”

 
May 19, 2011

 Summer’s here and its time to pack your bags for that family vacation everyone’s been looking forward to. Refer to TripAdvisor’s list of India’s top 10 ‘family-friendly’ hotels for a smoother, hassle-free experience.

 

Travelling with kids requires a whole new set of skills. If things don’t go as planned, there are high chances of it becoming a memorable trip – for the wrong reasons. So the key words here would be: prepare, prepare, prepare.

 

As if on cue, TripAdvisor India has revealed the results of its survey March 2011 that lists down top 10 family-friendly hotels in India. If you are traveling with kids, its important to look out for hotels that are equipped to cater to them in terms of service, food and entertainment. With this selection of hotels, travellers can pick the right hotels in India for family fun and ensure that everyone gets the best out of a well-deserved family break.

 

All the top ten hotels are located among popular holiday destinations of Goa, Kerela and Rajasthan. Kerala emerges at the top with the most number of family-friendly hotels followed by Goa and Rajasthan. Park Hyatt Resort and Spa and Leela Kempinski in Goa top the list.

 

Top 10 Family Friendly Hotels:

1. Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa Cansaulim, Goa

2. The Leela Kempinski Goa Cavelossim Goa

3. Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom Kerala

4. Jai Mahal Palace Jaipur Rajasthan

5. Vivanta by Taj - Hari Mahal, Jodhpur Jodhpur Rajasthan

6. Ramada Resort Cochin Kochi Kerala

7. Taj Green Cove Resort Kovalam Kerala

8. Vivanta by Taj - Holiday Village, Goa Sinquerim Goa

9. The Zuri Kumarakom Kumarakom Kerala

10. Old Harbour Hotel Kochi Kerala

 

The TripAdvisor rankings are based on the experience of millions of travellers from India and around the world. The choice of activities and entertainment at these locations offers something for everyone in a family, as also the helpful and attentive staff, makes these properties the most recommended for family vacations especially with young kids.

 

A TripAdvisor member reviews his stay at the Park Hyatt Resort and Spa in Goa: ‘This was our third visit to the hotel, and this time we were with two other families with young kids. The food - we ate buffet mostly - was outstanding this time; and had enough variation each day to keep the kids and us happy. Oh yes! The most splendid water bodies in Goa - so kids once again had endless hours of fun sliding, jumping and making merry.’

 

A TripAdvisor member comments on her stay at the Taj Green Cove Resort, Kovalam: ‘I was traveling with my two-year old daughter. Its the most peaceful setting I’ve ever seen and my husband is in love with this resort since day 1. They really pamper you especially if you have a baby along. Hotel staff is excellent. They are very polite and very helpful.’

 

A TripAdvisor member says of his family’s stay at Vivanta by Taj, Jodhpur: ‘Our kids loved the pool, the early evening puppet show and magic show, as well as the live music at meals. They also played ping pong in the ornate strategy room. We enjoyed our meals there very much and thought the dishes were non-routine and well prepared. The staff were very attentive and we felt pampered.’

 
May 19, 2011

 Couple of weeks back, I had come up with my personal top 10 tourist destinations in Indiaand most of the destinations I listed are listed in this list. However, surprisingly travelers have voted many destinations, which probably you may not even have heard of, so this list if quite interesting.

Here is the list, Take your pick !

Top 25 Popular travel destinations in India

1.) Munnar

Sprawling tea plantations surround the serene hills of Munnar, which attract adventure travelers hungry for paragliding, treks to Anaimudi (South India’s highest peak) and hikes originating at the confluence of three mountain streams.

The stone Christ Church, built by the British in 1910, is adorned with renowned works of stained glass, and Eravikulam National Park, about 10 miles away, is home to equally colorful wildlife, including the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (ibex), ruddy mongoose and 120 bird species.

Places of Interest

2.) Manali

In Hinduism, Manu was said to have survived a great flood that destroyed the rest of the world. He then recreated mankind in this Kullu Valley town. What a rush, huh? No wonder the towering peaks and verdant terrain of Manali attracts adventure travelers, with heli-skiing, hiking, mountaineering and river rafting the favored active pursuits.

Come down from your endorphin high by breathing deeply at the four-story, wooden Hidimba Devi Temple, which sits in the middle of a nearby deciduous forest, or take a medicinal soak in the hot springs burbling from the ground a 30-minute walk from town.

Place of Interest

3.) Hampi

The former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi remains an essential religious hub, housing the Virupaksha, Lakshmi Narasimha, Hemakuta Hill, Big Shivlinga and Vithala temples. The architectural ruins of Hampi are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rock-climbing enthusiasts will adore Hampi, considered the bouldering capital of India, and the city’s rocky landscape, dotted with ancient temple ruins, makes for a unique climbing experience

4.) Goa

East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences left over from a 500-year occupation. The beaches have long served as a magnet for serene hedonists. 
To the north, the tourist-centric scene is prevalent, with an international flair that is now skewing more hip than hippie. Travel south for stretches of unspoiled sand and an escape from large resorts. Temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries provide diversions from the beach.

Places of Interest

5.) Udaipur

Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts several sparkling lakes against a backdrop of the Aravail hills. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, islands in Fateh Sagar Lake, are the site of Udaipur Solar Observatory and Nehru Garden. 
Famous palaces include the magical Lake Palace, now a luxurious five-star hotel, and the massive City Palace on Pichola’s east bank, featuring epic courtyards and stunning paintings.

Place of Interest

6.) Gangtok

The capital of the state of Sikkim, Gangtok is an attractive tourist destination, reflecting a unique ambience which derives from its happy blend of tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence of stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other thriving town. Some of the key places to visit include Rumtek Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and the local bazaar, Lal Bazaar.

Places of Interest

7.) Bangalore

Known as both the "Garden City" and "The Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore (officially "Bengaluru") is a techie’s paradise, boasting the highest concentration of IT companies in the country. When you’re done geeking out, there are plenty of gardens, museums, natural features, palaces and temples to fill your dance card. Visit Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park and the Ulsoor Lake of Bangalore, well known for its beautiful locales and boating facilities. Bangalore is also a major centre of Indian classical music and dance, and of vivid, cutting-edge nightlife.

Places of Interest

8.) DharamShala

Serenely spiritual Dharamsala is home to the largest Tibetan temple outside of Tibet. It’s known for its religious iconography and is the monastery of the Dalai Lama, who holds public lectures a few times a year. Once you’ve restored your spiritual energy, enjoy a picturesque stroll to Bhagsu Waterfall or climb the hill to Triund to bask in stunning views of the Himalayas.

Places of Interest

9.) Jaipur

If you take one look at the glorious stucco buildings that line Jaipur’s wide streets, you’ll understand why this is nicknamed "The Pink City." Spend your days exploring City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Amber and Jaigarh forts. And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, head to one of the bazaars, where you can pick up a pair of camel-leather slippers.

Places of Interest

10.) Leh

The Ladakh capital city of Leh lies near the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir, on the crossroads of the historic "Silk Route" from Sinkiang to West Asia and to the plains of India. The humbling monasteries of Shey, Hemis, Alchi, Thikse and Lamayuru will nurture your spiritual needs, and the landscape of Leh provides for a number of adventure activities including mountaineering, white-water rafting and trekking along the Markha Valley.

Places of Interest

11.) Havelock Islands

Premium scuba diving and snorkeling are the highlights of the gorgeous Havelock Island, the most popular of the Andaman Islands. Glass-bottomed boats provide a similar up-close marine life experience. Jungle treks and camping are popular landlubbing activities, though the more delicately dispositioned can choose to retire to one of several luxury resorts. Refuel with fresh coconut milk and succulent, just-caught seafood, which dominates every meal.

Places of Interest

12.) Wayanad

The emerald landscape of Wayanad is the ideal destination for both intense outdoor adventure and calming restoration. Climb the foothills of Brahmagiri to reach the ancient Thirunelli Temple, hike to the overwhelmingly stunning Meenmutty Falls, or explore Edakkal Caves, rich with prehistoric paintings. Wayanad is brimming with healing Ayurvedic healing spas, perfect for restoring your pleasantly exhausted body after a day of exploring

Places of Interest

13.) Mysore

The kings of the Wodeyar dynasty set the bar high for the southern cultural capital of Mysore. Ornate palaces and the Gothic St. Philomena’s Church with its 175-foot spires pack a visual punch; local institutions keep Carnatic classical music and dance in the public eye. A prominent 11th-century temple sits atop 1,000 steps on the city’s outskirts. Dress to the nines and party like a rock star in celebration of Mysore heritage during the lively Dussehra festival, held for 10 days in October/November.

Places of Interest

14.) Mount Abu

Situated amidst lush green, forested hills on the highest peak in the Aravali range, Mount Abu is the summer capital for the Indian state of Rajasthan. Its cool and soothing climate makes it an ideal retreat. Explore a number of Jain temples, including the Dilwara Temples, a complex carved of while marble, or visit the nearby Achalgarh fort, which houses many beautiful temples of its own.

Places of Interest

15.) Matheran

Matheran is all about the views. Easily accessible via scenic rail from Mumbai, this refuge in the Sahyadri Hills is blissfully free of motor vehicles and affords nearly three dozen lookouts over the Western Ghats and the region’s village-dotted plains. Porcupine Point is anything but prickly—rather, it’s an ideal spot for gorgeous sunsets, especially at the aptly named Panorama Point. Avid hikers hit the densely forested and wildlife-rich route to the ruins of Prabalgad Fort.

Places of Interest

16.) Amritsar

Amritsar is a major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of Punjab. The city is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion and is home to the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple. Respectfully marvel at the Indian and Pakistani soldiers who march-off nightly at the Wagha Border, and at the Jallian Wala Bagh the site of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre in 1919.

Places of Interest

17.) Mahabaleshwar

The city of Mahabaleshwar is a pinnacle of greenery, boasting one of the only evergreen forests in the world. The landscape abounds with lush hills, valleys and lookout points such as Lodwick Point, Arthur’s Seat and Babington Point, all of which offer spectacular views. Trot along on horseback for a delightful four-legged tour of the gorgeous Venna Lake area, and savour juicy native strawberries, mulberries and corn.

Places of Interest

18.) Shimla

Snow-capped Himalayan peaks and green pastures surround Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Enjoy a heritage walk through Shimla’s Victorian-era architecture, labyrinthine bazaars and lengthy pedestrian shopping mall. Don’t cause too much trouble taking in the town from Scandal Point, a large, open square; keep in mind that Shimla was a retreat destination for Mahatma Gandhi, who frequented a Georgian mansion in Shimla’s suburbs from the mid-1930s to ’40s.

Places of Interest

19.) Tirupati

The holy city of Tirupati draws tourists and religious pilgrims alike, who flock to the Ancient Lord Venkateswara Temple, known for its elabourate Dravidian style and gold-plated cupola. Prayers are offered daily at this popular temple, which sits high in the Tirumala hills. Several other temples dot the town, and the lush countryside contains numerous waterfalls. Tirupati is also home to a rare, naturally-occurring pre-Jurassic stone arch that is 25 feet long and 10 feet high, one of only three of these geological features in the world

Places of Interest

20.) Kashmir

The valley of Kashmir is as rich with history and political controversy as it is with culture and natural phenomena. Sample exquisitely spiced native cuisines and festive teas, then walk off your meal along the rugged trekking routes to the north. Marvel at the famous houseboats of Srinagar and take a spiritual moment to reflect at one of the many pilgrimage sites and religious shrines that dot the region. Of course, native craftsmanship makes for excellent souvenirs—carpets and textiles are an especial shopping must.

Places of Interest

21.) Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal has an endangered animal called the grizzled giant squirrel. To us, that alone is reason to book a trip ("grizzled giant squirrel" might be the best animal name ever). Perched on the woodsy southern crest of the Palani Hills, nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, this popular lakeside resort town is a magnet for nature lovers. Wander the peaceful slopes, keeping an eye out for birds, exotic flowers and, of course, grizzled giant squirrels.

Places of Interest

22.) Kolkata

This former British colonial stronghold boasts evidence of over two millennia of habitation, with ornate, architecturally diverse buildings, ranging from crumbing ruins to Victorian treasures. Home to lively festivals and a vibrant artistic community, clamorous markets and packed temples, this city is crowded and polluted, but ultimately invigorating.

Places of Interest

23.) Coorg

The misty hills, lush teakwood and sandalwood forests, and acres of tea and coffee plantations of Kodagu are, in a word, stunning. Also known as Coorg and dubbed "The Scotland of India," Kodagu is a postcard-perfect region of scattered villages and hamlets, which are the epitome of old-world charm. Kodagu is ideal for outdoor activities such as trekking, angling and white-water rafting, and major festivals like Keil Poldu (worship of weapons), Cauvery Shankaramana (return of the river goddess) and the Huttari (harvest) festival are a huge draw.

Places of Interest

24.) Rishikesh

The holy city of Rishikesh, in the base of the Himalayas, holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for local Hindus. Sacred rivers and mountains set the scene for yoga and reflective hikes, and rafting here is an absolute must. The Beatles got in touch with their Eastern spiritual side here, writing several songs during a 1968 stint at a local ashram.

Places of Interest

25.) Haridwar

The holy city of Haridwar translates to "Gateway to God," and the breathtaking city, replete with temples, is a magnet for religious pilgrims from all over the globe. Religious festivals hold even further draw, and tourists can’t helped but be compelled by the city’s aura of intense spirituality. Don’t miss the Har ki Pauri and the Chandi Devi Temple.

Places of Interest

 

Honestly, I am surprised at the few names in the list – A place like Hampi has come in 3rd position (not that its a bad place), but I think there are better tourist destinations that Hampi which could have been in top 10, but they are not. Anyways, these are traveler’s choice destinations and probably more authentic than any other travel destination list which you would come across..

 
May 19, 2011

Leh has made a huge leap to bag the top spot this year in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Destination Awards for India, after ranking 10th last year. Incidentally, last year's winner, Munnar, fell to the 10th spot this year. Varanasi and Manali stood in the second and third positions respectively. All three cities have also been featured in Asia's top 25 Traveller's Choice Destinations.

Goa, from the fourth spot last year, witnessed a dramatic fall to the 16th position this year. Despite the unrest in Srinagar, the city continues to be a preferred destination for travellers at number 14. Havelock Island, Mysore, Tirupati, Matheran and Sikkim, which featured prominently in last year's list, found no mention this year

These results are based on travellers' favourite and most-visited destinations as pinned on travel maps found on the TripAdvisor Web site and TripAdvisor's Facebook application called ‘Cities I've Visited' — where travellers can mark destinations as either favourites or places they have visited.

“Today, a large number of travellers rely on TripAdvisor for travel-related insights based on user-generated content, which also made it possible for us to identify India's top travel spots,” said Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor (India).

 
 
May 18, 2011

 TripAdvisor recently announced the winners of its Travellers' Choice Destinations Awards for 2011, with Leh named as the Number 1 destination, according to a press release. Running in its third consecutive year now, the winners are based on travellers’ favourite and most visited destinations, as pinned on travel maps found on TripAdvisor website and TripAdvisor’s Facebook application called “Cities I’ve Visited”, where travellers can pin destinations noting them as either favourites or places they have visited 

“Today, a large number of travellers rely on TripAdvisor for travel related insights based on user generated content which also made it possible for us to identify India’s top travel spots” said Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor (India). “The cities named under 2011 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Award offer an interesting summary of locations that travellers love”, Ganju added.

 
May 18, 2011

 It’s not just the residential and commercial buildings that are going green, hospitality sector has also ventured on that path.

And with that we are seeing ‘responsible luxury’ taking root in India.

ITC’s Royal Gardenia hotel in Bangalore, was conferred the highest rating for green buildings in the world – the LEED India Platinum Rating. This not only places it among the top hotels in the world, but also makes it the largest platinum rated hotel, spreading across 6,00,000 sq ft. It is a model of environmental stewardship. The challenge while starting an eco-friendly hotel, and of such magnitude, is how to cut down on the carbon footprint and maintain high standards of green living while still providing the highest quality of luxuries to guests.

It is here that ITC Royal Gardenia has excelled, winning accolades from guests and the LEED India rating alike. As a guests’ reveiw reads on tripadvisor.com “Stay at this hotel and lose the guilt by staying at a hotel that is as much eco-friendly as it is modern and elegant.” The hotel has also been awarded the highest customer satisfaction, Trip Advisor award.

The Royal Gardenia is truly the perfect blend between responsibility towards the environment and luxury. Every green practice blends seamlessly into the background with the contemporary setting, effortlessly masking the fact that it is one of the highest rated green buildings in the world. “A series of sustainable measures and practices were embraced to ensure that elements of nature were effectively harnessed at every level inside the luxury hotel”, said Nakul Anand, Chief Executive, ITC Hotels Division

The vertical garden in the lobby, and the Lotus Pavilion are perfect examples. When you enter, unlike most 7 star hotels with air-conditioned lobbies, at the Gardenia, you are greeted by the innovative ‘vertical garden’, designed to ensure maximum ventilation and infuse fresh air into the space, thus eliminating the need for artificial cooling. The Lotus Pavilion, the crown jewel of the hotel, is a design inspired by Tippu Sultan’s summer palace. It has a “living room with a living roof” concept, i.e- with lush greenery on the roof, a very visually pleasing sight from your hotel room!

It is evident that ITC has left no stones unturned to ensure they set new benchmarks in the industry and take responsible luxuries too all new heights. Both the Royal Gardenia and the ITC Windsor use 100% renewable energy, powered wind turbines situated in Bellary.

A state of the art recycling plant ensures maximum utility of waste water that flows out from the daily consumption of the hotels facilities. This recycled water is used for gardening practises across the vast expanses of green bodies on the property.

The innovative concept of a “welcome meal” offered to all guests, is a sure shot way of reducing food wastage. It offers guests individual size portions of their favoured dishes, rather than a standard portion which could possibly feed the entire table, eliminating wastage.

Each floor of the hotel has a unique theme, such as water, fire, animals, and wings etc. You notice the eye for detail as you walk along the corridors, right from the flooring, the pictures hanging on the wall, to the lamps which have intricate designs of the theme sculptured onto them!

Achieving what it set out to, Royal Gardenia has the perfect mix of cutting edge technology, and innovation, aesthetically integrated into its contemporary and minimalistic design theme. It has raised the bar for hotels in the country and sent out a strong message “responsible luxury” is the new way forward!

 

 

 
May 18, 2011

 TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced the winners of its travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards for 2011.  Running in its third consecutive year now, the winners are based on travellers’ favourite and most visited destinations, as pinned on travel maps found on TripAdvisor website and TripAdvisor’s Facebook application called ‘Cities I’ve Visited’,  where travellers can pin destinations noting them as either favourites or places they have visited. Ranked sixth this year, Bangalore zoomed way ahead of other metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.

 

Leh was named as the number one destination, followed by Varanasi and Manali. That apart, these three cities have also been featured on Asia’s top 25 Traveller’s Choice Destinations. Ranked tenth last year, Leh made the huge leap to the top, beating popular tourist destinations like Goa which witnessed a dramatic fall from its  number four spot last year to number 16 this year. Winner of 2010 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards, Munnar saw a steep drop to number 10 this year.

 

Interestingly, destinations like Havelock Island, Mysore, Tirupati, Matheran and Sikkim, which featured prominently on the list last year found no mention this year. Despite the local unrest, Srinagar continues to be a preferred destination for travellers at number 14. Launched a little over two years back, TripAdvisor’s popularity is owed to its rich content on Indian destinations and hotels, coupled with the growing trend of Indians’ planning their trips based on the experiences of other travellers.

 

“A large number of travellers rely on TripAdvisor for travel related insights based on user generated content which also helped us to identify India’s top travel spots,” said Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor (India). “The cities named under 2011 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Award offer an interesting summary of locations that travellers love”, he added.

 
 
May 18, 2011

 TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site has appointed Nikhil Ganju as Country Manager for its operations in India. In this role, Nikhil will be responsible for spearheading the company’s business strategy in India which is aimed at consolidating TripAdvisor’s position as the top travel planning site in India.

Commenting on his new responsibilities, Mr. Ganju said, “The proliferation of Web 2.0 technologies has enabled Indian travellers to take more informed decisions today and with TripAdvisor.in , my goal is to take this experience to the next level”. Prior to being appointed Country Manager, Nikhil was heading TripAdvisor India’s marketing efforts since the launch of operations in 2008.

Holding a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune (1997) and a graduate from the College of Business Studies, Delhi University, Nikhil brings over 14 years of experience as a marketing professional, with online businesses as the primary focus.

Launched a little over 2 years back, TripAdvisor already attracts close to 3 million unique Indian visitors a month. Its popularity as one of the top travel sites in India is owing to its rich content on Indian destinations and hotels, coupled with the growing trend of Indians’ planning their trips based on the experiences of other travellers’. 

 
May 18, 2011

 

I have always travelled extensively given the nature of my work. In the past, travel bookings were always a cumbersome exercise. It involved endless itineraries, multiple bookings, involving coordination between my office and travel operators. Now, everything I require is in my iPad. TripIt, an app, is a travel itinerary organizer which combines all my travel details into a single itinerary. It instantly recognizes my flight, car rental and hotel confirmation emails, and keeps track of my schedule. I can track my travel plans without having to visit different sites or make several calls.

This is the new face of consumer behaviour—the emergence of the digital consumers. We are digitally active, connected and demanding personalization. These are the most significant trends in the behaviour of new age consumers that organizations will have to cater to. The number of Internet users in the world in 2010 was around two billion, up from around 360 million in 2000. So that’s a staggering growth of around 444.8%. The numbers are astounding, but the message is clear—digital consumerism is an undeniable phenomenon. And organizations have to adapt to the new consumer mindset to stay ahead.

Take the example of Nike, which collaborated with Apple, and began offering a wide range of services and social networking opportunities through Nike+. This platform helped create the Nike+ “experience” kit which consists of a wireless device for transmitting speed and distance information from sensor-equipped Nike running shoes to an iPod Touch or special wrist band.

The runners are then able to track their progress, set personal goals or run with their friends.

Nike+ now has over a million runners, 130 million miles uploaded and a market share increase of 10 points as of June 2009. Nike is able to, therefore, not just deliver a product but a unique experience for each customer. This example illustrates some significant developments and the three important trends that define digital consumers—self-service, personalization and co-creation.

Self-service is a trend that is redefining how organizations engage with customers. No longer passive and inactive, in a significant shift, digitally active consumers are now reducing their dependence on organizations. Take a look at online shopping—people go through reviews, discuss on online forums, use social networking for their friend’s opinions on products before they make a purchase.

Pioneers of the self-service system in websites such as Amazon, included a recommendation system and user reviews. Take for instance TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel information sites, the content for which is created by its users in the form of travel reviews, opinions and discussion forums. It has over 40 million unique monthly visitors, 20 million members and around 40 million reviews. Consumers now connect with each other; so it’s important for organizations to track these changes and be able to adapt accordingly, like Amazon.

A few years ago, Time magazine’s person of the year was “YOU”. The cover page declared, “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.” This appropriately captured the concept that today it is the individual customer who is at the centre and is crucial to key business decisions. Digital consumers are active, informed, assertive and are demanding greater personalization in the way that products and services are delivered to them. Developments like TripIt and TripAdvisor, I believe, are leading to the disintermediation of an entire segment of travel agents.

Look at such as like BBC and Google, which offer customization of their homepage, allowing the users to create their own layout with widgets of their choice. Or take the example of Reebok, which, like several other retail giants, is putting in dedicated efforts to work with the new generation of consumers. Reebok has launched a widget that can be added to any social networking site and allows consumers to customize the design of the shoes they wish to purchase.

All these examples I referred to, and several more, highlight not just the ability to get customer feedback, but take it to the next level—co-creation. Co-creation is the ability to create new products, services and processes through customer interactions and input. The rise of digital consumers will lead to increased co-creation, the ability to communicate with organizations and to actually be a part of the creation of new products.

Technology will be a significant enabler in this process and co-creation will herald a new era of innovation, bringing a fresh perspective to how organizations approach it. Innovation will no longer be about an organization’s creativity but about being open to tap into the large stream of ideas that lie beyond the organization—a successful example of an innovative co-creation platform is the reference website, Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has grown rapidly since its creation in 2001, attracting nearly 78 million visitors monthly. There are more than 91,000 active contributors working on more than 17 million articles in more than 270 languages. It has 440 million edits, showing us an astounding trend that is fast catching up.

Digital consumers will, therefore, bring about a massive shift in the way organizations traditionally work. Organizations are being asked to provide personalized products and services.

At the same time, consumers are also collaborating with organizations to create a greater understanding.

I believe the future of this kind of connection and of personalization lies in seamless integration. This will happen through technology. A sensor in your body can tell the room you’re feeling warm; it can tell the restaurant you are allergic to nuts. Any hospital will be able to issue personalized medicine because a universal database stores your information.

Intelligent automobiles will be able drive themselves, sensing traffic, and with inputs on location and speed limits.

The opportunities are limitless. And organizations have to be prepared—the consumers of the future are already here.

The author is set to take over as chief executive officer and managing director of Infosys Technologies Ltd on 21 August. This is the first in a series of articles he’s writing for Mint on seven strategic themes that Infosys has identified and sees as transforming businesses going forward.