With the rupee hovering near a record low, Indian tourists would be tempted to give foreign shores a miss this year. But staying home is not an option for Harsh Chadha, a multinational executive just back from a three-week family vacation in the UK.
Nestled in the Himalayas, Uttarakhand attracts increasing numbers of visitors every year. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of visitors to the state rose nearly 200 percent to 30.3 million. With major Hindu shrines located in the state, about 70 percent of the tourists who visit the state visit religious sites. That is a worrying sign for ecologically fragile areas such as Kedarnath – a small temple town located 3,583 metres (11,755 feet) above sea level and almost entirely washed out in recent flash floods.
Google Trends shows that the term “current account deficit” is among top searches from India in 2013. Add “gold” as a comparative keyword and the searches for the commodity Indians love are far higher.
Indian shares ended in the green in three of five trading sessions but jittery market reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement of a gradual end to its $85 billion bond-buying stimulus took the BSE Sensex down 2.1 percent for the week. The broader 50-share Nifty lost 2.4 percent.
Thousands stranded in parts of northern India awaited rescuers on Wednesday as floods caused by heavier-than-usual monsoon rains killed at least 150 people in worst-hit Uttarakhand.
Gains of 1.9 percent on Friday helped the Sensex recover some of its losses but the benchmark still ended down 1.3 percent for the week. The index ended in the red for three of five trading sessions this week.
Indian markets struggled in trade on Thursday with the Sensex falling more than 200 points while the Nifty sank over 50 points. Weak Asian markets also weighed as the Nikkei slumped more than 800 points on worries the U.S. Fed would trim its stimulus programme in the coming months.