Also known as Provincial Highway Number 20, it was closed in 2009 after Typhoon Morakot severely damaged it
Three of my grandparents were Goans and Catholic by religious orientation. That is often the long-winded explanation I have to offer in order to justify my culturally diverse lineage, especially to those who tend to caricature Goa and its denizens based on loosely crafted characters in movies and in popular media.
For generations now, absence of consistent and rigorous public discourse about Goa’s colonial history had led to a tentatively harmonious co-existence of Hindus, Catholics and Muslims. But the state’s rapidly changing demography due to in and out-migration patterns, as well as the consolidation of the Hindu right-wing in positions of authority, have led to questions being asked about history.
Founded in 1990 by Dr Jayant Balaji Atavale, a hypnotherapist, the Sanatan Sanstha is registered as a charitable organisation. A few people linked to the killing of four well-known rationalists and bomb blasts in Goa and Maharashtra were allegedly members of the Sanstha. However, their Sanstha membership has not been proved conclusively. There is very little information about its membership policy, and the locals are not allowed into the ashram.
A tale of a sensuous mermaid through her blithe adolescence, meditative adulthood and grim old age—that’s the story of Goa too
The story of Goa is in many ways our story. And we decided to tell its story from the point of view of an old mermaid. We decided to make the mermaid speak to us.
Updated: 21 May 2022 1:42 pm
Before it was closed in 2009, Taiwan's Southern Cross-Island Highway was one of the most scenic routes in the country. This 208-km-long road, from Tainan to Guanshan Township in the Taitung County, took one past you pristine lakes, hot springs, hiking trails, cypress woods and some of the most picturesque, rural parts of the countryside. Moreover, this alpine highway passed through the Yushan National Park, which offered sights of the country's highest peak, Mount Jade. All of these attractions once made it one of the country's most popular highways that could best be explored while gliding along at a speed of 30 to 40 kmph.
Road-trip enthusiasts will be glad to know that after a long period of 13 years spent in repairing the damage caused by Typhoon Morakot in 2009 and subsequent heavy rainfalls in 2012 (both of which led to entire portions of the highway getting swept away in landslides), the highway was finally reopened to the public in early May 2022. According to CNN, more than 90% of the road had been damaged and 22 bridges washed away. Ever since, the road has gone through several reconstructions, and is now finally ready. On the first day of reopening, more than 5,800 vehicles reportedly entered the highway.
Wang Ching-hsiung, a maintenance director at the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH), in conversation with Focus Taiwan, said, “The Southern Cross-Island Highway is an alpine highway for people pursuing lifestyles of health and sustainability (LOHAS).” Wang added that the reopening of the road, which was built in 1968 and opened in 1972, is expected to boost local tourism once again. The reopening of the road will help in reviving the economy as well. For the same article, Chang Hung-yun, owner of the Chief Spa Hotel, situated on the east end of the Southern Cross-Island Highway said that after Typhoon Morakot, tourists fell by more than 90 percent, and she could barely pay her employees. “This is the first time the hotel has been fully booked for a month since the highway was closed (13) years ago,” Wang stated.
To make the journey sustainable, however, people should start looking for more environment-friendly travel methods. Chen Cheng-wei, DGH maintenance director, said that road maintenance is likely to become increasingly difficult with extreme weather conditions in future. He said,” If a road needs a break, then let it take a break. Human beings cannot fight against nature, we should work with it.”
After 13 years of reconstruction work, the Southern Cross-Island Highway has reopened. @CNNTravel takes a look at the popular alpine highway, which it calls "one of Taiwan's most beautiful roads"! 🛣️https://t.co/V90ZevgR0X
Strict restrictions have, however, been implemented. The Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) stated that the Tienchi to Hsiangyang section will be closed all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that motorists will have to enter the section between 7 am to 2 pm on other days. Along with this, other limitations on the 20-km section also have to be followed. According to the MOTC, "Only vehicles under 5 metric tonnes in weight, passenger vehicles with up to nine people and motorcycles are allowed access to the section."
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