Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Udaipur Sights

After  Jaipur, we travelled by bus to Udaipur. Another great destination in India. We kept a full schedule. We  'bumped' into a  familiar face in Lalit Laxmi Vila where we stayed. Unbelievable! He was happy to chat about old times in KL.On the last day, he organised a special cookery class just  for me!
    Out of the blue, we met up with Dr Abdul Majeed, a batik specialist when we said we wanted to meet a local artist. Our driver took us to him and his family. They are batik  artisans. A big surprise awaited us as he showed a photo of a batik conference he attended in KL. I recognised a few faces there. Such a small world indeed! 

We stayed at the Lalit Laxmi Vila Palace,Udaipur. Great Indian hospitality. A small world again - we  met a familiar face in the F&B manager. He used to work in a popular Indian restaurant in KL! 
Outside the hotel, the view that looks on to Lake Fateh Sagar, a freshwater lake , beautiful and serene with the Aravili Mountais in the background.  In the evening, the bagpipers play and  a lovely decorated horse prances to the music.
Wonderful tour of The City Palace and Museums.
Beside the Rolls Royce Phantom 2. Year of Mfd 1934/ Country of Mfd UK / Body style : Sedanca De Ville.  Standing beside a grand limousine is enough to elicit  a wide smile.
Ford -A/ Model : Standard Phaeton/Year of Mfd 1930/ Country of Mfd USA/ Engine : 4 Cylinders (24.03 HP)/ Transmission : 3+1 ( Manual)/ Gasoline 16 gallons

A superb collection at the Vintage Cars of the House of Mewar - Rolls Royces, 1939 Cadillac open convertibles, 1936 Vauxhall. 1937 Opel etc.  They are housed in the original Palace Garage.  

The Mor Chowk in The City Palace Museum  with its lavish mosaic of peacocks 

On his horse, Chetak, the well known figure Maharana Pratap of Mewar - Battle of Haldighati - 1576. Chetak was a  white, pure  bred Arab Horse and the faithful and loyal mount of  Pratap.

Eat and spice up your life! Bought some green cardamoms to take home.

The market in the old part of Udaipur is so colourful.

Ship of the desert . Also ship on land!  

At the Garden of Maidens ( Sahelion Ki Bari), I  was beseiged by these girls! They badly wanted me to take pictures with them. How they pushed and shoved. But not the celeb, I didn't have a bodyguard. Didn't need one!! They made their day and mine.

Dreaming of a world like this? None other than the grounds of The Oberoi Udaipur. Just a teeny part of it!
We wanted a taste of Oberoi, so we tasted some posh tea and cakes!!! LOL

Mountains of jaggeri, solid blocks of brown sugar. Looks too sinful to eat!

Lovely ride on Lake  Pichola

The artist showing us block  printing, batik style.

Making heads turn??  Should have bought it for a nice party!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Golden Temple

When my hubby told his friend we were going to Delhi and staying there for 6 days, he felt we should also fit Amritsar into our itinerary. The idea was appealing 'coz we also got to know of the Beating Retreat and Change of Guard at the Wagah Border ceremony that attracts hundreds of  thousands daily  before sunset at the  common  between Pakistan and India.

So we booked a flight to visit Amritsar for the two things on out list - the Golden Temple and the Wagah Border ceremony . We had a lovely Punjabi  meal after the visit to the Golden Temple. Our guide, Kuldip in Delhi was so happy that we were visiting  Amritsar. I can still hear him  punctuating everything, imbued with much love for his homeland, The Golden Temple, and the food  with ,'.. toooo  good !'  It's true of our experience.

Here's some pictures we took at the Harmandir Sahib or what we know as the Golden Temple in Punjab.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Add splashes of Holi colours

Some thandai for  sweet memories

In Delhi, already the colours at Dilli Haat signalled the coming of Holi.

Closer to Holi, a couple of days later, more signs that Holi was not to be missed. In Agra, the hotel staff talked about the festival. In the markets, the colours of Holi  sold by the vendors were present. We  heard that people were winding down for the much - anticipated holiday.

On the way to Jaipur, buses passed by carrying people to their hometowns, cramming themselves tight within. Scarcity of space saw men and womenfolk perched on bus tops.

Finally, the auspicious  festival of Holi came and we had a blast by the poolside  at  Four Points Sheraton Hotel. Two Rajastani  folk dancers and a drummer  gave us the up tempo on the beat of Indian Classical music. Like  the others, I gamely joined in to dance and twirl. The encouraging smiles of the dancers  made me  want to try the movements.

Capturing the mood in the swirls

Good vibrations!

Dancing to the beat

A drummer  who was in the groove too.

 Hubby and I had  bright coloured  powders known as gulal  smeared on us. We did the same for  total strangers. Such infectious fun  and the next instant we were not the dull persons at all! Only a couple and his son  who were in the midst of the fun  chose  to be observers. People just knew to leave them alone.

A pat for being sporting!

The  smear and splash began and soon hardly anyone was spared including the staff. Their suits  no longer wore the staid aura!  More joined in. Everyone let their hair down. Children were  not left out. In fact they had so much fun shooting water from all types of kinky water pistols. That  created  riotious colours and before long, the swimming pool deck was wet and colourful.

We met some guests from Seattle. Originally from India, the Indian experience was also exhilirating for them.

Looking down from the hotel, we saw motorcyclists  having a whale of a time. They were whizzing by to make others on the road, innocent as they were, colourful like themselves. The noise and rush  subsided on the streets, and shops were closed. Families and friends were reunited in their own way  to celebrate  this Spring festival.

Added to the music, the hotel treated us to traditional Holi goodies like  gujiyas ( grated coconut snacks), delicious vegetable  pakoras, namkeen - savoury akin to the mixture snack  and cool  thandai drink - a thickish , creamy concoction of milk, almond and sugar.

Can't help falling in love with the colours 

For us, Holi  came alive. No more in mere pictures in magazines. On this happy Holi day, the bright colours just made us happy. In fact, the people believe that the vibrant colours represent energy, life and joy. We managed to share in a lovely morning, not missing  the fun of a popular festival in the northern part of India.

So was it special? It was  a memorable day. Happy Holi!

Kids having a gala time  - the wetter the better!

A bunch of more than merry  holiday makers.

No fun is too small or big!

How her smile sparkles!

Some dabs for a happy day!