Subhas Chako

9th July 2024

Wood Villas Of Kumaon Himalayas- Redifining Mountain Hospitality

Wood Villas – Mountain Retreat with a Difference. “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we have been and the memories we make along the way”; If that be so, the North Indian state of Uttarakhand, popularly referred to as “Devbhumi” or the abode of Gods is indeed at the forefront, positioning itself as “New India’s” ultimate Wellness Tourism hotspot. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami’s recent trip to UK to attract investors was an outright hit and MOUs worth Rs.12,500 crores were signed. The resurgence of India at the competitive global business landscape is very palpable and has a lot to do with the sustained campaigns like “Atmanirvar Bharat, Transforming India, Make in India etc....by dint of which smaller states like Uttarakhand too are able to carve a niche for themselves and create positive imprints on the minds of global investors. The gung-ho mood of Chief Minister Dhami finds a reflection in his press conference - "There are almost no incidents of labour dissatisfaction in the industries operating in the state of Uttarakhand. The loss of human labour in industries due to labour dissatisfaction is the lowest in India.

This is the reason why the tagline of the Global Investors Summit-2023 in the state has been made 'Peace to Prosperity”. He further stated that along with “Ease-of-doing business”, there is also “Peace-of-doing business” in Uttarakhand.. The state's snowy peaks, surreal landscape and century’s old cultural traditions have been luring travellers galore to this speck of paradise. Uttarakhand is not just Rishikesh, Nainital, Mussorie or the iconic Jim Corbett National Park. The Government of Uttarakhand has prioritized the accelerated development of new tourist destinations like Binsar, Brahmatal Lake, Chamba, Chopta, Dhanaulti, Dodital to name just a few. Uttarakhand’s topography is challenging, with the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh to the Northwest, Tibet to the Northeast, Nepal in the Southeast and the state of Uttar Pradesh in the South. Both the Greater Himalayas and the Lesser Himalayan zones fall in Uttarakhand. It isn’t surprising that some of India’s highest peaks like Nanda Devi (7817m) and Badrinath (7138 m) too are located in Uttarakhand.

 Given the stunning Himalayan vistas that encircle the state and the picturesque setting, the Government of Uttarakhand is focussed in developing the concept of “Homestay” as well as “Chalets/Log Huts” in the higher reaches of the Himalayas – Almora, Ranikhet and beyond. Legendary Nepalese Mountaineer – Ang Tshering Lama who has summitted Mt.Everest multiple times is of the opinion that Uttarakhand’s landscape, particularly the high Himalayan Zone is a lot similar to the Austrian Alps. According to Ang Tshering – “Uttarakhand Himalayas have lured mountaineers and hikers for centuries together, much like the Austrian Alps, for the discerning travellers to relish the surreal vistas of Uttarakhand’s great Himalayan outback.”. Austria’s rugged and exclusive Alpine environ has with time evolved marvellously with the quintessential agenda of harnessing the local vernacular architectural grandeur of Old Austria with that of the New. Many of the hüttens in Austria employ local carpenters to create outstanding mountain huts that has become the cynosure of mountain aficionados worldwide. Drawing inspiration from the Austrian/European Alpine log huts and chalets, Uttarakhand has been on the radar of hoteliers for some time now and with a pro-active government offering incentives to investors, there has never been a better time for investments in the state’s burgeoning hospitality landscape.

Out of sheer curiosity, I was flipping through works of renowned Swiss architect Annemarie Pestalozzi, who in her research work entitled – “The Vernacular Architecture of Kumaon”, rather coherently depicted the surreal beauty of Uttarakhand’s Almora region thus – “We visited the area between Almora and Champawat, with its deep river valleys and the countless small terraced fields on the steep mountain slopes, with the Deodar woods on the higher sections. On many days we enjoyed a splendid view of the majestic snow peaks in the direction of Tibet. As I got to know the region and its people better, I discovered many similarities between Kumaon and certain mountain regions of my own country Switzerland”. What an outstanding narrative! 

The state government’s focus to promote “Homestay Tourism” in the High Himalayan Zone is having a positive rub-off effect or “Multiplier Effect” on the villages and Himalayan hamlets of Uttarakhand - curbing the instinct of migration to urban areas and generating enough revenues for villagers who have opted to transform their homes into homestays. The concept of building Villas with wood as the primary material is the new buzz. Although, wooden villas are commonplace in US, Canada and most of Europe, it hasn’t been as popular in India, due largely to the climatic conditions (tropical), prohibitive forestry laws and outdated sawmills; in spite of being blessed with century’s old rich legacy of wooden craftsmanship that were patronised by the Maharajas of yore. However, this is an exciting time for India as a nation – third largest economy by purchasing power parity and a USD 3.5 Trillion economy with Travel & Tourism industry alone generating US$ 178 billion. With India becoming a global powerhouse, the nation’s tourism landscape too has kept pace with globally acceptable tourism guidelines/yardsticks. The paradigm change of perceptions viz-a-viz Uttarakhand’s tourism landscape, through the introduction of high-end/luxurious Wooden Chalets & Villas is a remarkable phenomenon. The phased manner of developing such plush wooden chalets on incredibly high mountain tops deserves kudos. 

The new breed of ecologically conscious real estate chalet & wood villa developers are the real game changers for Uttarakhand’s long term tourism prosperity. They are combining time honoured craftsmanship with contemporary innovations and thereby delivering properties that are not just robust but stunning to look at from outside. You literally experience this déjà-vu feeling – “India has arrived on the world stage”! A visit to lesser known, yet gorgeous Himalayan hamlet of Dhamas (32 Kms. from Almora) could be an eye opener. Out here at an elevation of 1424m/4672feet, a silent revolution is on; courtesy, the untiring efforts of a native Koranga family, whose forefathers had left behind landed properties on some of the most vantage positions. Chandan Koranga, a fiercely proud ‘Millennial’ Kumaoni of the Koranga family has rather resolutely been implementing his dream project – “Wood Villas”, which is nearing completion. Once complete, this prestigious one-of-a-kind wooden villa project, made out of the finest variety of English Wood and German Pine, will be a pioneering wooden architectural marvel in the state’s competitive tourism landscape. Having weathered the rough and tumble of the new-age entrepreneurship, the never-say-die Kumaoni that Chandan is, he is highly optimistic that “Wood Villas” will carve a niche for itself as one of Uttarakhand’s most preferred Chalet / Villa accommodation. According to Chandan – “Wood Villa units will offer breathtaking views of the full range of Himalayan peaks. The architectural finesse is every bit European and each independent villa is wholly constructed out of wood, a rarity in the Indian context!” He further adds – “Our client base is NRIs and high net worth individuals (HNI) who have shown tremendous interest on this unique project. These villas are available for leases for up to 3 years and further renewable”. 

The importance that Uttarakhand is given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is crystal clear, with the state hosting as many as three G20 meetings. The third G20 meeting on Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) concluded on June 28th 2023 in Rishikesh – the Yoga Capital of the World. Distinguished delegates from G20 countries savoured the spiritual essence of Uttarakhand and had firsthand experience of the state’s varied cultural offerings. No wonder, there is an air of expectancy in Uttarakhand and the changing mindset of the people finds reflection in new-age entrepreneurs like Chandan Koranga and others of his ilk, who are working hard to position Uttarakhand as India’s next big tourism destination. In fact, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has gone one step ahead and coined the tagline –“Peace of Doing Business” rather than the oft-quoted “Ease of Doing Business” while addressing an august gathering of industrialists in UK. 

Any new venture that is aimed at bringing about a paradigm change in perceptions, particularly on the hospitality landscape, has its share of hindrances and mental blockages. It all depends on how focussed one is towards realizing the ultimate goal. Thanks to the state government’s unwavering support and friendly disposition towards Wood Villa entrepreneurs, Uttarakhand’s hilltops are on the verge of showcasing the beauty of the Himalayas in all its grandeur. Wooden Villas and Chalets offer an aesthetic charm which is timeless. They radiate harmony and are remarkably sustainable. In fact occupants of wooden houses have a lower carbon footprint than occupants of non-wooden ones. And, here is hoping that Uttarakhand Tourism will be a beacon of hope in India’s pursuit towards becoming a “Net Zero” country. For Further information on Wood Villa familiarization trips to Almora/Ranikhet/Champawat, please feel free to get in touch with – Chandan Singh Koranga, Him Valley Infra, (Woods Villa), Village – Dhamas, Sitlakhet Road, Dhamas. Uttarakhand – 263601 Mob - +91-7505001510

Written by Subhasish, a seasoned Travel Journalist with two decades of experience, has contributed editorially to numerous international in-flight magazines of renowned airlines.

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Manicklal Chakraborty

Sr Faculty

12th May 2024


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to raise awareness within our society about the importance of mindful consumption habits, particularly regarding our food choices. Both approaches to eating have their pros and cons, and whether they're healthy or not can depend on various factors.

"Eating to live" typically refers to viewing food primarily as sustenance rather than for pleasure or indulgence. This approach often involves prioritizing nutrition and consuming foods that provide essential nutrients without excessive calories or unhealthy additives. It can be a healthy habit, especially if it helps someone maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. On the other hand, "living to eat" is more about enjoying food for its taste, cultural significance, and social aspects. While this approach can bring pleasure and satisfaction, it may also lead to overeating or choosing less nutritious foods, which can contribute to health issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes if not managed carefully. As for eating based on hunger cues versus rigid meal times, both approaches can be healthy depending on the individual's lifestyle and preferences. Eating only when hungry can help regulate appetite and prevent overeating, but it requires mindfulness and listening to one's body cues. On the other hand, sticking to set meal times can provide structure and consistency, which may be beneficial for some people's schedules and digestion. Ultimately, the key is finding a balance that works for you, considering your nutritional needs, lifestyle, and relationship with food. It's essential to prioritize nutrient-dense foods, mindful eating practices, and listening to your body's hunger and fullness signals to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

MIND YOUR FOOD HABIT It's indeed positive news that dietary guidelines are emphasizing the significant impact of healthy eating on disease prevention. Nutrition plays a crucial role in overall health and well-being, and making informed choices about food can help reduce the risk of various diseases and health conditions. The fact that 56% of total diseases are attributed to unhealthy diets underscores the importance of adopting healthy eating habits. By prioritizing nutrient-rich foods, limiting processed and sugary foods, and maintaining a balanced diet, individuals can proactively support their health and potentially reduce the need for medical intervention. However, it's essential to remember that while diet plays a significant role in disease prevention, it's just one aspect of overall health. Regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and other lifestyle factors also contribute to well-being. By promoting awareness of the link between diet and disease and encouraging healthier food choices, dietary guidelines can empower individuals to take charge of their health and make positive changes to their lifestyles. However, it's essential to approach dietary changes with balance and moderation, as extreme or restrictive eating habits can also have negative consequences.

NEED TO CHANGE OUR FOOD HABIT In many societies, there are entrenched beliefs and attitudes towards food, including preferences for certain types of food, often influenced by cultural, social, and familial factors. In some cultures, there may be a strong emphasis on meat or non-vegetarian foods as a symbol of prosperity, strength, or cultural identity. This can lead to a reluctance or hesitancy to adopt a more plant-based diet, even if it may be healthier in terms of nutritional factors. Additionally, there can be misconceptions about the relationship between food and health. Some individuals may believe that consuming more of a particular food, whether it's meat or vegetables, equates to better health, without considering the importance of balance and moderation. We must understand that, Excess consumption of even nutritious foods can have negative consequences for health. Whether it's excessive intake of non-vegetarian foods, refined sugars, or processed foods, overconsumption can lead to issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders.

HIDEN FACT If we can closely watch in our Morden foods products mainly are from wheat, cereals, millets, and pasta are shows the their nutritional contain in a very systematic way printed in their pack many Flavor enhancers can improve the taste of food and increase the likelihood that an elderly person will eat and receive adequate nutrition. The downside is that, while there are healthy options for flavor enhancers, often the flavor enhancers that are chosen are artificial chemicals that can be damaging to health. More to attract the consumer food manufacturer are adding the colouring agent and preservatives which are also handful for consumption. Nutritional information printed on food packaging can indeed be helpful for consumers to make informed choices about their food intake. However, it's essential to be aware of not just the nutritional content but also the additives and ingredients used in processed foods. While flavor enhancers can improve the taste of food and potentially increase consumption, as you mentioned, the downside is that many of these enhancers are artificial chemicals that may have negative health effects. Some artificial flavor enhancers, colorants, and preservatives have been linked to adverse reactions such as allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and mood changes. For individuals with specific health conditions like gout, asthma, or aspirin allergies, certain additives like disodium ribonucleotides may pose additional risks and should be avoided. It's crucial for consumers to carefully read food labels and be aware of any ingredients that may trigger adverse reactions or exacerbate existing health conditions.

FOOD MANUFACTURER AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY In response to consumer demand for more natural and healthier food options, some food manufacturers are moving towards using natural flavor enhancers, colorants derived from fruits and vegetables, and preservatives with minimal impact on health. However, it's still important for consumers to be discerning and cautious when choosing processed foods and to prioritize whole, minimally processed foods whenever possible. Ultimately, promoting awareness of the potential health implications of additives in processed foods and encouraging consumers to make informed choices can help support healthier dietary habits for the general public in this regards our food quality controllers must come forward and take initiatives to frame the suitable law and ensure the people and overall well-being. More the flavour enhancer notably recommended that no food containing disodium rib nucleotides should be consumed by gout and asthma sufferers or people with an allergic reaction to aspirin. It may cause asthmatic and allergic reactions like itchy skin rashes. Sometimes, it may result in hyperactivity, sleeplessness and mood changes. Raising awareness about the potential health implications of additives in processed foods is crucial for promoting healthier dietary habits. Food quality controllers and regulatory bodies play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and integrity of the food supply chain. It's essential for these authorities to take proactive measures to regulate the use of additives in processed foods, including conducting thorough assessments of their safety and establishing appropriate limits or restrictions when necessary. Framing suitable laws and regulations can help protect consumers from harmful additives and encourage food manufacturers to prioritize the use of safer, more natural ingredients. Moreover, food quality controllers can also work to educate the public about reading food labels, understanding ingredient lists, and making informed choices when purchasing food products. By providing clear and accurate information about the potential health risks associated with certain additives, consumers can make empowered decisions about their food consumption and prioritize foods that contribute to their overall well-being.

Collaboration between government agencies, food manufacturers, healthcare professionals, and consumer advocacy groups is essential in addressing the complex issue of additives in processed foods. By working together to establish and enforce regulations, promote transparency, and educate the public, we can create a healthier food environment that supports the well-being of everyone. Education and awareness are key in addressing these misconceptions and promoting healthier dietary habits. Providing information about the nutritional benefits of a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins, can help individuals make more informed choices about their food intake. Encouraging moderation and portion control, regardless of the type of food being consumed, is also important for overall health and well-being. By fostering a better understanding of the principles of nutrition and promoting a more balanced approach to eating, we can work towards improving dietary habits and promoting better health outcomes in our societies. In summary, while maintaining a healthy diet is a crucial aspect of disease prevention, it's essential to consider other lifestyle factors as well and to approach dietary changes with a balanced and informed perspective.

By, Manicklal Chakraborty, Sr. Faculty Office and Management Studies.

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Muskan Ahuja

22nd April 2024

Shagun - Rajasthani Ghewar weds Hyderabadi Khubani ka Meetha

What a delightful union it is when Ghewar weds Khubani ka Meetha, a marriage of culinary excellence and cultural heritage! This fusion of textures and tastes is beautifully illustrated by Muskan Ahuja, a culinary student from Culinary Academy of India, Hyderabad in the form a dessert called "Shagun - Rajasthani Ghewar weds Hyderabadi Khubani ka Meetha". The ethereal crunch of Ghewar, symbolizing resilience and tradition, originating from the rich culinary tapestry of India, boasts a delicate lattice of fried flour, adorned with the opulence of clarified butter and milk that intertwines harmoniously with the luxurious sweetness of Khubani ka Meetha, a venerable delight hailing from the royal kitchens of Hyderabad, the palate is treated to an exquisite symphony of flavors and textures. The velvety sweetness of simmered apricots, ensconced in a syrupy ambrosia of caramelized sugar represents richness and indulgence. Together, they create a harmonious symphony of flavors, celebrating the diversity and richness of Indian cuisine and thus elevating the gastronomic experience to unparalleled heights of indulgence and sophistication. This dish is not just a dessert but a testament to the beauty of culinary fusion, where tradition meets innovation in a joyous celebration of love and flavour.  ...Read Less   ...Read More



11th April 2024

Unveiling 'Le Guide Moleculaire': A Molecular Gastronomy Masterpiece by Sourabh Nayak

Prepare for a culinary adventure like no other as Sourabh Nayak, a postgraduate culinary arts student from the prestigious Culinary Academy of India in Hyderabad, invites you to embark on a journey into the fascinating world of Molecular Gastronomy.

Dive into the innovative realm of molecular cuisine as Sourabh unveils his magnum opus, "Le Guide Moleculaire." This culinary masterpiece features a fusion of three tantalizing molecular hors d’oeuvres meticulously crafted onto a single plate.

Marvel at Sourabh's artistry and creativity as he expertly showcases his expertise in five distinct molecular gastronomy techniques. Experience the magic as pumpkin, sous vide cooked at 63°C and marinated with sweet paprika, harmonizes with goat cheese mousse and a delightful raspberry caviar.

Indulge in the second hors d’oeuvre, a tart crafted from Indian samosa dough adorned with guacamole espuma. Then, be captivated by the final creation—a savory Indian rice papad accompanied by dehydrated orange candy and beetroot gel.

Each element of "Le Guide Moleculaire" is a symphony of taste, color, and culinary innovation, drawing inspiration from global cuisines and reimagined in a molecular form. Sourabh's culinary prowess shines through as he expertly pieces together this gastronomic puzzle, ensuring a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that will leave you spellbound.

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Abhijana BasantChettri


9th April 2024

Experience Culinary Innovation: Flying Noodles by Abhijana Basant Chettri

Prepare to be transported to a realm of culinary marvels with Abhijana Basant Chettri, a talented 3rd-year culinary student from the renowned Culinary Academy of India in Hyderabad. Abhijana introduces a groundbreaking concept that defies gravity and redefines dining experiences: Flying Noodles.

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring spectacle as noodles take flight, defying gravity with every strategic placement of chopsticks or fork. This innovative creation isn't just about visual appeal; it's a symphony of flavors carefully curated from premium vegetables, sauces, and expert culinary techniques.

Abhijana's Flying Noodles isn't just a dish; it's a phenomenon that has captivated social media and culinary enthusiasts alike. Elevate your dining experience and indulge in a sensory adventure that pushes the boundaries of creativity and taste.

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21st March 2024

Culinary Innovation: Millet Kofte by Dipanshu Mudgal

Join Dipanshu Mudgal, a passionate Culinary Arts student from IHM Jaipur, on a journey of culinary creativity and nutritional exploration with his innovative dish: Millet Kofte.

In this unique creation, Dipanshu showcases his culinary skills by using a blend of foxtail and ragi millet to craft flavorful and nutritious koftes. These koftes are then served with a rich and aromatic Kashmiri Makhni Gravy, elevating the dish to new heights of taste and indulgence.

Dipanshu's Millet Kofte not only tantalizes the taste buds but also celebrates the nutritional value and resilience of millets. As an aspiring chef dedicated to honing his skills in food preparation and kitchen management, Dipanshu brings together tradition and innovation in a dish that is both unique and delicious.

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