A Dali for this year’s Lantern Festival in Taiwan

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A beagle-inspired handheld lantern for the 2018 Lantern Festival was unveiled at Taipei recently with long ears that “flap” when the lantern moves and a special belly that casts a paw-shaped shadow. Representing the upcoming Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac, the lantern is designed in the shape of man’s best friend and is replete with interesting features.

The way the ears are attached to the head ensures they flap whenever the lantern is carried, said lantern designer Lin Chia-wei. “There are also hollow cuts of paws on the dog’s belly, creating cute paw shadows on the ground,” Lin said.  The lanterns are also decorated with iconic images of Chiayi County, where the annual festival will be held from March 2-11. These include Alishan forest railway, art works from the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum and aboriginal totems.

The lantern is named Dali, which means “robust” in mandarin and represents a good omen for the new year, said central government Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui. About 100,000 lanterns will be handed out in total in front of Chiayi County government and Chiayi Bus Station from Feb. 16 to March 11, 2,000 every week day and 5,000 on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to handheld lanterns, there will also be a 21-meter high main lantern featuring an aboriginal child and a Taiwan Dog, which will be displayed at the venue in Taibao City. Taiwan Lantern Festival is one of the most extravagant lantern shows in the region.

The main lantern will feature 4D visual effects for the first time, with a special refraction cover improving light penetration by 70 percent, according to the bureau. More than 20,000 light circuits will also enable LED lights in the lantern to show images made up of at least 12 million pixels, it added. Furthermore, as the central-southern county is located on the Tropic of Cancer, there will be projections of latitudes and longitudes in the sky to make the event even more unique, the bureau said. In coordination with the main lantern show, the magnificent light show will extend throughout the venue. The lantern-lighting stage will also use a moving exhibition method to display Alishan’s stunning “sea of clouds” phenomenon and feature local Chiayi scenes from mountains to sea, showing visitors the most beautiful scenery of the county. To give visitors a new lantern-viewing experience, interactive projection devices transform into large technological photospheres that can be freely enjoyed 360 degrees, giving the viewer the feeling of being in the Milky Way.

Taiwan is located in the western Pacific Ocean 160 km (100 miles) off the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland and is a convenient gateway to Asia for the Indian traveler.

FLIGHTS: A number of airlines such as China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Southern and Thai Airways fly directly or with a stopover, in to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the Kaohsiung International Airport and the Taichung International Airport from the Indian metros of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Scoot Airlines also connects the cities of Jaipur, Amritsar, Lucknow, Chennai, Trichy, Kochi, Lucknow, Bangalore and Hyderabad with a stopover in Singapore to Taipei.
The average flight time between India and Taiwan is of about 6.5 hours; and Taiwan is 2.5 hours ahead of India.

VISA: Indian Passport holders can enjoy Visa exempt entry into Taiwan for 30 days via an online system. The applicant must have at least one of the following valid or expired visas issued by UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or any of the Schengen countries.

•Valid resident or permanent resident card

•Valid entry visa (may be electronic visa)

•Resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan

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