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Delhi zoo hosts party for Rita the chimp aged 57

A cake will be cut and there will be gifts for the “birthday girl”, India’s oldest living chimpanzee.

Dutch customs discover rhino horn in carvings headed to Laos

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dutch customs officials say they have intercepted a crate containing 12 concealed pieces of rhinoceros horn that was being sent from South Africa to Laos. The Dutch Customs office said in a statement today that the horn pieces seized last week at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol weighed more than six kilograms (13 pounds) all together. Customs spokeswoman Gera van Weenum says the parts, some of them stamped with numbers, were found hidden inside wooden carvings of human heads. Rhinoceros horns are in high demand across Asia for their use in traditional Chinese medicine. Officials fighting the traffic in endangered species said last year that Laos is used as a transit point to smuggle wildlife parts to other Asian countries.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Capital paves way for backpackers’ hostels in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Remember Queen in which Kangana Ranaut goes on a honeymoon all by herself and ends up making friends at a backpackers’ hostel in Amsterdam? Although many would like to have options for such cheap and safe stay, unlike developed countries, travellers’ hostels are a novelty in India. But the country is fast catching up.Almost a decade ago, India was a vacation-starved nation. Most people remained tied-up to their work, reserving the weekends for relaxation. At times, when they would take a vacation to break the monotony, the idea would be to go big and splurge. The concept of staying at an economical place, for precisely the same experience, was unheard of.A change in work culture, however, has brought in a paradigm shift in how people travel, with most seeing it as an ever-unfolding gift. With more disposable income at hand, fewer obligations, and an understanding of the benefits of travel, young Indians are raring to explore.The supply mechanism has now started to catch up with demand. Many chains and standalone hostels have started mushrooming in different parts of the country. The hostel owners, most of whom have themselves stayed in such hostels, identify with what a backpacker needs — affordable, hygienic and safe accommodation, good internet connection, proximity to tourist destinations, and most importantly, common dormitory rooms to interact with other travellers from the world over.”There has been a huge demand to cater to this new lifestyle,” says Mayank Srivastava, 28, who left his job as a mechanical engineer to open the Madpacker’s hostel in an apartment at Panchsheel Park, in November 2015.”Having been an avid traveller, I realised that the best travel experience is when you meet other travellers in the course of your trips. My most memorable experiences include strangers I met in hostels outside India, which egged me on to create a similar experience here,” he adds.These hostels provide several in-house experiences for clients. Madpacker’s, for instance, has an in-house team of experts who take people out on food walks and bar crawls in Delhi. The hostel has both dormitories and private rooms for their guests and even provides unlimited tea and coffee to the inmates.Some of these hostels are open to locals as well. Mayank confirms that they host the party crowd from nearby pubs on weekends, looking for a bed in the dormitory, or people coming in from the National Capital Region (NCR), including Faridabad and Ghaziabad, who do not want to drive back. The hostel admits everyone without discrimination but a valid ID proof needs to be produced.Then there are others, such as the Jugaad hostel, that do not allow people from within Delhi. “We are open to both Indian and foreign crowd, but we do not rent a bed to someone who is from the city. This is for the safety of other guests,” says Vasu, 32, Jugaad Hostels owner, who also runs a travel company called Travelsense India.Hostel chain Zostel already has 16 units in the country at places including Delhi, Jaipur, Pushkar, Varanasi and even Goa. The prices vary based on the location. There are common rooms with colourful bean bags, terraces, board games, and books that you can exchange for your books on the go. The most noteworthy thing at these hostels is the artwork. All walls have artworks or graffiti made by travellers, pictures, and boards where these travellers write about their experiences. There is one thing in common that all these hostels provide — the experience of finding a fellow traveller to explore the city with.

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