Sunday, 27 December 2009

The last evening in Jaipur - City palace and Rambagh palace

It was one of the evening that I was most looking forward to, not because it was our last day there I totally loved Jaipur. It was for the only reason that we were gonna dine at Rambagh palace that evening. What a way to end the trip :)

But before that we had planned to visit the city palace - the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. This place has a number of buildings that seve variuos purposes. We got to see the Dharbar kinda place where the ministers gather to look upon any issues or to make any judgement. It was more like the court of yester years.


City Palace - Jaipur




There also was an exhibition of paintings and other art works in a few halls in the palace , the works were so very artistically done. City palace is also home to the largest (heaviest) silver ware in the world .



For once in my trip I truly wanted to experience Jaipur in the royal rajasthan way, so when it was decided that we were to dine at Rambagh palace even my cold and fever couldnt stop me from getting dressed up in a finely sequined salwar suit and pair it with finely embellished jutas I got from Jaipur and I was all set.. :)




Loved the grandeur and royalty of the place , I know little of the historic connections to the place but I jus' know that Queen Gayatri Devi lived there when we visited a year ago (but she is no more) and a part of the palace has been converted into a hotel by the Taj Group. This was enough to se me gleaming my way through the paths of Rambagh palace.
We arrived at the place late evening and got to witness some traditional music and dance show by the folk artists. And then it was time to head to dinner. The service was too good, one of the best in the country :) .



Loved every bit of my time at Rambagh palace , I wasn't allowed to take pics of the restaurant once guests started coming in *sigh* :)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Le Meridien - Jaipur

We had almost a day left in Jaipur after our arrival from Ranthambore. This time over we had booked to stay in Le Meridien, Jaipur (it was a time when I was highly influenced by the hotel show in Travel channel :) , so wanted to check out as many hotels as possible)





The hotel so looked like a palace by itself both with its exteriors as well as interiors in contrary to Rajputana Sheraton where we had stayed previously which was more contemporary in its outlook. But, both has its own charm . I couldn' spend much time in Le Meridien since it was only a day stay and we had plans to explore the pink city a little more , in addition to it all I was down with cold.

These were my findings of the hotel in the few hours that we were there .. they have got beutiful lush gardens and they hold a barbeque evening there I suppose with traditional Rajasthani music and dance to entertain their guests .. there were also some puppet shows .. I jus' got a glimpse of all these on my return to the hotel in the night after visiting the sinequanon places that we sure didn't wanna miss during our trip.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Safari at Ranthambore

We started of with the safari right after our lunch at around 2pm . The canter arrived at Khem Villa . We were advised to carry a bottle of water and some warm clothing to protect us from the chills as the place starts getting really cold by the evening.
After around 10mins we were entering Ranthambore national park ,around 15 -20 of us in a canter and there were a few more canters that started into the national park along with ours. In the entry to the national park, they were selling few souvenieur merchandise - we got a couple of t-shirts , like the way I always do whereever we go.

Our journey into the Ranthambore national park and back was pretty long. I had expected it to last for may be 2 hours but it extended to more than 4 hours. Neverthless, it was a fun filled adventure.
Ranthambore national park spreads across an area of 400 sq.km. with a huge variety of Flora and fauna. The national park is divided into 4 sectors and the tourists are allowed to visit only 2 sectors. Ranthambore is open for visitors from October to May of every year.
Around 15mins into the park and we spotted the first aimal , a deer and that was jus' the beggining and along the journey we spotted a handful of animals and birds - various kinds of deer, spotted, samba, boar, peacock, tiger's dentist, pelican ....


We came across a huge water body where the many canters that started pulled down as they heard some kind of noise from the forest and we were told we could spot a tiger coming to the water body very soon. That got all of us waiting in hushed silence , yup no noises .. silence please!

With the binoculars out of the bag, camera s in hand, out of the seat standing high in the canter, with photographers out with their huge cameras and tripod stand .. we were all waiting this way (Tiger watching) for close to an hour and trust me it wasn't boring. And little more thana n hour we waited but couldn spot any tiger. Then we came to know for the couple who had come form Netherland who was in our canter , it was their 2nd safari in a day and they still didn't spot the tiger either *sigh*.

It was time for us to get back. On our way back, a few mins after staring from the tiger watching spot , the wheel of our cnter got stuck in a marshy area. After almost half hour of pushing, pulling and trying out all kinda techniques we were finally on our way back.





We also got to watch the sunset at Ranthambore which made me really happy. I for some odd reason always happen to like sky photography :) .

Thou' it was a lil disappointing as we couldn't catch a glimpse of a tiger but it was a very memorable safari into the forest.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

It's time for celebration in this corner of the Internet

I'm so delighted to announce that the jury of Indibloggies have nominated my travel blog among the top 12 travel blogs in the country.

I would be glad if you could post your vote for me at http://multivote.sparklit.com/web_poll.spark/21900 if you like my blog. Shalinis travelogue is listed in category 9.

Thank you! Your vote could win me an award as the top travel blogger in the country :)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Our 2 day stay at Khem Villa, Ranthambore

Our next stint after Jaipur was at Ranthambore . This place is widely popular for its tiger reserve and thats the reason we were there too! We stayed at a place called Khem Villa, a family owned property run by a couple who were truly passionate about what they were doing and loved connecting with their guests ..
Pics enroute to Ranthambore



Everything here was natural , the eco tourism kind. This place had 3 kind accomadation the standard rooms , tents and villas and we opted for the tent. Inspite of the chill weather which made me fell ick at the end of the day .. I still don' regret having choosen the tent .. It was fun in a different way :)



The campus in which Khem villa was had its own beautiful garden with papaya trees (from which we got to eat papaya for our breakfast next morning) , mari gold and other beautiful flowers whose names I have no clue about.


The food served there was totally home grown right from the vegetables to grains .. The place also had a quaint library with a small collection of books on various topics.



The evening saw all the guests and the owners of the property get together over a camp fire, that was warm - literally (with the weather getting too cold in the night) and the owners connecting with the guests.
That's when we came to knw that there was a tiger visitor to the property couple of days ago to a far off lake adjacent to the property . Ah! wish we were there then ..

In between all of these happened our safari into the forest , which deserves a post by itself :)

Friday, 5 June 2009

It was time for Khanna ..

I have always loved good food and authentic food always excites me though I am not a great eater. After hearing loads of things on a good note about Rajasthani food especially their generosity in adding pure ghee to food items I was not surprised when my Thali (the traditional plate containg all the food items) was placed before me.



With my guide's suggestion we went to this really popular restaurant (Lakshmi Rajasthan Bhandar or more fondly called teh LMB Restaurant by the localites) that served traditional rajasthani cuisine.

I loved the churma(it was a sweet dish). Dal Baati and Churma are delecacies that are prepared only on special occasions. I was feeling more than full by the time I could taste jus a couple of dishes. I loved the taste thou' .

One interesting fact I came across was that since Rajasthan was a dry land and since they had to store food items for a long time as the land was also not suitable for vegetaion , most of their food preperation was out of dal and other pulses that can be stored for a very long time.

On the way back after a sumptuous meal, we planned to visit a store selling blue pottery goods and somewhere close to Jal mahal I saw a series of shops selling memerobilia. When I got there to select a few articles to take back home I found a man selling namkeens that was so aristically arranged :) He infact refused to let me take a picture of it, but later he was sweet enough to voluntarily came up to me asking if I wanted to take a picture :)

This land is indeed very colorful ;)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Jaipur - Day 1 - Amber Fort

After a short stint at the Hawa Mahal we drove to Amber fort. On our way to the fort we came across a few shops selling savouries (these looked so different compared to the usual ones we get across various other places in India). From our guide we came to know that these were the local specialities and were found only near Amber fort and not even in other parts of Jaipur. Then how can I miss not sampling them ? It tasted similar to the usual ones except that they were big made :)


This is the Kali temple in the fort where the king prayed before any war.
The walls of the Amber fort are bulit similar to that of the Great wall of China. There are 3 ways through which you can reach the fort - an elephant ride, drive up or trust your own legs and walk up the slope. I opted to take the elephant ride and we entered the fort sitting on top of an elephant , jus' the way the King or Queen would have years ago - It did feel really majestic :)


If your planning to take the elephant ride to the fort be sure to be there on time as there are no elephant rides after 1pm and the demand for the ride is high as told by our guide. We were fortunate enough as we didn't have to wait for too long.


The architecture of Amber fort is a mixture of Rajput and Mughal architecture using red sandstone and white marble. All the paintings that you would see here are made out of natural colors.






The mirror work is extraordinary in the Sheesh Mahal which according to its name glows with thousands of pieces of mirror. The moment a ray of sun or moon falls on these mirrors, the entire palace begins to radiate.


There were 12 seperate house like thing with hall, bed room etc..as the king had 12 queens. Since one of the queen was from Kashmir and availability of saffron was scarce. The king set up a garden where he could grow saffron but in vain.



The two big utensils are used for frying and the long pave where these are placed are sometimes used to let elephants fight with each other while preparing them for war .

There was a Cafe coffee day as well where you can rejuvenate yourself after hours of walking around the fort.