It's raining celebrities in the desert

Minister of state for foreign affairs Shashi Tharoor had a refreshing winter sojourn in the city of lakes Udaipur recently. Now the desert state is playing host to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, cricketer Kapil Dev and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit. King Gyanendra,the dethroned ruler of Nepal is also among the VIPs flocking Rajasthan to welcome the New Year.

While celebrities are raining in the desert, speculations are still rife in the sand dunes over the arrival of Rahul Gandhi along with sister Priyanka’s family.

District collector Vishnu Kant denied having any official intimation in this regard but unconfirmed sources from Jaisalmer said about tight security at one of the resorts, on the outskirts of the district headquarter to welcome the Gandhi scion.

Amidst happy tidings that Ranthambhor national park currently has 40 tigers, it has become the most sought after vacation spot in Rajasthan.

Apart from Sheila Dixit who arrived at Ranthambhor on Wednesday, noted actor Om Puri is already in the national park. Leading hoteliers in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Ranthambhor are ready to host many other highflyers, though they are keeping the guest list confidential.

With the influx of VIP tourists, Rajasthan tourism is all set to make brisk business after facing a set back after last year’s serial bomb blasts and a dull season in late 2009 following swine flu scare in the state. 

The queen of Jordan Noor Ul Hussain will usher in the New Year in the Pink City while some Bollywood faces and bands will add glamour to New Year celebrations.

Traffic jams

The state capital witnessed unprecedented traffic jams during the long weekend following increased tourist influx. The city had record number of visitors—domestic as well as overseas—around Christmas. The hustle and bustle is continuing as small and big hotels have thrown exciting offers for ball dances, candle light dinners and scintillating live band performances.

The city monuments will also be in a festive mood, well-illuminated and decorated to greet the tourists. The pleasant weather is adding to the enjoyment of visitors who have so far not experienced the usual biting cold in desert this year. With backpackers heading for Rajasthan from far and near, hotels are already announcing “no rooms” and the city is all set to witness choked roads, traffic snarls and serpentine queues at restaurants and ball rooms at the New Year.

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