Tag Archive | travel

The Pink City – Jaipur – Hawa Mahal

After having our lunch we went to see the legendry Hawa Mahal also known as the ‘palace of winds’. I had seen the picture of this place on various travel guides but this place was much more impressive in reality. Initially we stood across the road taking its pictures with so much traffic whizzing by. The market was buzzing with routine activities and there amidst this entire hum drum was standing this palace with five storied exterior a fascinating landmark of Rajasthan. This palace was built with the purpose to provide a place from where the ladies of the royal family could see the royal processions going down the market area through the small windows decorated with intricate latticework. In all there are 953 small windows. Our guide told us that this palace was designed in the form of Lord Krishna’s crown. Come to think of it the exterior does looks like a crown. The palace is built of red and pink sandstone. Its architecture is good and apart from crown it also looked like a beehive.

There is a big courtyard with a fountain in the middle just as you enter the palace. It was probably a place where the royal people used to celebrate the festivals. We had to climb through a narrow passage to reach the upper floors. There were no stairs, just a ramp to reach there. The view from the top was fantastic. The royal ladies must have had a great time watching from there. There was some nice stain glass window work inside the palace as well.

We had a good time here. Again the shopkeepers were kind of trying to lure us to buy things but we were now smart enough to evade them. We rushed back to the hotel to relax and pack our things as we were to leave for Agra the day after.

I am so glad that I came to this part of India. There are so many memories for me to visit whenever I am low or alone. Who so ever is reading this blog must make a genuine attempt to have a tour of Rajasthan.

So long………

The Pink City – Jaipur – City Palace & Jantar Mantar

Next day we went to see The City Palace in the heart of the Jaipur city. Many buildings, well planned gardens, temples and huge courtyards are the part of the complex. There are four gates to enter into the City Palcae. One gate is reserved for entry into the palace by the royal family only. There was a snake charmer sitting right outside the gate, but it is better if you don’t stop there to have a look at his snakes as they start asking for money afterwards. Just before the main complex of the palace is a place called Mubarak Mahal or Welcome palace. This was constructed with the purpose to welcome the dignitaries. Though now it is turned into a museum. One could see the royal costumes, shawls, silk sarees, royal cloths, jewelry and many types of musical instruments. The most amusing part was the pajamas of King Madho Singh. He was over seven feet tall and weighed 250 Kilograms. Interestingly he had 108 wives….my goodness!

On the west end of the city palace is the Chandra Mahal. It is a seven storied building. Only the ground floor which is turned into a museum is open for the public and rest of the floors are the residence of the descendants of the royal family. At the entry of the palace is a beautiful peacock gate. Many beautiful paintings, mirror work and floral decorations could be seen in the palace, but there were signs everywhere that photography is restricted. In the inner courtyard of the Chandra Mahal there are four small gates that are designed in such a way that they depict the four seasons.

The most attractive feature in the hall of private audience are the two giant silver urns, who have also made a place in the Guinness book of world record for having the largest capacity. These were made by the King to carry the Ganges water when he made his trip to England as he did not wanted to drink water in the foreign soil. The red turbaned men who stand there as guard just get into the frame while taking its picture and then demand money for being photographed. So beware of them if you plan to visit this place. One could see so many parrots flying. The queen’s palace is turned into an armory museum with all kinds of weapons. It was good, but between Amer Fort and City Palace I would definitely rate Amer fort a better bet.

Very near to the City Palace was Jantar Mantar. It’s an observatory that has many devices to measure time and make scientific and astronomical calculations. Built from stone and marble each instrument carries an astronomical scale. Our guide tried to explain to us how the instruments worked. I liked the Sundial.

We were pretty hungry after going through the palace and the Jantar Mantar. Our guide had some specific place in his mind for taking us for lunch. After lunch we planned to just scan the marker area, in case we find something interesting. The water bottle which I was carrying was really handy as one gets really thirsty wandering in the hot sun.  A tip of advice is to carry loads of water; well we can’t carry the silver urns like the King… and also to apply good sun block cream, otherwise the chances of skin burn are immense.

Shall get back to you tomorrow…..

The Pink City – Jaipur – Amer Fort

After having had a wonderful time in the elefantstic we bid our farewell to the entire team working there and made our way to Amer fort on elephants. It was a royal ride of about half an hour to the top of the hill where the fort is located. We enjoyed a magnificent view of the surroundings without wearing out our shoes. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths the fort is located high on the hill overlooking a lake. We could see so many local as well as foreign tourists there. The place was buzzing with excitement. Till now I have seen many forts in India, all of them have some unique factor of its own. Amer fort is made up of red sandstone and marble. There is a four level layout plan in this huge palace and each level has its own entry gate and courtyard. One enters the palace through the sun gate and here in the first courtyard armies used to hold their victory parades while returning from the battle field and the females of the royal family used to witness it through their windows. The second courtyard had Diwane-e-Aam or “The hall of public audience” where the king used to listen to the grievances of the general public. There was also a place called Diwane-e-khass or “hall of the private audience”. The private quarters of the Maharaja were in the third courtyard where he lived with his attendants and his family. One could see two beautiful buildings here across the courtyard. One is the mirror palace and the other one is the hall of pleasure. With glass inlaid panels and multi- mirrored ceilings and mirror mosaics the palace looked beautiful. Something very interesting is what we noticed around the mirror palace. At the base of one of the pillars there is a magic flower which has seven unique designs of fish tail, a lotus, a hooded cobra, an elephant trunk, a lion’s tail and a scorpion. Though over the period of time it has worn down but one can still feel the magic. The hall of pleasure or ‘sukh mahal’, is a masterpiece in itself as a cool climate is artificially created there by winds that blow over the water cascade within the palace. The innermost courtyard and the palace used to be for the royal ladies with many living rooms. Some part of it was roped off and we couldn’t see the inside, only had a glance from the outside.

All in all it was a good experience the only disappointing part was that the hawkers there were trying to sell all kinds of things to the tourists. Even if you were not interested they would just encircle you and insist about having their stuff.

We could not see the light and sound program as we were in a hurry to get back to the hotel after a hectic day. Our guide told us many interesting stories related to the fort. One of them being the king’s visit to one of his queens who were living in the same quarters but different chambers. He said that no one could make out as to which queen the king made the visit to, now as all the doors were connected to the common corridor and courtyard I just wondered how it could remain a secret??

City of Lakes – Udaipur -Day3

We had an early start next day as we were to visit Kumbhalgarh Fort which is located approximately 64 kms north of Udaipur. After having a good breakfast (we also carried some packed food) all geared up with our back pack we made our way to the parking lot where our tourist bus was parked. There were many early starters like us. Our guide quite a friendly chap told us that Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. The place also has a sentimental significance as it is the birthplace of Mewar’s legendry King Maharana Pratap .

My..My located in the wilderness it was a massive fort. The hostile topography made it look inaccessible, no wonders why the fort remained unconquered. Built on a hill top the fort’s thick walls stretches around 36 km and we were told is wide enough to take eight horses abreast. The walk while climbing the fort is full of breathtaking views. The fort’s large compound has very interesting ruins and walking around it was quite rewarding.  There were around 320 temples inside the boundary of the fort. Going around the fort and its insides leaves one astounded. The selection of the location, the planning of the battlements, the provisions for the cannons, guns and the safety of the soldiers, the strong doors provided at each tier of fort walls leading to the residence of the king is meticulously planned.  The fort also offers superb birds view of the surroundings. Some light and sound program also takes place in the evening but as we were to get back by the evening we couldn’t stay for that. Just to think that long back people lived in these forts is an exciting thought in itself.

After nearly walking around for two hours we all found a serene spot where we sat and had our packed food and drinks. When the eating session was over I just sat and relaxed under a tree and was kind of visualizing the kind of life people had in that era. Mother earth has seen so many changes over the centuries!

Journey back was very comfortable and our guide was discussing about Mount Abu with my mates our next destination. Since the place was around three to four hours away from Udaipur, we were advised to have an early night, which we did and got up as fresh as new to visit Mount Abu.

Ahmedabad Beckons!- Continue Day 4

Day 4

We were told by our guide the next day on the breakfast table that he has booked a tour for us in the Calico Museum of Textiles. One can only visit as part of the guided tour here. Set in an old house with lovely wooden floor it is a private collection of the Sarabhai family (a renowned name in Ahmedabad). Calico museum is a stunning and outstanding collection of Indian Fabric Textiles. One get to see the most fabulous fabrics in various colours and styles. There are dazzling sarees, silk work, beads, tie- dye work, embroidery work and block work in unimaginable styles. Shah Jahan a renowned Mogul ruler’s tent can also be seen there! The sitting area at the end of the tour with the sound of flowing water and roaming peacocks adds to the tranquility of the ambience.

It was altogether a wonderful experience. Some of my friends wanted to do some shopping. Our guide cum friend assured us that he shall take us to the shops which not only sell good stuff but also have reasonable rates. My experience in Manali was little different in this respect. But I had full faith in my guide. Oh! By the way did I tell you his name? He had a very sweet name – Bharat. For shopaholics the city is truly a paradise. It is famous for the woven fabrics in wide variety. The markets have an enormous collection of fabrics that are painted using traditional methods of tie and dye, also the zari work that makes use of gold and silver thread is another attraction. Handcrafts of Gujarat are very fascinating so I purchased some of them for my friends and family at home.

After our shopping spree we had a hefty lunch as walking in the streets had really sapped our energy. Bharat told us about Akshardham , a temple we were to visit in the evening. One thing I have noticed about the Indians is that they are very religious people and whatever phases of life they are going through they never lose faith in their idol. Akshardham is one of the largest temples in Gujarat. The monument enshrining the 7 foot high, gold leafed statue of Lord Swami Narayan is the focal point of the complex. It aims to promote Indian art, culture, and values. Its tagline is, “This is a place where art is ageless, culture is borderless, and values are timeless.” The laser show and the musical fountains made the visit worthwhile. The laser show is one of its kinds in the world. The architecture, designing and the animated statues are very interesting. We learnt a lot and had a total spiritual experience.

It was kind of sad to bid adieu to Bharat. But for him our visit to Ahmedabad could not have been so interesting. I exchanged my postal address with him and promised to remain in touch.

Coming to This part of India was a great experience. Let’s see where I go next, but wherever it is I surely plan to share all my experience with you. Cheers!!

Final Day of My Trip to Goa

In Continuation of the journey day before; we were quite tired after having great fun time at Baga, Candolim and Calangute beaches and then we decided to get back to the hotel in order to take little rest for a while. The place where we were staying was just 10 minutes away from Calangute beach. After having a good rest for few hours we were once again ready to carry on with our exploits. It was nearly sunset time. Nature was at its peak! We have heard a lot about the night life in Goa, so we decided to enjoy the nightlife of Goa. We asked the hotel staff and they recommended some clubs in the area. We decided to go to Tito’s club which was nearest and seemed better option than others.

Titos GoaWe asked few taxi drivers and easily found the place as it was a popular destination. It was one of the most happening places in Goa. The first scene we saw in the club; a lot of roar, clapping, dance, songs and fun all around. Everyone was busy dancing to the tune and some were struggling to match their feet to the rhythm; quite a sight, people were having thorough fun and were completely unaware of their surroundings.  Our group also became the part of crowd. There was variety of music playing out there, we stayed over there till 2 am, it was really an amazing experience as none of us had ever joined such a cross cultural gathering. Our decision to spend the night at Tito was as per the reviews of local people and seriously; we weren’t disappointed!

After having an awesome nightlife enjoyment at Tito we returned to our room and slept.

Last Day: No journey is complete until you take home some souvenirs to make your trip memorable and also it was our last day in Goa. There was a vast vibrant market having lots of stalls that offer everything from hand crafted designer clothes, jewellery, musical instrument, local spices or herbs etc. One thing that attracted me much in Goa was the handcrafted modern designer furniture, carved furniture. I have got few sea shell handicraft items which I have taken as souvenir. The Indian handmade wooden furniture was very gorgeous. There were also some restaurants in the market area offering traditional Goan cuisine, there were loads of sea food varieties. We have decided to give a new experience to our taste buds so we have ordered a traditional Goan fish curry with rice, which is actually one of the most popular delicacy of the area. Food was really good as like that of place. It was a great afternoon altogether.Wooden Side cabinet

Panaji Goa State Museum: After shopping, we visited Panaji Goa State Museum. This art gallery section includes Hindu and Jain sculptures, wooden handmade objects, bronze artwork from all over India, manuscripts and much more, if you like history, you will appreciate this art gallery.Goan Fish Curry

I cannot describe all the things with few words but it was truly a remarkable experience. Hope you get a chance to visit Goa. I’ll be checking out for my next travel  destination in India.

Uplift your Mood with Beach Holidays in Goa

My journey is going very well and I am thrilled to share the awesome experience of my journey through this blog. I am now with my friends Rebecca, Roger, Jimmy and Tim. We all are enjoying our trip to India. We were a little skeptical about our travel to India as the reviews we got from people around were both positive and negative. But finally I decided to go because I wanted to experience the diversities over there. We have read about India through internet, news and heard a little bit about it from the old people of the UK who once stayed there and told us the stories about India.

I have been traveling to India since last five years as there are so many things yet to be discovered. I have made so many friends during my several trips to India. This time I got a chance to meet a fellow citizen named Daisy, she is paying regular visits to India because of work. It feels very nice to meet fellow citizens across the world. She advised us about how to make the trip exciting and unforgettable, also she told us about the places she has visited in India. In the list the first place was Goa. She just described about it and we were so much excited to reach there as I have already travelled many places in northern India but this will be the first chance to visit western coasts of India. We requested Daisy to come with us, but due to her busy schedule she had not much time to accompany us.

Travel: We were in Mumbai and Goa is quite close to that; we decided to take a train as I have heard that this route is great for enchanting experience. This was really true it was one of the best train journeys in India full of natural beauty. The moment we set our foot in Goa all of us were amazed with its natural beauty and wide coast line. This view was beyond our imagination. It was sunset time and the beauty of the beaches of Goa was on its peak. Despite the tiredness we had after the journey the beautiful scenery was enough for us to carry on with our little adventures. So, we decided to visit the nearest beach in order to have some fun and also to have some food. We met some local chaps who proved very helpful in planning our trip strategy for the coming days.

First of all we decided to visit the historical Churches there, followed by the museums. We were keen to know about the history of that place, something not possible without a guide, so hiring an Indian guide was the most suitable option. We hired a guide and with him scheduled the plan for the next day as we were really tired and it was growing dark as well. We just called it a day.

To be continued…..