Photo of the Day (11.27.10)

I doubt too many people can claim that they’ve stared down the barrel of a tank out of sheer curiousity. Luckily for Flickr user Bernard SD, this tank in Hyderabad, India was out of commission when he snapped the shot.

I think there are a few things that make this photo a great shot, but the most striking is the detail of the rifling at the tip of the barrel. The contrast of the carefully shaped metal and the way the threads taper off into black nothingness is visually stunning. By using this as the point of focus and blurring out the rest of the tank, it takes a somewhat familiar object and shows it from a new perspective. It’s a beautiful photograph, which is unnerving when you consider what the object’s purpose actually is.

Have you taken photos in the face of danger? Share them with the world! Submit to our Flickr Pool and it could be our next Photo of the Day.

In India, the Focus is on Mid-Market Hotels

A combination of growing demand from business travelers and a souring economy have led hotel developer Accor to focus on mid-range hotels in the world’s largest countries. So far in India, the formula seems to be a good one. As the country grows economically, more people will be traveling there for business purposes. Smaller businesses or independent entrepreneurs who don’t want to spring for a 5-star room have few options. Accor’s budget brand, Ibis, has already opened one location in Gurgaon. The company also has two Novotels in Hyderabad. These hotels are focused on providing solid service with a few extras, but nothing in terms of the over-the-top luxury seen at a 4 or 5-star. The strategy is to be attractive both to domestic and international business travelers.

Currently, over half of Accor’s India bookings come directly from corporate buyers seeking bulk rates. However, the mid-range prices and services could be attractive to independent travelers seeking an economical alternative to India’s current hotel options.

Visa problems? Maybe you should visit the Visa God

My fellow Indians have found a new way to secure visas to the West. Go to Hyderabad, take 11 rounds of the Chiklur Balaji Temple and voila, your visa will not be rejected.

A temple that has been around for about 100 years hardly drew anyone until recently, thanks to the reincarnation of Hindu Lord Vishnu into “Visa God”, it now draws 100,000 visitors a week. People go as early as 6am to avoid the rush.

Commerce graduate and ex-Unilever employee who is now head priest of the temple (his father’s), couldn’t have put his business knowledge to better use as he crafted this idea while Hyderabad worked towards developing into a key technology hub. The temple even has a website!

“Want it bad enough and you will get it”; “just believe in it enough and it will happen”, “Law of Attraction“; praying for what you want; all that I can understand and reason with; but turning a God into a “Visa God” and driving traffic under that excuse, is a bit hard to stomach. The fact that it has worked, leaves me amused and wondering. I suppose the idea sprouts from that of believing and faith, but it’s a bit far-fetched, no? Apparently, nobody who has greeted the Visa God has been disappointed.

From the article: Mr. Babu of Indus Entrepreneurs says the appeal of the Visa God boils down to the following: “Even if you’re not religious, you say, ‘Why not? I can just go and spend a few minutes and get a visa.”

My country, yet again, leaves me very, very confused.