Z – ZAYED | #AtoZChallenge

Z – Zayed | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Wherever you are in Dubai or in fact, the whole of UAE you are bound to come across one name – Zayed or Sheikh Zayed. Everything, from roads to hospitals, from malls to mosques, from universities to airports and from monuments to museums has been named after him and you can see his portraits proudly displayed. He is popularly known as ‘Father of their nation’ and last year Dubai, along with UAE, celebrated the ‘Year of Zayed’.

The year 2018 marked 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, who passed away in 2004. His son and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had declared that 2018 will officially be known in the UAE as the Year of Zayed – to commemorate this historic national occasion.

Sheikh Zayed always promoted and encouraged multicultural diversity and is evident from the ‘open-door-open-culture’ policy at various monuments including the Grand Mosque and Jumeirah Mosque. Consistent with his values the Year of Zayed involved people of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds in the UAE and internationally. During his reign, he was considered one of the most liberal rulers and leaders among leaders of all the Gulf countries.

The Year of Zayed had the following vision and mission:

Vision: A year-long, international commemoration in celebration of the life, legacy and values of an inspirational world leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the United Arab Emirates.

Mission: Commemorate the life, values and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as an inspirational world leader, encouraging future generations to honor his legacy and fulfill his vision of prosperity, tolerance and peace.

It theme of the “Year of Zayed’ revolved around the values of wisdom, respect, sustainability and human development.

The ‘Year of Zayed’ did not only have domestic reach but it was very well recognized worldwide. British Museum named a gallery after Sheikh Zayed to acknowledge the UAE leader’s lifelong commitment to heritage and culture. The main street in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, was named after the late leader. Stockholm Mosque, in Stockholm, Sweden is also known as Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s Mosque.

There are many things named after him in UAE to commemorate his legacy. The Sheikh Zayed road is the most important road in Dubai as it serves as a lifeline to the whole of Dubai and further connects Sharjah-Dubai-Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a modern wonder of the world. Zayed University, a government-sponsored higher education institution with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

He is often referred to as ‘the man who turned the desert green’. I have a twist to this, for me, he is the man ‘who turned the sand of the desert into gold’.

What you see of Dubai and UAE today and their importance whether it is in tourism or export-import or oil exports, it can all be attributed to their wonderful leadership. I believe no place on Earth has seen so much transformation in the last century where a generation in their life went from being poor nomads to creating the world’s tallest structures.

I would like to end this post and this challenge based on my theme – ‘Dubai – City of Gold’ by quoting some of my favorite quotes from Sheikh Zayed.

The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education.

Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth, which God has provided us in the service of the nation.

Islam affords women their rightful status and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect.

No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who has been a part of this journey. This was the first time I was attempting this challenge and that too with two themes. I am elated and relieved both at the same time that I could reach the finish line. To all those who became friends on this journey called life – Welcome aboard! To others my heartfelt wishes for your future endeavors and a biiigggg hug.

I will forever cherish this experience of pursuing my passion with patience and persistence.

For all those who were part of this wonderful journey,

For all those who believe in women equality,

For all those who live in the city of Dubai,


For all those who believe in the vision of Sheikh Zayed…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.


B – Burj Khalifa

B – Burj Khalifa #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The moment you land in the ‘Vegas of the Middle East’ you are surely going to be left spellbound by the spectacle known as ‘Burj Khalifa’. Dubai is known as the ‘City of gold’ for many reasons and one of them is their opulence. There isn’t a superior example of this extravagance in the entire world than the ‘Tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa.’

About the building:

It is 829.8 m high with more than 160 stories. Built at a whopping $1.5bn its construction started in January 2004 and was officially opened in January 2010. Adrian Smith, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose firm designed the Willis Tower and One World Trade Center, designed Burj Khalifa. The design of the building, if viewed from the top, resembles a ‘Hymenocallis or Spider Lily’ flower – a regional desert flower.

The observatory deck of the building is located at a height of 1483 feet or 452.1 meters. Burj Khalifa boasts 2957 parking spaces, 304 hotels, and 900 apartments.

The story around its naming:

There is a very interesting story around the naming of Burj Khalifa. It was either going to be named ‘Al Burj’ or ‘Burj Dubai’ when the construction started. In 2004 when the construction began the real estate market was at its boom but unfortunately for Dubai, the markets crashed followed by a global slowdown during 2008-09. Dubai fast vent into severe debts. It was their sister emirate of Abu Dhabi that extended their support and pledged to bail Dubai out of this. As a mark of respect (as they say), it was named after the head of UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan and hence the name ‘Burj Khalifa.’

How to reach:

The main building is in an area known as Dubai Downtown, which is built around the Burj, keeping it at its center. For one to reach the base of the building they need to go to the Dubai Mall and then follow directions to reach the building. If you just want to catch a glimpse of the building then the place where the fountain is there in Dubai Mall, that is the best place to view its might and it is free too.

You can also have a panoramic view of the city from their observatory deck, which is on the 124th floor. You need to pay a price to go up there. It is around 140 AED if you book online in advance, otherwise, you can always walk up to the counters and pay a nominal price of around 400 AED to get the highest view in the world.

If you want to spend some more you can choose the ‘At the Top – Burj Khalifa Sky’ package where you can enjoy the hospitalities of the Sky lounge at level 148.

If you can make the arrangements and if and only if you manage to get inside the Dubai Mall, there is no better way to celebrate your New Year’s Eve than witnessing the fireworks at Burj Khalifa.

World Records:

  • Tallest building in the world.
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world.
  • Highest number of stories in the world.
  • Highest occupied floor in the world.
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world.
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world.
  • Tallest service elevator in the world.

Some astounding facts:

It’s three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

The tip of the tower is visible from as far as 80 km that means wherever you are in Dubai – the Khalifa is never out of your sight.

It is heavy…really heavy – the weight of the concrete is equivalent to 100,000 elephants.

The Burj Khalifa elevator speed is 10 meters per second and it hardly takes a minute to reach the observatory deck on the 124th floor.

At the peak of construction, 12,000 workers worked on the building per day.

If you thought that this is splurging at its best, wait till the tower in Saudi Arabia is completed. It is tipped to surpass Burj Khalifa and claim the number one spot in the tallest building of the world.

If you are still not shocked with that, Emaar properties have already announced and even showcased the prototype that they will come with an even taller tower. They are just waiting for Saudi to complete its tower and declare its final height.

Whatever the critics might say, it is a modern marvel of the world and placed Dubai right at the top of the world. It is definitely a worthy experience irrespective of what it costs. Don’t miss it.

For all those who love tall buildings,

For all those who enjoy the luxury,

For all those who like the wonders of the world,


For all those who love Burj Khalifa…

It’s not a goodbye

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the second post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

B – Burj Khalifa

Read the Previous post here:

A – Arrival in Dubai

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘C’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.


A – Arriving in Dubai

A – Arriving in Dubai #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The first thing I got to hear when I told my relatives that I would be going to Dubai for a year was, “Ohh! You are going to Saudia or Saudi.”

Let me begin with this. It is a general misconception in our part of the world that Dubai is in Saudi Arabia or going to any gulf country is like going to Saudi. The people are a little apprehensive about traveling to the Gulf given the strict nature of their customs and rules.

Well, Dubai is the extreme opposite of that and to be clear it is not a country either. It is an Emirate and a part of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is most cosmopolitan in nature in the Middle East – about 85-88% of the population is expats. I may be going overboard but Dubai is like the Vegas of the Gulf.

Dubai International Airport

Dubai international airport is the busiest airport in the world for international travel for the past two consecutive years. There are currently three Terminals operational with Terminal 3 being exclusive to the Emirates Airlines. It is also the largest airport terminal in the world. There is an even bigger airport coming up soon known as the Al Maktoum International Airport. You can also choose to fly to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah depending on the flight you select. Each of them is only about 90 mins drive from Dubai.

There is a lot you can do even if you are traveling with a transit visa and only have a few hours to spend at the Dubai International Airport. The airport has a Zen garden, innumerous retail shops, and amazing lounges with spas. There is even a ‘snoozecube’ in terminal 1, where you can take a nap in their soundproof cabins. The airport has a five-star hotel and one can check in without exiting the premises.

Things to keep in mind before arriving in Dubai:

Climate: Apart from its towering skyscrapers Dubai is often associated with hot temperature. Best time to visit is October to March – during summers it can get really hot but it is one of those cities where it is mandatory to keep every place air-conditioned. Even the bus stops on the roads are glass covered and air-conditioned. So if you aren’t an extreme outdoor person – the summers won’t harm you that much.

Medicines: I personally didn’t find much information on this online but telling you from my experience. If you are carrying any medicine please keep a prescription for all the medicines. Not all the medicines are allowed and considered safe which might otherwise be in your country. If you are caught during checking it can cause a lot of trouble.

Respect their culture and views: Dubai being officially an Islamic city has its share of customs and cultures. All I can advice is, please be respectful of that. It is the least conservative of all the places in Gulf. If you traveling during Ramadan, be polite in your habits. Most of the restaurants are either closed or covered during daylight hours. Avoid PDA in public places and don’t take snaps of locals without their permission.

Clothes: Pack according to the weather. It will hardly rain in Dubai but during the winters it can get chilly and windy in the nights. You can swim in bikinis and walk in shorts but do cover up one you are in places where it is clearly mentioned. Dress modestly.

Avoid flouting rules: If a city has to maintain its superlative standards it has to be governed by strict rules. There are strict traffic rules, especially for the expats. You can be severely fined for jaywalking.

Safety: With stern policies and law, comes greater safety. It is among one of the safest places. Even if there is unrest in that part of the world UAE is considered one of the safest countries.

Alcohol and Food: Contrary to the assumption, Dubai is not a dry city. Having said that you need to procure a license if you want to purchase liquor and take home. Though there is no restriction on pubs and bars. The city offers a wide variety of places to dine and drink, offering every possible cuisine in the world, depending on your class and taste.

Travel: The city has a pretty efficient public transport system with metros, taxis, and buses. The metros and buses can be boarded with the same card but taxis are the best way to move around the city. You will find one at any hour of the day. It might seem expensive compared to the other options but it is one of the cheapest if compared globally.

Weekend: Important thing to keep in mind when you are planning your trip to Dubai that the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Sunday to Thursday is their weekdays.

Mecca of Shopping: Dubai is the home to many of the biggest shopping festivals. Do try to visit during any one of them and you surely won’t be disappointed. From January to February it hosts its biggest festival – DSF – Dubai Shopping Festival.

Visa, Flights and Stay: Get your visas done in Advances. For an Indian, a regular visit visa for 30 days would be done in 4-5 business days. Be careful about the visa – if you overstay in any manner then there are hefty penalties. Please book the flights in advance if you are traveling during the festival season or around the New Year. Similarly for the Hotels; if you traveling around the New Year’s Eve you will literally have a lot of difficulty in finding a place to stay. Hence plan in advance.

Though Dubai is home to many of the biggest and largest things in the world, the biggest delusion is one need to be super rich to visit Dubai – it isn’t like that. Everyone can find things depending on your budget.

To be honest, if you aren’t disturbing, troubling or interfering with anyone – Dubai is a fantastic cool fun place to be in. It totally depends on what kind of traveler you are and what all you want to visit and focus on. The best part is Dubai will definitely have something of interest for every kind of traveler.

For all those participating in AtoZ,

For all those who love shopping,

For all those who love travel,


For all those who love Dubai…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the first post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

A – Arriving in Dubai

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘B’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme – ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.