A newly-wed adventure: Perfect destinations in India for honeymooners

What’s the next thing that couples look forward to after having their dream wedding? The honeymoon, of course.

There is much to be excited about being married, which involves going to places and creating new adventures together, among the many firsts to be experienced as newly-weds. For the honeymoon, although there is the quintessential Parisian getaway or Caribbean escapade, couples may want to consider going to India for a dynamic journey to a land rich in history, culture, and aesthetics.

India is home not only to marvelous temples and palaces but also to beaches and gardens, among other breathtaking views and landscapes, making it an ideal place for honeymooners.

The smell of the beach

Kerala, located in Southern India, tops the list of the perfect destination for a romantic honeymoon getaway by the beach. Kovalam, a small coastal town in Kerala, is known as the state’s most developed resort. Lighthouse Beach is the front-runner in terms of beachfront properties – hotels and restaurants – that couples may consider, especially those who want to wake up to a breathtaking ocean view. If vacationing on a budget, some of the highly recommended hotels to book are Sagara Beach Resort, Hotel Thushara, and Hotel Golden Sands.

Couples who are into more serene settings, but with tons of activities to offer, may opt to go to Lakshadweep, a northern extension of Maldives, boasting of marvelous flora and fauna.

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The sight of greenery

Couples who would rather behold the sight of greenery and appreciate nature at its finest may consider having their honeymoon in Nilgiris District, situated in Tamil Nadu. This part of India is known for its vast mountain range, combined with relaxing climate, which leaves travelers feeling rejuvenated.

Shimla, located in the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, is another option, being one of India’s most popular holiday tourist spot particularly during summer months. Within the same state, there’s also Manali, situated in the high-altitude of 6,726 ft, at the end of Kullu Valley. The place is distinguished for its mountain peaks, soothing weather, and lush greenery, which makes a beautiful and quixotic backdrop for a honeymoon.

Blues, greens, and everything in between

Couples who like a little bit of everything – a view of the lake, mountains, valleys, and even mosques – should head over to Srinagar, Kashmir. Also known as Heaven on the Earth, this place is the summer capital of Jammu, and is considered as one of the most romantic destinations in Asia.

Nainital is also an option. This place offers affordable honeymoon packages, while definitely not shortchanging on scenery, with lake, mountain backdrop and valleys to boot.

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Key considerations when applying for a visa to India

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Applying for a visa to India is not a complicated process but does require the traveler to consider certain things. As with most visa applications, individuals are expected to possess a valid passport and complete the necessary documentation and photo requirements before being accepted. There is also a fee that must be paid, depending on the area the traveler will stay.

Unique to India though are different consulate requirements. The country covers a massive land span. As such, different provinces are ruled by various government agencies and offices. The general rules remain the same nationwide, but there are nuances within each consular that are not listed online. For example, most visa applications to India are done online or through a third-party representative. This is usually done when the applicant is still in his or her home country. The process should take approximately two weeks. However, there are cases when the traveler is already in Asia or another country and decides to apply for a visa to India. He or she would naturally presume to go through the same process but suddenly hits a snag: a physical letter becomes necessary detailing the traveler’s profession and reasons for going to India. Online debating does nothing to further the applicant’s case.

This is a fairly common experience for international travelers to India. These types of cases are best handled by a third-party consular service focused on India visa and passport applications. Travelers are spared any surprise as they are informed beforehand what each province expects and their specific travel requirements.

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CKGS deals specifically with all forms of consular services required in visa and passport applications in various areas in India. For speedier and stress-free applications, visit this website.

Rise in plastic surgery cases triggers spate of new rules and passport renewals

Surgical Instruments

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Cases abound of passport holders needing to take new passport photos because of radical facial changes courtesy of plastic surgery. Typically, a passport holder needs to renew his or her passport once every few years, depending on citizenship and the country’s specific rules.

All nations around the world have adapted stricter security measures, including biometric facial and fingerprint examinations. This is to ensure the passport carrier’s safety as well as to reduce the risk of identity theft. During the renewal process of the passport, a person’s photograph is taken. Standard procedures require the hair to be kept out of the face, eyes facing the camera with no accessories such as eyeglasses, face to be relaxed, and a smile absent. This is so that the computer can accurately read unique characteristics in a person’s face.

Computers could register a negative match when plastic surgery significantly alters the features of the passport holder. This will lead to frustration on the part of both government agencies and passport carriers as it has to be proven, beyond doubt, that the person holding the passport and the one in the photographs in the records are one and the same.

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To avoid this, many countries are suggesting that dramatic facial surgery – particularly those that affect the cheeks, jaw, and nose – be followed by a visit to one’s local passport assistance office. If the associates there feel that biometrics in facial recognition could be compromised, a new passport photo might need to be taken, regardless of the validity of the passport at the time. This is to prevent the inconvenience of identification issues in airports.

Similarly, another recommendation is to have a certificate issued by the plastic surgeon validating the person’s identity. This method, however, is not fully recognized by all countries and it is best to know the exact rules regarding photo identifications.

CKGS is a leading global processing company dealing with all aspects of visa and passport applications. For more information about its services, please like this Facebook page.

Indian government pushes Digital India to make passport applications easier

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Passport applications in India are expected to become easier with the new Digital India program. This government initiative aims to improve the current set-up in terms of both processing speed and efficiency. Digital India extends to other forms of online applications such as driving licenses and pensions. According to Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the program will operate on the focus of Pillar 5: eKranti, which basically means that government services will be available to citizens online through an integrated and interoperable system.

The program is still in its natal stage, and bugs are expected. When considering the scale of the country, Indian government officials forecast the program to reach full optimization in around five to six years. This is also because the ultimate goal of Digital India is to provide online services for all conceivable applications, even such services as utility payments, municipality records, public distribution systems, etc. Its initial iteration, however, places emphasis on passport records.

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This has no bearing on prevailing Indian passport regulations. The government is slowly launching the program, and many sectors will only be reached by the end of the year. Still, applicants should speak with their consular advisors and determine whether their passport application would be available soon. Take note that the transition period may include some challenges but government officials assure applicants that everything should be operational in the next few months.

CKGS offers superior support services for passport and visa applications for consulates applying in India. Learn more by liking this Facebook page.

Indian spring: Where to spend the cool and colorful season in India

Indians treasure the season of spring because of their usually humid climate. With colorful festivals across the nation, spring is the best time to explore the country. For those who want to see India in full bloom, here are some suggestions on where to go.

Darjeeling, West Bengal

Most people who are familiar with Darjeeling must have known it because of the tea. Aside from having the best tea, the place also boasts of monasteries and temples perfect for those who plan to go soul searching. With its view of tea plantations and snow-capped mountains, Darjeeling will usher wanderers toward breath-taking moments.

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Valley of flowers, Uttrakhand

Experience the flowers in full bloom in Uttrakhand, south of Himalayas. Capture the view with rows after rows of different flowers at this national park as the view of the Nanda Devi, the highest mountain in India, provides a soothing background to the bursting colors.

Gangtok, Sikkim

A year-round tourist attraction, Gangtok is at its most colorful at the peak of spring. Overlooking the Himalayas, Gangtok is perfect for those who want to be immersed in the local culture as it has great food, numerous places of worship, and cottages for an authentic Indian homestay experience.

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When in India during the spring, travelers can also enjoy celebrating the Holi festival. With colorful powder called gulal thrown at everyone, the celebration is a symbol of good’s triumph over evil and the release of unity, joy, and freedom for everyone.

Cox & Kings Global Services, is a specialist business process outsource agency that focuses on serving consular sections of diplomatic missions with administrative support and managing non-judgmental tasks connected to the entire lifecycle of visa, passport, and consular application process. Read more about different Indian travel destinations and festivals on this blog.

Experiencing Indian culture and history through national landmarks

India is one of the biggest countries in the world, both in terms of population and geographical extent. It also holds one of the richest and most storied civilizations the world has ever known. Here, a wide range of scenery, national monuments, traditions, and sacred places can be experienced, which could partially introduce someone to what the Indian culture and identity can really be all about. As a guide to travelers who are interested in visiting the Asian subcontinent, here are some of the most interesting landmarks that the country has to offer:

1. The Ghats of the Ganges River

In India, Ghats are known as a series of steps which lead down to a body of water, usually a river. The Ghats of the Ganges River is of immense cultural importance because it is one of the holiest places in the country and indeed, in the world. Events such as Aarti, bathing, cremation, and morning meditation occur in the area. There are currently around 85 Ghats along the river.

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2. The Taj Mahal

The ever-iconic Taj Mahal is distinctively Indian. To this date, many tourists still mistake the structure as a mansion or castle where in fact, it is a mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Architecturally, it a fine mix of Mughal, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian styles.

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3. The Harmandir Sahib

The Harmandir Sahib is a golden temple situated in Amritsar, Punjab. It is a Sikh Gurdwara (or place of worship) and is one of the h0liest shrines in the country. Sikhs often visit this temple as a pilgrimage site. In the temple, a Holy Granth Sahib or a Sikh scripture is always present.

Travelling to India? Know what documents and other preparations you need to work on by visiting Cox & Kings Global Serviceswebsite.

Efficient travel security through biometric data

Biometrics record data that are unique to an individual. A full profile of a person can be made out from a sufficient amount of biometric data, and even the simplest of biometrics can identify individuals relatively easily.

Many nations around the world have, in the name of security, incorporated biometric data into their consular services, putting an indelible identification mark on all travelers within their border. In theory, this can provide a range of benefits ranging from impeding cross-border criminal activity to protecting individual travelers from identity theft.

In theory, biometric security aims to streamline the security process, especially in situations like international travel that requires both thoroughness and speed. Some applications of biometric technology still in development, such as non-tactile fingerprinting, even offer to eliminate (or, at least, remedy) common airport nuisances like long queues without compromising the safety of travelers.

No security system is perfect, and some doubt the ability and effectiveness of biometric data in security situations. Biometric data can still be forged sufficiently, albeit with great difficulty, and significant errors in the biometric analysis may impede more legitimate travel by individuals whose data cannot be read.

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To the surprise of even the most skeptical, however, even the most rudimentary forms of biometric data can provide surprisingly effective means of security, justifying their use in comprehensive security plans such as those needed for travel.

Cox & Kings Global Services is a specialist business process outsource agency that concentrates in providing administrative support solutions for the consular sections of diplomatic missions. Visit this website for more on the company and its range of services.