Friday, July 19, 2013

Mid-day meal horror.... How can be bring about change in the system?

The recent events of mid-day meal horrors reveal so much about the society we live in, a country where none of the bureaucrats are ready to take responsibility for the tragic event which took place at chhapra and the political parties are busy playing the blame game all around.  22 innocent kids lives had to be taken for the present day media to shower light on this badly implemented scheme. It can be agreed that providing meals on a daily basis to 120 million kids in over 17 states is a humongous task, but with some changes in the system, I feel this wonderful scheme of providing nutritious food to kids can be implemented in a better way so as to ensure another Chhapra like incident never occurs.
I would suggest implementation of something like a hub and spoke system, the “hub” being a common kitchen where the food is cooked for all the “spoke” schools in and around the district and towns.
How does this work?
A group of 20 -30 nearby schools in the radius of 30 kms can have a common kitchen complex.  A complex with good storage facility equipped with modern cooking facilities can make the job a whole lot easier. Ensuring quality and timely monitoring also becomes much simpler.
·         Easier to provide necessary requirements such as water and storage facilities.
·         Cleanliness can be ensured by periodic monitoring.
·         Ensures better quality of food to kids.
·         Money spent on these schemes will also be easy to track and seen to it that full allocated funds are put to use.
·         Supply of rations will also be easier. Having a facility in a city can reduce the transportation costs.

Although it may have some drawbacks such as delivery of food to the individual school, I personally feel it should not be such a huge problem. We can have few vans to do the job and the cost of delivering should not be extra as money is being saved as a whole by not actually delivering rations to individual schools. If providing transportation facility is not possible, public transport can do the job. India is a well connected country and I’m sure there are ample public transport to most of the towns and villages.
The media should also try to track various such schemes on a timely basis. It is the power of media which can play a huge role in bringing about change. Although it might seem to be a uphill task to track each and every scheme, random checks can be done time and again to ensure the implementation is being done in a right way.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

AIR INDIA - A refreshing experience !!!!

Few days ago, sometime in Oct when I booked a ticket via our Flag carrier AI, I was very skeptic about many things and just hoped that the things have gotten better than my last travel about two years ago to Singapore which was rather unpleasant in many ways. We found a "nail" in the cold sticky so called Pongal, the food was horrible and tasteless, so were the crew taking care of the passengers on board.
Nail found inside Pongal 
The aircraft was badly maintained, torned seats where the push back option was just a mere button and nothing more. The seating area was very dull, unclean and we also came across a window which had a very tiny hole in it, blowing air right into one of my friends face.Also the inflight entertainment system was not upto the mark. Except for couple of radio channels, we had nothing to get ourselves entertained with.  Seeing all these, I was not surprised to see more than 60% of the seats unoccupied.!! 

And now.....To my surprise, as I stepped inside,the flight was jam packed and more than 50% of the travellers were non Indians which immediately gave out some positive air. The International routes have brand new aircrafts. I travelled by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner which boasts of having a composite fuselage and thereby increasing the fuel efficiency upto 20 % greater distance as it reduces the overall weight of the aircraft. It is also considered to be the most environmentally freindly aircraft in the world. The crew also boasted about having a knob by which one could control the tint on the window. The lighting inside was very refreshing and was similar to the outside environment designed to comfort the passenegrs to acclimitize very quickly to the jet lags. The seats in the economy section was also very spacious with 3*3 rather than the usual arrangement of 3-4-3. 

The crew on board have undergone some sort of traing program I guess !  all of them were surprisingly were warm and friendly. Considering the flight to be a 7 hour deal, I expected a good inflight entertainment service. Although the screens were not glare free, but the system as a whole has had a major upliftment with some latest movies and songs on board specially in the Indian category. They could do better in the English dept is what I felt, may be add some good Sitcoms and National Geographic documentaries apart from just movies thereby adding some more choices to the flyers. 
Coming to the food, I gotta admit, I had some very good Indian food that night. Hot Indian curries with rice and vermecelli payasam. The paneers were also fresh ones used in Palak sabji and to my surprise, they had ample choices in the drinks dept & were also pretty generous!!  I guess they could have done better in the breakfast and given out hot idlis or upmas rather than just bread-butter. Also felt they can reduce some cheapness by not diluting the coffee too much. 

In all I felt, it was a good experience when compared to Etihads and Emirates. I'd choose AI any day over the others if the airline continues to operate in this fashion. I also hope my other Indian fellow travellers come out of this mindset of AI to be a bad airline and choose more often to fly with our National carrier thereby increasing the revenues of the same and also developing a brand name which I sense has a lot of potential to becoming one of the best Airline.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Goodbye Michael !!

As the legend hangs up his boots tomorrow, yet another amazing chapter in the racing history will be closed, hopefully not forever. For many from this generation, very little about Schumacher’s greatness is known considering his last win came in the year 2006  and the second journey, according to what many would put it off as one great flop show, which btw.. I'm sure the Alonso's... Hamiltons... Vettels.. know for a fact that the story would have turned out different had he had a slightly better car.  But having followed the sport closely since last 15 years and watched every single race, I can bet with anything that he has been one of the best drivers to have ever competed. Some say Ayrton Senna is the arguably the greatest of all time, well,to be honest, I have never seen Senna race although I have seen numerous videos to make myself believe that he is surely at par with Schumacher and can be pinned as the top drivers F1 has ever produced. 

Michael has been a true inspiration when it comes to sheer determination and passion, the fact that at 43 years of age he challenged himself to driving a monster at well above 300kmph for roughly two hours literally getting thrown out by the Lateral G forces ,close to 5 G's sometimes and at the end losing fluids up to 3 kilos every other weekend and not to forget the fellow racers who are well below his age says a lot about this bloke!!. If not for some bad luck and power under those wheels of Mercedes powered car, 2012 surely would have turned out to be a different story. 
Having said that, watching him race every single lap this year has been a true joy, be it holding back Vettel or Hamilton or Raikkonen  for many laps or putting up an amazing pole position show in Monaco or the Podium finish in Valencia, it has been a true delight. 

Facts never lie... so for someone with 308 race starts, 91 wins and 68 poles under his belt with seven drivers title is a record which will take some time before it gets broken. The fact that those 68 laps were the most perfect one time laps tells us about perfection in his driving and the skill to replicate the same performance on various circuits at different conditions. One must remember that back then, the drivers did not get multiple opportunities like today’s Qualifying format to set a quick time on the sheet. All they had was a trial lap followed by the final run, so to do that on 68 occasions is pretty impressive. I should also consider myself to be fortunate to have seen the dancing Ferrari on a rainy day. When it rains, no one can even bother to get anywhere near him. It’s like he has a sixth sense of where the actual grip is available and uses every single mm of it and thereby pushing the cars to the limit.  These were done in not cars of today’s F1 wherein monitoring every single detail is very easy and the safety of the driver and the car has a whole has taken new heights, but in those sheer monsters of 3,5 V8 and a 3L V10 in which he won his titles. These cars were also not so easy to drive unlike the ones of today where most of the stuff can be altered by remote access.

Five of those seven titles have come in a great fashion. If you look back at the statistics, the points difference b/w him and the second driver is almost 50% higher. This was the dominance, the dominance which was so powerful that they went on to win the constructors for five years in a row. 

The strategy of Ferrari crew has also played a major role in his success. The brains of Ross brawn and Jean Todt, the amazing fuel and tyre strategies, pit stops of course, everything was so damn perfect. Not to forget the belief they had in their driver to make his own decisions while on the track. I remember on numerous occasions he turned down the radio call of coming into pits and took his own decisions.

One of the best of all races has to be the Interlagos 2006 where he started 8th on the grid, made up two places before getting a puncture from Fisichella to drop all the way back in the grid. The gap was so much that you could notice Massa(who was leading the race) a few seconds behind him. Just when everyone  thought that his then last race turned out to be a disaster, he surprised everyone with a fourth place finish asserting his position as one of the best to have ever played this sport. Most of the laps from then, went on to be the fastest laps of the race, after every single lap, a flash would pop up on tv screen saying 'Fastest Lap M Schumacher' .. finally finishing a credible 4th place. If not for the first Ferrari engine failure in 5 years in Suzuka GP 2006, he would have made his title tally to Eight.
Schumacher Brazilian GP 2006

Records held by the God !!

Championship titles7 (1994199520002001200220032004)
Consecutive titles5 (20002004)
Championship won with most races left6 (2002)
Largest championship-winning margin
(pre-2010 points system)
67 points (2002)
Race wins91
Consecutive wins[N 1]7 (2004EuropeHungary)
Wins in a season13 (72%) (2004)
Wins in a season for a runner-up[N 2]7 (2006)
Wins at Monza (Formula One)5
Wins at Spa (Formula One)6
Wins in Canada (Formula One)7
Wins with one team72 (Ferrari)
Wins at the same Grand Prix8 (France)
Different Grands Prix won22
Longest time between first and last wins14 years, 32 days
Total years with a win15 (19922006)
Consecutive years with a win15 (19922006)
Second places43
Consecutive top two finishes15 (Brazil 2002Japan 2002)
Podiums (Top 3 finishes)155
Podium finishes in a season17 (100%) (2002)
Consecutive podium finishes19 (US 2001Japan 2002)
Championship points1,560
Points finishes220
Consecutive points finishes24 (Hungary 2001Malaysia 2003)
Races / Laps / Distance led142 races / 5,111 laps / 24,144 km[196]
Pole positions68
Front row starts116
Fastest laps77
Fastest laps in a season[N 3]10 (2004)
Doubles (Pole and win)40
Hat tricks (Pole, win and fastest lap)22
Hat tricks in a season5 in 2004[N 4]
Races with one team181 (Ferrari)
                                                                                                      Source: Wiki

It will surely take sometime to get used to not seeing MSC again on the starting grid, millions of fans will miss him irresective of him starting last or first, bad or good car..!!
Some of the most will be......

1) The Ecstatic podium jump, although been a while now.. still have    fresh memories of the same.
2) Michael, The Rain Master.... On any given rainy day, expect him to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
3) The Commitment to win, whatever it takes.
4) Epic Overtakes.
5) The Technique of holding cars, (although the latest rule have spoiled the entire thing of leaving a car distance width)

Friday, November 9, 2012

An year in schland.....

It’s been over a year since I've been residing in Deutschland and thought I could pen down my experiences. Most part of the post is emphasized on the “Studying in Germany” topic. Anyone planning to fly here may find it informative. The motive is to build an imaginary bridge between India and Germany also in the process try to change some miss perceptions which people may have.


Germany is undoubtedly considered as the leaders in Engineering, especially Mechanical Engg, the big gaints when it comes to  Machineries & Autos with the likes of AUDI , BMW, BOSCH to name a few. Germans also are believed to be some of the smartest people on the planet. The country in general considered to be one of the most powerful nation in terms of Human Development Index, Technology, Innovation and Growth but when the thought of studying in Germany arises, the other not so considered questions of extreme climatic conditions, lack of availability of Indian food or groceries come into picture. Some may also assert that the people are not welcoming and it’s hard for anyone from country like India to live among the Germans and so on. These are some of the issues which concern most of the Indian parents and society in general. I remember how one of a leading store owner back in India told me a story about his niece having to returning back unable to adjust to the life here and also how hard it was to even find drinking water. The last but not the least factor is of the language barrier that very few people speak English and how hard it becomes to survive. Well although the opinions change from person to person, at least the bigger picture suggests the above mentioned, I believe. !!

Before I start trying to corroborate the above ill perceptions, I'd like type in a few lines as to why I chose this part of the world and why Deutschland in particular. I have always been an Auto lover since my childhood and for no concrete reasons back then, I became a fan of the Trio German Auto giants of BMW, AUDI and Mercedes. All I knew was they are very reliable, superior in quality, powerful machines and of course, only rich people could afford them. So the innate urge to pursue studies in this field was always inside me and there are not many countries you can put ahead of Deutschland when it comes to Automobiles. Taking advice from a professor who had lived here for a while helped me in making my decision to study here more firm. I remember him telling me how different the teaching style, the content of studies and how better are the opportunities when it comes to research.

To be honest, I never thought about food, climate or my future career prospects or my hefty bank loans which I  have to pay back for helping me study here. I was excited to land on this soil. learn new technical stuffs, anything and everything about Auto's, the language, continue my love for Table Tennis, visit places and increase my country count, meet new people, get to know their cultures and in general to know how exactly are the things here different than the things back in India and how is this country so successful.

The experiences I have had so far in the last year has fortunately inclined on the positive side as I had hoped for. I'm sure very few people would disagree with me on this. To be honest, the people here are very warm and welcoming. I study in RWTH Aachen, one of the good universities in Germany over 35,000 students in which thousands come from all corners of the world which clearly gives out the message that Germany welcomes the world.

 The students are also very affable and easy to mingle although they can be garrulous sometimes. Make sure to have some time with you before questioning anyone “how are you” or as they say here “Wie Geht’s” as you can end up listening to a long story if they are not having a good day. Not only are we excited to learn about them, they are very interested in us, our country, culture, food etc which I've personally experienced by living with some of the best floor mates. We cook often, chat on various topics and how each one of them is different than the other one and wonderful it is to experience all these. One must understand that, you do not come here only for the sake of academics alone although that is the main motive. The things that we experience apart from studies are equally important specially when we live in the era of Globalization. 

When it comes to academics, the students from abroad, especially Indians find it difficult to adjust in the beginning as it’s totally different than the just bookish approach followed in India. The books are periodically updated; the examination patterns are totally different. I remember writing pages together as answers in my university exams just vomiting the stuff by hearted the day before. Studying two weeks prior is totally sufficient to get a good score in the examinations which raise many questions about the pattern of examination. The lectures here are held by the professors themselves who act as a CEO of an Institute. In my University, RWTH Aachen there are roughly 270 Institutes working in various fields from Engineering to Medicine. Hundreds of some top quality engineers and doctors are employed in these institutes to teach research and build better technology for the future as well as spread the knowledge to the younger generation. 
IKA, Institute for Automotive Engg 
WZL, Institute for Production Technology

To make things clear, I study Automotive Engg, which is mainly taught by the Institute for Automotive Technology which has a Chair professor, professors and many engineers working on various fields of Automobile. 270 similar institutes are spread across the city of Aachen, spending millions of Euros researching on various fields. The story is similar, but of different scales in other Universities across Germany.

The pattern of examination tests a student’s ability to think & how fast can he solve the given problem. It’s usually a two hour examination, but the papers are set in a way that one needs much more time than two hours. To quote my professors words 
" It’s not about the work done.... it’s actually the power which is important ... i.e the work done to the time taken that is tested".
So one needs to practice in advance and study regularly if anyone desires to even come close to the level of grades which are easily obtainable in India.Teaching as I said before is taught by professors themselves. There is no compulsion for any student to attend classes, but you will be surprised to see the class full every single time. Sometimes, the strength is so much that we have an Auditorium of capacity 2000, completely filled up..!!

The NASA crew, Audimax  RWTH . 2012

I sometimes hear students/prospective ones concerned about rankings of European schools and how very few can be spotted in top 50's. Well to answer this, as said by the dean of Mechanical Engg and I quote
Researches are not done just for the libraries but for real world usage"
So one must not see too much into rankings as lot of factors are taken into consideration before deciding upon ranking. Students also get a very good exposure during their study years. Companies open doors to factory visits, seminars, opportunities of Interships etc. In the last year alone I had been to over 10 different industries. Events like "Bonding", where one can meet representatives from the Industries help in getting some much needed contacts and job help as there is no system of "Campus Recrutment" in this part of the world. The system of having Institutes open up lot of student reasearch assistant or "HiWi" as in Hife Wissenschaftler as its called here. Every institues having numerous topics on which students can choose to work on as a HiWi or do a thesis work. The system incorporated here in such a way that every student needs to complete two projects(Mini and a Master Thesis) during his master studies and since one of them have to be done within the university it leads to opening  up of  mutual benifits between the  students who get more opportunites in the meantime the university broadening its research base. Althought the concept of scholarship is not encouraged there are plently of HiWi postings and one can choose to work anywhere b/w 8 - 24 hours a week at around Euro 9/hour. 

Talking about weather and food, the winters can be very cold sometimes, although depends on the geography. In Aachen, the temperature goes down to as low as -20 C, but it’s not like one cannot bear the cold. With proper clothing this is not even an issue to be worried about. Inside every building it’s mandatory to have heaters, so room temps are maintained. Groceries of India are available at ease. Every small town has at least one Indian or a similar Sri Lankan store selling almost everything right from curry leaves to various grams to coconut oil. The prices are not that inflated as one would suggest, A kilo of rice may cost you around INR 60 and the similar comparison can be made with other stuffs. But yes, you will have to cook your own food, specially if you are a vegetarian as you will not find many options outside + eating outside is expensive.
Pontstrasse, Food street of Aachen

 Some might put this on the Cons, but I'd say its a new experience and not too bad to experiment ones cooking skills. But having sai that, it gets monotonous after a while, will never taste anything close to your mom's cooking.  The cost of living is cheaper than what I had expected considering I resided in Mumbai prior to shifting here. Most of the daily food items are priced in the similar ranges like in India. Some are actually cheaper..!! When we are living in the era where one can parcel at 200/- per kilo, I don’t think it is too hard to live in any part of the world. Also to mention about the college canteens or "Mensa" here provide decent food quality. Vegetarians do not get much options ,nevertheless not so bad for a meal priced fairly low. Reaching your loved ones back is also not a big deal these days with the use of Internet and cheap calling rates.

Extra curricular activites are also taken up very seriously. Don’t be surprised if you spot a 70 yr old riding a bicycle or going for a jog in the middle of the night which tells more about the average life expectancy in this country, 80+ !!. People here really know how to enjoy and lead a balanced life. You will find students partying hard on one day and studying like a nerd the other day. The Germans love beer and football !!.. The time during Euros was amazing. Each matchday was like a festival. Some might even agree that its easy to make friends over a beer. Sports is another oppotunity to meet new people and also improve upon the language.There are also ample opportunities to continue any kind of sport. My University sports department offers almost all the sports listed on the Olympic Games list. The country has some amazing money and hence the luxury of providing some amazing facilities, be it in Transportation or keeping the environment healthy and clean, providing some brilliant facilities. Music and Dance activities are also taken up by many, courses in various dance forms are offered in Universities too. So basically a University or the students not only into academics and studies but they engage themselves with a whole lot of extra curricular activites.

For someone who loves exploring places, there is no better continent than Europe with so much history and natural beauty. The Shengen agreement opens gates to 25 other countries without having to get a visa. The transportation is also brilliant in this part of the world. With like of Ryan Air and other low cost carriers, one can actually fly to other countries at as low as Euros 15.

 In Germany, students have luxury to travel at free of cost throught their respective state they live in by all all means of transport. Although travelling to other places in pretty expensive, with better planning, one can travel cheap with the likes of "Schones Wochenende"  where 5 ppl can travel across Germany for just 40 Euros and other similar offers. The travelling gets cheaper as one travels in the direction of east as I personally experiences with a recent trip to Austria and Hungary. 

So to sum it up, I 'd say one should not think too much about travelling abroad, be in any part of the world, rather be concerned about the facing new challenges ahead and look forward for some exciting time of your life. Having said all the above good things, I would really hope someday, atleast some of these gets incorporated in Indian Education system. How to do that ?? well , will try to write on this sometime.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BuDaPeSt, UnGaRn.

Buda-Pest were two different cities on the banks of river Danube, the second longest river of Europe which is now known as one "Budapest" after connected by the Famous Chain Bridge. The Buda is on the western side and the Pest part is on the eastern bank. It is the capital of Hungary and also one of the famous cities in Europe . With so much history behind its name, the beautiful castles and palaces, its worth a visit.

Well, I won't be mentioning out the places to visit in Budapest as there are ample of websites offering the same, however, I'd like to give some useful insights based on my personal experience starting of with your trip planner.If you wish to make your own Budapest trip plan, then I'd recommend Tripomatic a very useful web tool which is unambiguous and gives out useful suggestions including the GPS coordinates. , A rating of 3,5 /5

If you are a student reading this post, and I'm guessing you are not too much into museums and stuff, then I'd say two days is more than enough to explore the city. You will be covering all the must visit attractions. Art and history fans can add another day to visit the museums in peace. Many parts of the city can be covered by taking a walking tour which I prefer is the best way to explore any place. One can also do a cycle tour by hiring a bicycle on a hour/day basis at very nominal rates. 

Stay in Budapest is not at all a worry as there are numerous hotels and hostels offering at very reasonable prices. Make sure to just book in advance as Budapest is one of the hottest tourist attractions and you don't wanna end up wasting time in searching for a place to crash.
Well of course one can browse thorugh , you can find many hostels closeby to city centre and train stations, but on a personal experience note, I found Wombats to be a very good choice.
Wombats Hostel, Budapest

It is highly recommended in terms of ambience, location, facilities, price and of course the staff.  A well sized 8 bed(no bunk beds) dorm costs you about Euros 12 a night. Breakfast cost you about Euros 3,5.  Some pics are posted in this link, check it out. . I rate this place 4/5. One can also find the so called party hostels for as less than Euros 7/ night but don't book these unless you wanna party into the wee hours.  

Language is a problem as its totally different and its hard to read out the sign boards too, but I'm sure no one will have a problem to get to any place, unless you suck at reading maps. But sometimes it so happens that the names are so confusing, one can easily get lost in the so many "Utcas" like we did. We miss read a place "Kiray Utca" with the actual "Kirayi Utca" and ended up wasting two hours..!!

One of the must visits which people might just chuck it off is the caves of Szemloehegyi and Palvoelgyi. These are too good to be ignored, make sure to visit atleast one..!! Both are pretty close by to each other. We did a one hour guided tour although the caves stretches for about 40kms. It was just a walk on the trimmed to perfection cement pathway but got to see some very strange formations. It is believed that the present land bodies were once covered with water and vice versa.Hence fossils of sealife can also be spotted. Later we got to know by booking early( a week in advance atleast), one can do spelunking with an expert for about 3 hours.


Talking about the local transporation, it is amazingly cheap compared to other major cities in EU. Hungarian Underground Train network happens to be the first in the entire continent. The Trains and buses are not updated  to modern fancy coaches and can be compared to the old city buses of Chennai ( No offense), but considering the economy of Hungary, I am not surprised, although the connections of trams, local trains and buses are brilliant with very good frequencies. The day ticket costs about 3100 HUF for three persons, which is roughly 3 euros per head and the ticket is valid for 24 hours, not just till the day end. 

Coming to food, its very cheap,  a good meal costs you about Euros 7-8 max in a good restuarant. The food is a little spicy compared to the the western europe. Veggies please beware that Mc Donalds offer no veg stuff here!! . Make use of local super markets to buy fruits and chocolates. 

Some snaps of a Typical Food street.

For currency exchange, I'd recommed some forex at city centers rather than bus stations or hbf etc. we ended up losing quite a few euros initially by exchanging at the bus terminal( They sold at 240 Forints and bought at 280 Forints a Euro). The Forex in the city zentrum are pretty reliable( They sold at 280 Forints and bought at 290 odd Forints a Euro.) Initially carry a few Forints with you as you might need it to reach the Forex place atleast :p .
Ps: The prices indicated were as on my travel date, so expect changes. The link below can give you the present convertion rate.
*Currency Convertor* >> Hungarian Forint to Euros.  

Finally , if you are flying, the Airport is pretty far from the city centre, so make sure to atleast keep 45 mins for the travel as there is no direct local train and one needs do the last 20 mins by city Bus.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spelunking in the Ice Caves of Salzburg, Austria.

The Ice caves of Salzburg (popularly know as Eisriesenwelt) is perhaps one of the most beautiful place I have visited on earth so far. Its  a 42 km Stretch of beautifully created Stalagmites and Stalactites discovered sometime in the early 19th century by some daring spelunkers.   It is by far the worlds largest Ice caves situated atop a mountain roughly 1700m above the sea level. One can get there by foot or by cable car.

The trek is roughly about two hours considering the time taken to click some amazing landscapes of the Alps visible at a distance. Starting off early gives you a beautiful view of the sunlight falling on the mountain peaks, a real treat for the eyes. One must note the Trek is a bit tricky. At the Entrance counter where one can buy tickets for the Ice Caves tour and the cable car (if needed), we were advised against trekking, but we chose to do it anyway. The pathway is not very clear and easy to walk on, filled with stones and presence of no side railings for most part of the trek makes it a little scary as you have nothing to hang on to.  But if you are an enthusiast , its a must as you get to see some breathtaking views of the Alps and a good trekking experience.  After an ascent  of about 1700 m you can see the entrance to the caves.

Although one does not get to explore the entire 42 km stretch of the caves, a guided tour of first one km is possible. Its a one hour duration tour wherein , one will have to climb roughly 700 stairs equivalent to that of a 40 storey building.  No lightings inside the caves gives you a better feeling of the same.
Before entering everyone is given a Lantern & since the temp are around the freezing point,winter clothing is recommended.  The tour is comprehensively done in English and Deutsch.  The guide will explain the history , how it was discovered and of course some science.  If you are an Indian, you will find stalagmites very similar to a huge Shiv Ling, roughly 30m tall.  Its a shame that photography is not allowed inside. !!
     Pic Source:

Getting There:

* Its about 40 kms from Salzburg ,Austria close to a place called Werfen. One can reach Werfen by local "S Bahn" from Salzburg Hbf. A day  ticket is available for Euro 10/ person. It takes about 45 mins to reach Werfen Train Station.
PS: For someone travelling from Bayern area of Deutschland, a ticket called Bayern-Bohemia ticket is valid till Salzburg Hbf.
* From the station, there is a Bus service to the foothills of the mountain organised by Eisriesenwelt every half an hour starting at 8:47 in the morning. A to and fro ticket to the Werfen station costs about Euros 6 and the journey is around 20 mins. 
* At the foothills , one can buy a ticket to the cave tour, costs around Euros 9 . If you wish to reach the caves the cable car, add another Euros 11 to your budget.  Although it is possible to buy a one side travel for Euro 5,5o for someone willing to trek t0 the caves and return by cable car as we did. 

# Please make sure to carry some supplies for the day(Plenty of  water) as there is only one restuarant atop the mountain and the food is pretty expensive. If you are a vegetarian, carrying food is highly recommended.  If you on the move, a Spar supermarket inside the Salzburg Hbf is an ideal place to shop for the trip. Pick up some fruits, choc0lates & drinks. Don't heavy your bag if you are planning on trekking as it really gets difficult.
#Please don't wear any sort of Flat/Plastic soles for the trek.  Since we were not aware of the trekking pathway before, one of our group member had a very tough time by wearning one. !! 
#The caves are opened only in summers,  April - October !! .... Lockers are available for free @ the entrance incase you want to shed down some weight and explore in peace..:-) .
#If you are planning to do a one day trip of Salzburg, make sure to start off early in the day around 7 am to the Ice caves so you be back to Salzburg by 3 pm and you still have about 4 hours of day light with you, very much sufficient to have a quick tour of Salzburg city . 

The link below gives some more info about the place to plan better.