Preserving Heritage – The Norbulingka Institute in Dharamshala [Guest Post]

Hello Folks. Say Hi to my today’s Guest Blogger Shalini Baisiwala from Shalzmojo. I had the pleasure of meeting her some time back and she comes across as a warm, confident and intelligent woman with inner strength. An interior designer by profession and a blogger by passion. Shalini blogs about her experiences of travel, food, books, mindfulness.

Please join me in welcoming Shalini to my space here and I hope you enjoy her informative travelogue.
Over to you, Shalini…

On our trip to Dharamshala, it made sense to include visits to the beautiful monasteries around the place. Then we heard of the Norbulingka Institute which is a self-sustaining community of Tibetan people who endeavour to preserve their art and traditions through it. Intrigued we deigned a visit to it promptly.

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Nestled in a deep forest with tall pine trees all around and snow clad peaks visible in a distance, the institute could be well mistaken for a health resort. Its located in a pretty region called Sidhpur which is about half an hours drive form Mcleoganj.

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Gorgeous colours painted on the façade of the buildings which are built in typical Tibetan style- the architecture consisted of stepped style of Pagodas but there were no curling edges and natural elements like dressed stone was used to build them all. The ornamentations came from a profusion of colours and geometric patterns painted as borders.

 

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Walking into the place, we were stunned to note the silence; it felt as if we are the only folks there. Not a soul in sight and the only sounds was of the birds twittering in the trees. Bushes of vividly coloured flowers, dense foliage of the trees and a stepped pathway marked through a water body, made for a very pretty picture indeed. I felt as if we have stepped into a luxury resort, hidden away in the mountains. Later I came to know the landscaping has been modelled on the Japanese garden style.

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The open verandas lined with rows of prayer bells made for a very pretty picture. They have a temple, museum, rooms, shop and workshops in the premise which charges 100/- as fee from tourists. One can take a guide at the entrance or simply roam around on your own; we chose to do the latter.

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We stepped into the workshop/shop area where the products (all made in house) were on sale. I wanted to buy everything that was there and only the price managed to restrain me as things were a bit steeply priced. But then handmade items are generally so. The craftsmanship of every item – Thangkas, statues, furnishing items, etc – was superb to say the least. I picked up a silver ring, wooden hand painted frame, a wooden box to match, a yak shaped handbag and a few other motley items.

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The idea behind crafting every product is the story it will tell you; whether it’s through the design or the materials used or the technique employed. Their primary focus is storytelling of their traditions and heritage through them. It’s a powerful idea and is executed brilliantly in every item I saw there.

The people employed there are all masters and their apprentices and everyone is of Tibetan origin. The aim is to provide crafting skills to help them sustain themselves and preserve their culture as well. All the proceeds go towards maintaining the institute.

There is a small café in the open too for the visitors to sit and enjoy some Tibetan delicacies. I loved its name – the hummingbird café!

BTW they offer workshops for folks who want to learn their art and crafts as well. You get to work under a master artisan who will assign a project to you and at the end of the workshop; you will go home with a beautifully crafted item that was especially handcrafted by you. Aint that something now!!!

Their temple is a beautiful dedication by the craftsmen to Buddha and its evident in the stunning embellishment on the walls and the statues. Brilliant colours, patterns and artistry is the impression that you take away with you.

Not to be missed is the Tibetan doll museum where each one of the 150 doll is dressed in typical Tibetan textiles and offers a stunning peek into this colourful and vibrant culture. Entry fee is 20/- to the Losel doll museum.

If ever you are in the area, I recommend a visit to this place just to see the beautiful crafts of the Tibetan people and soak in the serene atmosphere of this gorgeous institute.

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About Shalzmojo_MG_2665 pdf

An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.

Savour some Zen in the glen in this old post of mine Here

This post is written for the December bloghop #mymojo with Shalzmojo

Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love 

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7 Tips for Buying Air Tickets


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7 Tips for Buying Air Tickets

These days more and more people are traveling by air. It has rather become essential due to globalization and industrialization. It is also because the air tickets are now affordable, and the world is getting smaller. Anyone who has travelled by air would know that there are times when the air tickets are available at sky high prices, literally and figuratively. And there are times, when you can fly to the same destination at dirt cheap rates.

If you are a frequent traveler and cannot wait for off season or festive season to buy economical air tickets, here are seven tips that will help you ace the game.

1. Book Early: You have heard the cliché, ‘early bird gets the worm’, but the fact is that it is true. Booking air tickets as soon as possible is the easiest and the best way to get the best deal. Booking within three months to 30 days from departure should give you the best airfare.

2. Search Incognito Mode: Have you searched for a flight and returned to re-search the same flight a few days later and seen a massive price increase? It’s true, your search history, cookies and server details are monitored by these portals. To avoid price hikes, use a private window in your browser or simply open the website from a different browser or computer, to search undetected.

3. Use Travel Aggregator Websites: No matter how good it looks; never book the first fare you see. No matter the hurry you are in, check out a few flight comparison websites before you book your air tickets. Checking these sites will give you a rough idea of which airlines fly your itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply. Also, avoid selecting a specific date for your departure–instead select the entire month to know which is the cheapest time to fly.

4. Fly Two Different Airlines: Booking a return ticket sounds simple and hassle-free. Also, the clip_image002general belief is that return flights are cheaper. But the reality is different. Today there are so many airline operators viz SpiceJet, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Go Air, Vistara, Indian Airlines etc, it makes sense to check out flights offered by other airlines. Yes, it’s worth it to mix and match. You will have a better deal that way. Also, you could even fly to one airport and depart from another.

5. Book at the Right Time: Book for air tickets after midnight; that’s when many airlines reload their computers with discounted fares that people reserved but didn’t pay for. Also, the first flight of the morning is usually the cheapest.

6. Use Offers: From time to time you get the emails and SMS from your credit card or debit card companies or wallet cash or coupon sites. Don’t ignore them. Use your frequent flier award miles and travel credits. You may get great offers and discounts through these too.

7. Be Flexible: The day of the week you fly on can make a significant difference in your air fare. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the least expensive days for domestic flights and Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive. Flexible travel plan is another way to save money on air tickets.

Go on and save some money and catch the travel bug and the next plane.

Happy globetrotting!

Do you follow any of these tips? How do you save money when booking air tickets? Are there any hacks for booking flights you’d like to share?

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone When Traveling

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You surely love your comfort zone. Right? After all, it is familiar and predictable and makes you feel safe and secure. It is a healthy adaptation of your life, for you know what is your risk tolerance and what is non-negotiable for you. I’d say that it is a dangerous place as well, for it stops you from growth and newer experiences. In fact, it is a self-created prison which has walls made up of can’ts, shouldn’ts, negative self-talks and rigid thoughts and ideas.

Should you stay safely in this prison? The answer is a big No.

They say that you must live your life to the fullest and that means you must experience and explore unknown territories, both outside and inside of yourself. You should strive for more, you should step outside your comfort zone. Now, all that sounds good, but how do you do that?

To find out more… do check out My Guest Post on Dipanwita’s Blog Cocktails, Mocktails and Life.

This post is written for the December blog hop #mymojo with Shalzmojo

Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love.

10 Unusual Sights in Bali

Ten on Tuesdays

Work trips are bittersweet. There’s this excitement of going to a new place with plans of exploring the city buzzing in your head. But usually, these plans stay just that way, plans that is, after all, you are at work!!

When I got to know about my 3-day work trip to Bali, Indonesia, I was thrilled. Despite knowing the schedule, there was this small glimmer of hope that I might be able to squeeze in some time to check out a bit of the city.

While the days were spent working, I got the opportunity to see a bit of Bali in the evenings. Though I couldn’t go hiking Mount Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, or walk through the rainforest Canopy in Kalimantan, or chase the blue flames at sulfuric lake Ijen, or drink from the fountain of youth at Goa Gajah, or watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, or let monkeys climb all over you at Ubud Monkey Forest, I did roam around on the streets of Bali.

Here are some of the unusual and interesting sights and experiences from my recent Bali Trip…

1. Malindo Air needs better translators.

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2. Offerings on the roads!! Small squarish open baskets made of palm or banana leaves with flowers, fruits, rice, cookies, money, oil, incense sticks etc, known as canag sari, are seen everywhere, on the sidewalks, streets, stairwells, ledges, temples, in front of shops, homes, hotels etc. These are the offerings for the Gods and the demons, to ask the good for assistance and appease the evil respectively. So one has to walk carefully without stepping on them. These are swept or thrown away to be replaced the next day.

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3. Udeng : I saw the hotel staff and some taxi drivers wear Udeng. It is headband for a Balinese man. Udeng is used by the Balinese, during traditional and religious ceremonies and gatherings and can be worn every day too.

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This is the ever smiling Steven from The Stones – Legian Bali, Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotel, wearing Udeng.

4. The currency that makes you feel super rich: When our driver asked us for 2 lakhs for the drive from the airport to the hotel, we were pleasantly shocked cum surprised.

The Indonesian Rupiah is available in the denominations of Rp. 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 as bills. Rp.100 and 100 are in the form of coins, Rp. 500 and 1,000 are in either coins or bills. For the first time ever, I had Rp. 4 lakhs in my wallet.

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That’s another story that Rp 400,000 is equal to Rs 2148 only!!

5. Amazing food at beachside and roadside cafes. Had heard and seen on TV about the Indonesian cuisine which is vibrant, colourful, rich in spices and full of intense flavours. Since, our package had only Indian food (yeah that’s simply ridiculous!), I couldn’t explore much from the Indonesian cuisine. But I tried Nasi Goreng, a staple dish, comprising of fried rice with a fried egg on top and tons of other ingredients like prawns, chicken, vegetables, chilies and more at just about any local eatery. This can be had at breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Seafood is pretty popular in Bali and we had seafood cascade consisting of tuna, snapper, lobster, squid and prawn which can be enjoyed with local beer.

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6. What’s that in Absolut Bottles? No, it’s not what you are thinking. In Bali petrol is sold in Absolut bottles along the roadsides. They say that the petrol pumps are far in the city so bikers can buy petrol from these roadside stalls. Why only Absolut bottles, I asked the vendor. ‘Absolut holds exactly one litre of petrol, other bottles hold a little more or a little less’, he said in halting English.

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7. Art on the streets. There’s something special on the walls of Bali. Yes, it’s the Balinese street art and graffiti which can be seen everywhere, even on the shutters of the closed shops.

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8. Beauty, beauty everywhere. As we drove from the airport to our hotel, I felt I was at a place which is an amalgamation of Kerala and Goa. The Legian and Kuta beach near our hotel was clean and so welcoming. And the aerial view from the aircraft is simply beautiful.

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9. Shop till you drop… if you are looking for cheap and mostly fake products. T-shirts, shorts, beach wear, sarongs, wrap-arounds, sunglasses, bags, shoes, slippers, hats etc can be bought at throwaway prices. What caught my attention were exclusive shops of dream-catchers!! And there were exclusive showrooms for just slippers!!

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10. Souvenirs galore. Bali also has a great tradition of woodcraft. Wood carved items like masks, artifacts, toys, figurines can be seen all around. It is probably rude, but I cant help but share these phallic souvenirs which are hung in huge bunches like grapes everywhere.

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How do you make the most of a work trip?

Have you been to Bali? How has been your experience and what would you recommend if one goes for a vacation at Bali?

Best Time to Book for Indian Travellers Favourite Summer Destinations

Leading global travel search engine, Skyscanner has analysed two years’ worth ofclip_image001 travel search data from over 60 million monthly users to answer the one questions that always puzzles travellers: when is the best time to book flights?

A recent survey of Indian travellers revealed 72% do not know when is the best time to book flights. Skyscanner’s survey further unveiled 69% of travellers incorrectly estimate the best air fares can be found less than 12 weeks before departure, when in fact the best deals are snapped up by travellers who plan in advance. Traveller’s eyeing up Bali for their summer trip can save up to 51% on flight tickets by booking 25 weeks in advance or risk paying 27% more than the average fare when they leave booking to the last minute.

The same trend appears for air fares to Indian traveller’s favourite summer destinations, traveller’s looking to vacation in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok can grab flights for 35% and 33% less than the average fare, respectively, when booking 24 weeks prior to departure.

Skyscanner recommends booking 24 weeks in advance for travellers venturing to Europe or the USA for their summer vacations for savings of 22% and 18%, respectively.

Skyscanner also reveals the most inexpensive months to travel to visit some of Indian travellers’ favourite locations. November is the cheapest month to travel to Bangkok when flights 10% cheaper than the average fare, while visa-friendly Bali can be best enjoyed in April with a 10% saving on the average fare.

Commenting on the findings, Reshmi Roy, Senior Growth Manager, Skyscanner India said, “We hope Skyscanner’s data can provide travellers with clarity on how and when to get the best deal on flights and what to expect if booking is left to the last minute. After reviewing flight prices from the last two years, we can clearly see that it pays to plan. Booking at the right time can make a huge difference to one’s expenditure on their trip, up to 51% in some cases.”

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About Skyscanner

  • Skyscanner is a leading global travel search company, providing free search of flights, hotels and car hire around the world
  • Founded in 2003, Skyscanner helps over 60 million people each month to find their travel options
  • Skyscanner is available in 30 languages
  • Skyscanner’s highly-rated free mobile app has been downloaded over 60 million times
  • Skyscanner employs over 800 staff and has 10 offices across the world: Barcelona, Beijing, Budapest, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Miami, Shenzhen, Singapore and Sofia
  • Skyscanner is part of the Ctrip Group

For more information, please visit https://www.skyscanner.co.in/bttb/best-time-to-book-in

7 Reasons to Travel Solo

Although, it is exciting and rewarding to travel to newer places with family and friends, but there’s something incredible about traveling alone. And that’s also because some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.  Don’t believe this? Well here are some compelling reasons to travel solo…

Reason #1 : It IS Empowering – There was a time, when I would feel extremely uncomfortable to eat alone at a restaurant. And then, I got over it. Traveling alone pushes you to move outside your comfort zones as you come across so many unfamiliar situations. Since, there’s nobody to handle these situations for you, you overcome all your fears and inhibitions and just plunge into them. And believe me, that’s truly empowering.

Reason #2 : It Recharges You – When you are traveling with family, (for a woman especially), it is not vacation, but just a change of location. You have to look after your family’s needs just like the way you do at home. Traveling alone will give you the all that is needed to rest, relax and recharge you. You don’t have to follow timetables, if you don’t want to and can enjoy a place totally at your own pace.

Reason #3 : You Discover Yourself – Solo travel gives you an opportunity to break-free from the regular routine and spend significant time alone. And this time gives you an opportunity to reflect on your thoughts, dreams and life as well as develop self awareness and you learn to be more comfortable in your own skin. I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.” — Thomas Jefferson

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Reason #4 : It Builds Confidence : A friend who has traveled the world with her family, had to travel alone some time back. She was a nervous wreck by the time she boarded the flight. It was because, her husband took care of all things, always. And today, she is a pro. When you travel solo, independence isn’t something that you need to achieve; it comes naturally to you. You have to take care of your own luggage and find your way too. Facing all the challenges, makes you a problem solver and that makes you independent and certainly boosts your confidence.

Reason #5 :  It Makes You Richer – Solo travel is a life changing experience. It makes you rich in terms of adventures, memories, experiences, knowledge and insights. These experiences when traveling alone, tend to be more meaningful and profound.

Reason #6 : You Learn Skills – I had a poor sense of direction and believed in traveling with luggage which would last me for two trips. Some mishaps made me learn to travel light and become a better traveler.

Reason #7 : It Makes You Appreciative of Your Loved Ones –  Days and weeks away from your family would make you realize how important they are in your life. Traveling solo certainly makes you appreciate your family and friends more.

Solo Travel can appear to be intimidating initially. But it is going to be one of the best experiences of your life. Go for it at least once a year and going for it once in your lifetime is MANDATORY!

Have you traveled solo? How has been your experience. If you haven’t, will you give it a try?

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm

Theme – Seven

Day 2

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Quirky Observations

Busy doesn’t adequately describe my schedule of last fortnight. There was work related travel, general engagements at home and some more travel. During all this adventure, stress, crazy days, fun, excitement and exhaustion, I packed in lots of reading and of course my favorite, observing the buzz of life around me.

Yes, because of too much reading, there’s overdose of book reviews and my blog is looking like a book review blog. I am not too happy with that, because, I like varied stuff on my blog. But, the book reviews had to be done, after all a commitment is a commitment. Thought I faltered on some deadlines, I consoled myself with ‘better late than never’. Have you realized, giving such excuses/ explanations to self, are so comforting as they simply take away the pressure or guilt! Do you agree with that?

I am sure, we all have seen people keeping the transparent plastic sheet covering the seats of their brand new cars intact for quite some time. And the same goes for office chairs and even TV remotes.

But have you seen something like this…

WP_20160818_11_41_52_Pro This sight was a first for me. Have never seen anybody keeping the straps of a bag wrapped in a plastic covering.  What about you?

Do brand names matter? The brand manager in me firmly believes so, after all a brand helps customers know what to expect. A brand is the way the customers perceives the brand, the company and its ethos…

So what would you think when you come across this….

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I saw this hotel in Abu Road, Rajasthan. I don’t know who coined the name for this hotel or what were they thinking? What do you think about this hotel’s brand name? What would be the owner’s thoughts while thinking of this as his hotel’s name? Let your quirky or logical reasoning flow in the comment section!

Travel Tales

After having woken up at an unearthly hour to catch the first flight of the day, I am now sitting in the airport lounge. With the breakfast done and out of the way, I am awaiting the departure of my second flight which is a few hours away. And I am doing what I love doing the most. Yes, observing the buzz of life around me.

Actually, it all started as soon as I made myself comfortable in my assigned seat in the aircraft. WP_20160528_00_13_14_ProI was looking out of the window and drinking in the beauty of the early morning when a strong aroma hit me. I looked around and saw a passenger in front of my seat opening her lunch box.

The lady was eating stuffed karela (bitter gourd) with parantha. The stuffing inside was secured with a thread, just as my mom does it and this made me smile and crave for food made by mom. Seeing her having breakfast at 6 am and that too before the flight taking off got me thinking. I think she must be a 6 am breakfast lover or must be believing in eating early in order to keep insulin and blood sugar levels regulated while kick-starting the metabolism. Wonder what would be her actual reason to do so though!

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A couple with a 2 year old kid are sitting next to me in the lounge.  As I was chatting with the parents, I observed the kid’s hand. He was wearing a gold ring. I saw a kid wearing a gold ring with his name engraved on it for the first time. I mean, have seen kids made to wear gold chains, bangles, earrings from a young age. But seeing a kid with a ring was a first for me.

 

 

Saw the promotion of Rajinikath starrer Kabali on the Air Asia aircraft.  Air Asia is the official airline partner of one of the most awaited movies of the year, Kabali, and several of its planes will also feature in the film. It seems that in Kabali , Rajinikanth plays the role of a Malaysia-based don, and this seemed like a right brand boosting strategy for the Malaysian carrier, Air Asia to partner with this movie. Interesting!

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Last week, during my travel by the Jaipur-Delhi Double Decker train, I came across yet another interesting sight. The cracked glass window of the train had this sticker…

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I saw such a sticker for the first time, though I have seen innumerable damaged things in the trains.

This train journey reminds me of the scene I witnessed at the railway station before boarding the train. A family of 4 who were standing next to me were chatting and having a good time together. As soon as the train arrived on the platform, young man of the family began saying good-byes to his parents and sister. And suddenly, their laughter ceased as they saw him leave them. I watched them some more from my window seat in the train. Seeing the mother’s silent tears, made me teary eyed too. It’s always harder to be left behind than to be the one to go…

Hope they all meet soon again and have lots of reasons to smile and laugh again.  And I am thinking of me reaching back home too after five days on the road.

Linking this to Day 3 – Write Tribe Festival of Words #5

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Padharo Mhare Des

We all need a timeout from time to time, to get away from pressures of work and mundane life at  home. From time to time, we all need to step away to recharge, relax and rejuvenate from the stresses of life.  And a vacation provides just that. The mere thought of exploring unknown places, trying out different dishes and cuisines, meeting new people, spending quality time with family and friends, gives a boost to the weary soul and mind!

Over the years, I have seen that visiting Jaipur is on the wish list of almost all the people I have met. As soon as somebody gets to know that we stay in the pink city of India, their eyes sparkle with excitement and animation which is followed by a barrage of questions and queries. I can so understand and relate to their fascination and admiration for Jaipur.

Jaipur, without a doubt is a perfect holiday destination. It has timeless appeal in its rich cultural heritage with majestic palaces and massive forts; vibrant colours and streets bustling with life; lip smacking food and colourful bazaars to shop till you drop. Friends and acquaintances ask me all the time about how, when and what to visit and do in Jaipur.  Let me plan a perfect vacation for you in Jaipur. Padharo Mhare Des…

How to Reach Jaipur

Jaipur, a tourist’s paradise is connected to major cities of the country with domestic flights from all Airlines operating on a regular basis. Jet Airways , SpiceJet, Air India, IndiGo, GoAir have daily flights to and from Jaipur. You may travel comfortably by numerous bus and train options too. And if you plan to self drive then the roads leading to Jaipur are well-connected by National Highways 8, 11 and 12. The Delhi-Jaipur National Highway offers a smooth ride (260 kilometres) with plenty of restaurants and amenities on the way.

Places to Visit in Jaipur

The major irresistible attractions of Jaipur are its palaces and forts which are resplendent of their royal heritage. City Palace with its the regal architecture, offers a stunning view of the Pink City while the Hawa Mahal and  Jal Mahal reflect the scientific bent of mind of the Kings and the craftsmanship of the artists.

Located on top of hills are the three forts, Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and NaharGarh Fort give the bird’s eye view of Jaipur city. They have extensive walls, watch towers, several temples and many citadels.

Photo: Christophe Biosvieux/Age Fotostock/Dinodia

Amer Fort : Image Source

Other historical places that must be visited are the Jantar Mantar Observatory, Isarlat (Swargasuli), Albert Hall Museum and the entire Walled city of Jaipur. Sight seeing of all these forts and palaces may take 2 entire days. Yes, there is so much to soak in and admire these rich historical heritage.

Temples like Govind Devji and Moti Doongari are pretty famous and auspicious. The deities here are  worshipped by the erstwhile royal family.

Dig into Authentic Rajasthani Food
Kachori

Kachori : Image Source

A trip to Jaipur (or anywhere in Rajasthan) is not complete without digging into traditionalghewar.photo by cherian thomas and authentic Rajasthani food. Churned from the royal kitchens, Rajasthani cuisine reflect indigenous traditions.  So,  dal bati churma, laal maas, kachoris or ghevar are a must must eat at Jaipur.  And so are the pyaz ki kachouri from Rawat Mishthan Bandhar, Sahu ki Kachori at Chaura Rasta, Gulab Ji Ki Chai at Ganpati Plaza, Sharma Chaat at Johri Bazaar, Ramchandra ki Kulfi, Murli Paan Shop. Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar at Johri Bazaar offers some excellent local sweets and food.

Chokhi Dhani is an ethnic village resort that captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan and ensures a perfect Rajasthani experience.

Shop till You Drop

A paradise for shopaholics, the old bazaars of Jaipur offers some of the best shopping experiences. Jaipur is home to India’s largest and the most fabulous collection of jewellery of all types – precious stones and gems, semi-precious and handmade jewellery and you can find them at Johari Bazaar. Tripolia Bazaar is known for its lac jewellery, bangles, Bandini tie and dye fabrics with rich embroideries and designer carpets, brass ware and other traditional wares. Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar for colourful Rajasthani dresses and jootis and general street shopping. Shops at MI Road are known for antiques, blue pottery, gems and jewellery. Badi and Choti Chaupad and  Chandpole Bazaar offer some unique and traditional items to shop too.

Best Time to Visit

October to March is the best season to visit Jaipur. It’s the winter season and perfect time to spend outdoors. July to September is the monsoon period and is a good time if you wish to avoid the peak tourist season. April to June are particularly harsh with temperatures rising up to 48°C during the day but the mornings and evenings are pleasant.

A trip of 3-6 days is an ideal one to soak in the beauty and grandeur of Jaipur.

If you have some more time, then you can explore some weekend getaways near Jaipur too.

Padharo Mhare Des! Come, explore the wonders and sites and take a peek into into Jaipur’s royal history and heritage. So are you ready, with the packed bags!?!

Kuwait Travel Diary

How does it feel to see the stamps in your passport or hear a different language as you deplane from the aircraft or see people from a different culture milling around you as you pass through the immigration lines at the airport?

It seems like a beginning of an exciting adventure from the start. Right!

That’s how it happened for me, when I came to Kuwait one and a half day ago.

It’s my first visit to this country  and I am all set to soak anything and everything the place has to offer.

It is an official visit, but I will get plenty of time to explore the city… fingers crossed. I am so looking forward to it.  Here are a few things that I plan to do while in Kuwait.

Eat Local Food : Kuwait is non veg eater’s paradise. I am not a big fan of non-veg actually. Given a choice between veg and non-veg food, I’d pick veg, always. And here I am in this new country and meat has been on my plate for all the four meals up till now. And guess what, I am loving it. Yesterday we went to an Arabic joint and thanks to Fatayer Lahme  along with Fatayer Jibna and Fatayer Zaatar, I never knew that I had an adventurous palate. And I am looking forward to more such tempting and tasty adventures.

Fatayer Lahme and Fatayer Jibna

Fatayer Lahme and Fatayer Jibna

Fatayer Zaatar

Fatayer Zaatar

Soak in the Sights : Of course, wherever I look, a new things are coming in my line of vision.  City roads like our expressways, fast moving traffic, left side driving, virtually no two wheelers, beautiful buildings and houses, men is long thwabs and women in abayas (and I must add here that they all are so beautiful and fashionable!) are simply fascinating.

Pristine Blue Arabian Sea

Pristine Blue Arabian Sea

Learn : Though most people speak English and we have met quite a few Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in and around our hotel who are so happy to speak in Hindi with us, I am however keen to learn a few sentences and phrases in Arabic.

Like yesterday, we were in this market and I met this friendly old man. 

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He asked me something in Arabic and I drew a blank. Another person translated it for me and we got chatting. And it was fun talking to him and in the process picked up a few Arabic words. It’s interesting that it is similar to Urdu which I am familiar with. For instance, a thank you is Shukriya in Urdu and Shukraan in Arabic. 

I can see that the customs and traditions of the people in Kuwait are truly unique. I don’t want to just observe these customs, I wish I could participate and be one of them as they follow them. I hope that gets ticked off from my wish list.

As I prepare for the unexpected and go with the flow in Kuwait, you have a great week ahead and keep watching this space for more updates and pictures from this sojourn of mine!

#MondayMusings
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