By Sandip Hor | Published: 24th August 2014 06:00 AM |
Indians have been travelling to the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji since the late 19th century. Then it was to work in British-owned sugar plantations, now it’s for vacations. Fijians warmly welcome outsiders to participate in their ceremonies, such as the ‘Yaqona’ ritual. It involves imbibing quantities of the non-alcoholic sedating drink ‘Kava’, made from dried pepper roots. “It is drunk sitting cross-legged on the floor and sipping it from a wooden bowl. It looks muddy, but definitely makes some chirpy enough to sing and dance. Fiji is all about happiness and song—at all occasions from birthdays and weddings to funerals. They welcome and bid farewell to visitors by singing as well, so the first word one hears at the airport is ‘Bula’ meaning greetings. Fiji is a gastronomic paradise: enjoy a ‘Lovo’ feast where fish, meat and vegetables, wrapped in coconut or banana leaves, are slow-cooked in an underground oven. The cooking process, which takes almost six hours, is ceremonial. Fiji comprises over 300 islands though only around 100 are occupied. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are the two largest, occupied by most of Fiji’s 900,000 residents. Nadi on the west coast of Viti Levu is the nation’s international gateway town while Suva, on the same island’s south east corner, is the capital.
Fiji is an affair with sun, sea and sand. Taking a cruise for a few nights through its coconut grove islands, edged with golden sand bordering the blue sea, with rainforest-clad mountain ranges in the backdrop is a unique Fiji experience. Furthermore, the islands abound with coral reefs, ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
A sailboat on the blue? A wave crashing on a glittering beach? A Fijian smile? It’s just happiness taking a selfie.
Getting There: Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) flight to Australia from where Fiji Airways (www.fijiairways.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Virgin Australia (www.virginaustralia.com) have regular flights to Nadi.
Island Cruise: Blue Lagoon Cruises (www.bluelagooncruises.com) and others available
Land Accommodation: 20 minutes drive from Nadi Airport, Denarau Island offers several resort-style accommodation options from international brands like Sheraton, Westin, Hilton and Radisson Blu.
Indian Cuisine: There are several Indian restaurants throughout Fiji for those who fancy desi food; Indigo (www.indigofiji.com) at Denarau Island is highly rated.