Monday, December 21, 2009

Royal Stay In India


The City Palace stands tall as a golden feather in Jaipur's crown. The royal palace was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs. A fabulous synthesis of Rajasthani and Mughal styles, City Palace of Jaipur exhibits an architecture of its own class. The palace has splendid small palaces and halls in the complex, such as the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal and Badal Mahal. The famous Shri Govind Temple and the City Palace Museum inside mark another hilarious feature to the palace/. Right from the entrance, you will come across some astounding works of constructing excellence. The Mubarak Mahal will welcome you with its charming interiors. A splendid gateway will lead you to the Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of Private audience). Relish the opportunity to witness two silver vessels on display at Diwan-E-Khas. Don't forget to check out Diwan-E-Aam (Hall of Public Audience). Going further inside the palace, you will come across the main attraction of the City Palace – the Chandra Mahal. Heart thorbing works of paintings, mirror work on walls, and floral decorations will leave you standing in awe and admire the brilliance of City Palace.

The seven-storied palace has a distinctive hilarious display of Indian art and crafts. The lower two levels have the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum with a large collection of 15th century weapons, carpets and rarities. Third floor holds the drawing and the dining area with 'Sukh Nivas' or the 'Hall of Rest'. The 'Shobha Nivas' or 'Hall of Beauty', decorated with gold leaf, mica decorations and mirrors all over. The fifth floor has the 'Chavi Nivas' or the 'Hall of Images' and the sixth floor offers a exuberant view of the surrounding area. The topmost floor is called the 'Mukut Mahal' or the 'Crown building'. The epic example of royalty and supremacy, City Palace of Jaipur will surely get you spelled with the royal luxurious treatment. A must visit place for visitors.

City Palace, Udaipur

In the heart of Udaipur stands the royal City Palace. Built in granite and marble and surrounded by enduring fort walls, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan gives a majestic sensation with its charming white beauty. Originally built by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia Rajput clan, the City Palace of Udaipur is located on one side of Pichola Lake. In fact, the mesmerizing view of the giant fortress from the Pichola Lake is an unmatched experience.

A blend of Medieval European and Chinese architecture, the City Palace of Udaipur is one of the most visited destinations by tourists across the world. The 'Hati Pol', or the 'Elephant Gate' marks he entrance of the palace from the main road. The Jagdish Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu which is the biggest and most beautiful temple of Udaipur is situated inside the palace. The 'Bara Pol' or the 'Great gate' on the northern end leads to the first court yard, which joins Tripolia or the 'triple gate'. Between the two gates there are eight carved marble arches or 'Toranas' under which the rulers in the past were weighed against gold and silver. Beyond the Tripolia lies the arena where elephant fights were staged.The palace has many enclosures with luxurious apartments surmounted by balconies, hanging gardens, massive octagonal towers and cupolas to get make you stand in awe and admire its beauty. The main part of the palace with its several ' Mahals' is now preserved as a Museum. The 'Krishna Vilas' has a remarkable collection of miniature paintings depicting royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas. 'Mor Chowk' has unique glass mosaics of peacocks, set in the walls showing the three seasons of summer, winter and monsoon. The 'Manak Mahal' ( Ruby Palace) has crystal and porcelain figures. The Moti Mahal( Palace of Pearls) has lavish decor and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of mirrors) has inlaid mirror work. There is a Hawa Mahal and a Bari Mahal with a fine garden build on a 90 feet high natural rock formation. Other main attractions of the palace are the 'Bhim Vilas', 'Suraj Gokhala', 'Zenana Mahal', 'Dilkusha Mahal'. 'Laxmi Vilas Chowk', Amar Vilas and 'Chini Chitrashala'. Experience the princely stay at the royal City Palace of Udaipur.

Lake Palace, Udaipur

Located in the middle of Lake Pichola, the Taj Lake Plalace of Udaipur is a must visit place for everyone. The exuberant view of white marble and mosaic glistening in the moonlight is a memorable sight for a lifetime. The palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar – believed to be descendants of the Sun God. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake, and lofty palaces on the other, the Taj Lake Palace spreads across a four-acre island. The courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens add to its impressive image. The rooms are decorated with cusped arches, inland stones of pink, and green lotus leaves and painted mirrors. Relish the opportunity to be at most luxurious and romantic apartments like the Bada Mahal, Kush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal and Dhola Mahal. Among the facilities available are swimming pool, conference hall and a bar. Other events of recreation organised here are excursions in and around and a bar other events of recreation organised here are excursions in and around Udaipur. The royal restaraunts, bars, coffee shops, banquet halls and conference rooms are the developed versions of various large halls like Bada Mahal, Kush Mahal, Sajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal and Dhola Mahal. A half submerged idol of a dancing women iIn the middle of the lake is a treat to watch. It is said that a lady dancer told the ruler of the palace that she can cross the lake Pichola on a rope, dancing all the way. The king bet half his kingdom if she could do it. The lady accepted the challenge and almost completed the ropeway when king, fearing the loss of half his kingdom, cut the rope and the dancer fell in the lake. Visit the City Palace of Udaipur to experience the royalty of Mewar.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The Umaid Bhawan Palace at Jodhpur is one of the largest and grandest private residences in the world. The palace was built by 3000 artisans worked over 14 years. The palace is spread around a million square feet of the finest marble. A visit to Jodhpur is incomplete without a stay at the Umaid Bhawan Palace. Ever since its opening In 1977, Umaid Bhawan has remained one of the top heritage hotels in India. The royal stay in some of the most luxurious suites including Maharani Suite, Maharaja Suite, Royal Suites, Historical Suites and Palace Rooms offer the sensation of being the king.

The Maharani Suite is aptly dominated by a Norblin mural of the Goddess Kali etched on shining black glass. The Maharaja Suite exudes a masculine panache with dramatic Noblin frescoes of leopards, tigers, horses and monumental art deco furnishings. The Royal Suites offer luxurious art deco style offering with mirror finished terrazzo and large bedroom and sitting area, overlooking palace lawns and fountain courtyard, all to give you the royal sensation. The hotels Regal Suites, designed in Art Deco style, were once reserved for visiting royalty. Presently, they serve as Historical Suites. Embellished with art deco interiors and equipped with modern conveniences, the Palace rooms offer a glimpse into a privileged bygone lifestyle. Besides this, the multi-cuisines menus and royal banquets like 'Risala' restaurant, 'The Pillars' coffee shop and 'The Trophy Bar' offer luxury meals also. A visit to Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur is a mesmerizing experience.

Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner

The Lalgarh Palace of Bikaner was constructed by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner in 1902, in the loving memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh Ji. An architectural splendor of red sandstone, the palace was designed by Sir Swinton Jacob. Bikaner Lalgarh Palace is a unique blend of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture on the outside. The interior of the palace have a touch of oriental architecture. The palace has some fascinating lattice work and filigree work. The palace has now been converted into a hotel. Adding to the magnificence of the palace are its terraced lawns the 'Bougainvillea' bushes. Spotting peacocks roaming around the palace is an amazing sight. The Palace also houses a rich collection of well-preserved paintings, hunting trophies and old photographs. A library having the largest collection of original Sanskrit manuscripts on parchments, copper and gold and silver plaques adds to the heritage of Lalgarh Palace. The palace also comprises of a museum, displaying an amazing collection of miniature paintings, manuscripts, weaponry and even a World War I bi-plane. Also a part of the museum is a unique collection of books, photographs, manuscripts and albums dating back to the old times. A visit to Lalgarh Palace can simply be termed as a visit to royal heritage of Rajasthan.

Friday, November 20, 2009

INDIA - "The Best Holiday Destination"

Explore INDIA
"Best Holiday Destination"

India is blessed with most precious gifts of nature and mankind. You can't have one reason to visit India, because this beautiful country has numerous places to get you attracted. A wide range of artistic marvels, historical monuments, pilgrimage sites and unique construction epics are all golden feathers in India's Crown. Tourist across the globe love to tour India and experience the humility and affection of its people.

Here is a short summary of nature blessings on India . . .


From the mighty expanse of the Himalayas in the north to exotic beaches in south, India has a unique and astounding landscape. The lush green fields of Punjab will encircle you with a sensation of love. The bright yellow fields of mustard dot the countryside and the adventurous dense jungles mark the stunning landscape of India. The varied landscapes are a feast to explore. Even the beautiful cities of India such as Jaipur, the “Pink City” will get you spelled with their charm. Come and visit God's own country. . ..


With a large number of masterpieces from its majestic past and strong religious foundations India has a profound example of architecture marvels, both from the past and present. The grand forts, palaces and temples throughout the country will make you visit ancient times. The Taj Mahal – one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the lively example of love marks the glory of architecture in India. It's made from white marble displayed in perfect balance and symmetry. Elegant domes, intricate carved screens and expert inlay work will give you a treasured memory. The temples of Khajuraho are another example of excellence in architecture and construction. This historic monument celebrates the erotic state of Chandelas. Extraordinary sculptures and murals, detailed stone reliefs depicting village life and larger than life deities show the exuberant crafts of India. There is an elongated list of such monuments and you can only stand stand in front of them admiring the excellence.


India is a secular country and all the religions in the world are practiced here. In fact, India forms the foundation stone of various religions. Hinduism is the most dominant religion. It also is home to one of the largest populations of Muslims in the world. Sikhism and Buddhism traces their origin in India. Being home to other religions like Jainism, Christianity, Bahai etc. India brings the whole world in a united country. Experience the diversity.


With diversity in religions, India has many festivals to celebrate. All festivals are celebrated with a spirit of leisure and excitement regardless of religions and regions. The biggest celebrated festivals are Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, Baisakhi of Sikhs, Muslim’s Id, Christmas and for the Parsis- the New Year. In addition to these, two national festivals of independence day and republic day are also celebrated with intense patriotism and glory. All the festivals spread colors of love and unity amongst masses. All these gala occasions give the real feel of celebration. . .

The Delicious Indian food

You can't resist your temptation for world famous Indian delicacies. Lip smacking dishes include the rich sauces in the north, sweet desserts in the east, creative naans and rotis (breads) in the west and the spicy curries in the south. Besides these, snacks like samosa, chaat, panipuri, pao bhaaji etc will take a serious test of your taste buds. The fabulous sweetness of gulab jamun, ras malai, bengali rasgulla and the mouth watering fumes of 'gajar ka halwa' will get you delighted with deliciousness. You will get addicted to the scents and flavor of diverse Indian food. . . .


India and shopping can be termed as synonyms. Whether you’re a hungry shopper or a bargain-hunter, a lover of handicrafts, a foodie or none of the above, you will shop in India. Jewelry, artwork, colorful textiles and carpets, handicrafts, ethnic garments, leather goods etc – the markets are filled with heaps of nominaly priced products. World famous Bnarsi sarees, punjabi jutis, kolhapuri chapals, lucknwi kurtas and many more, you will indulge in a stupendous shopping schedule.


India has a rich wildlife. The nation spread National Parks and wildlife centuries preserve this wildlife in the most efficient manner. 60% of the world’s tigers live in India, and seeing the Bengal tiger in the wild is something everyone should experience at least once. Kaziranga National Park is home to 80% of the world’s one-horn Rhinoceros. The giant Indian Elephant can be seen across the country. Bird life is another factor to drive you crazy. In total there are more than 1,200 native species. India has 5,000 wildlife Sanctuaries and more than 90 National Parks. They also offer fantastic resorts, knowledgeable naturalist guides and plenty of untamed India experiences.


With such a diverse landscape and religious beliefs, Indian society is the only one of its kind in the world. Built on the building blocks of love, care, affection and trust, the society of India is an excellent example of unity. Come to India and you will love will be glad to be its part.

Accommodations and Hospitality

India abides by the sacred saying 'Atithi Devo Bhava'. Every visitor to this beautiful country is treated with great humility and service. You will be greeted with millions of smiles and immense love. Hospitality is celebrated in India in its most true sense. From stately resorts to galore modern hotels, India has world's best accommodation arrangements. The luxuries and royalties of service in India you can't even imagine.

Visit India Year

India's Ministry of Tourism is running a "Visit India Year" in 2009. Tourists coming to India in 2009 are offered a range of complementary offers such as domestic air tickets, city sightseeing tours, accommodations, and rural eco holidays. Most of the promotions are "buy one get one free" or "stay for two nights and get the third night free". Some of India's best hotels are participating in this campaign. In addition, free one night home stays with breakfast are being offered in 15 rural sites across India. So pack our bags and visit Incredible India.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Slowdown Is Starting To Show

The global slowdown has it seems cast a shadow on Indian handicraft industry as well. The industry which was flourishing at a rapid rate during the first half of 2008, is seeing a gigantic dip in export orders and works. Handicraft industry is the second largest industry in India on the basis of manpower employed. And nearly 500000 have been laid off in the last three months.

The demand for Indian handicrafts has gone down by nearly 40%. Most harshly hit are the metal ware and wooden craft producers who had a huge customer base in US and UK. They are now forced to close many of their factories to bear the loses.

At the start of this financial meltdown, it was not looking this bad for the handicraft industry as tourism was still high. The main reason for that was that it was still a festival season in India and tourists were ample. December is a global festival season and this drove the foreign market as well. Now it is all over. Christmas has passed and New year is gone, and with it the tourists. There are no more 'quick delivery orders' in the bag.

This very well could be a long fight against the markets. But Indian handicraft industry is one of the oldest and most experienced industries in the country; and it has seen many such phases. I believe that they will pull out of it reasonably comfortably.

Besides, for how long can the invaluable treasures be out of demand????

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Clay of Art

It has slowly become one of the best gifts that can be presented. Not only is it easy on the pocket of the presenter, the receiver is equally happy. Terracotta items are one of the most loved gift items around. They are absolutely beautiful to look at and are very long lasting. These glazed terracotta items are made from earth and rate very high on the utility meter.

The use of clay and terracotta has been done from the time since it was known that such things exists. From grand temples like The Temples of Vishnupur to small household items like tea pot and utensils, artists of Bengal have made the full use of terracotta and clay. Few years back, the use of it had drastically fallen as there were not many takers for it and it no longer remained a profitable venture for the artists. But after some time, its absence started pinching the real art lovers and soon there was again demand for it.

The rich alluvial clay which is the raw material for this art work comes from the banks of River Ganga. It is perfectly purified and moistened by nature itself. After it is extracted, it is treated with special chemicals to turn it into superior quality ceramic clay. This clay then passes through several stages of being filled in a kiln at various temperatures. In between, it is glazed, treated with chemicals and colours and shaped into different shapes. What makes the products special is that the chemicals and colours used are tested at the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, and certified as harmless. The high temperature firing also makes the household products safe for use in microwave. The range of products includes tea and coffee sets, mugs, soup and sauce bowls, dinner sets, planters, vases, room decor and the list goes on and on....

So go on and invite your friends over for a drink and serve them beer in these beautiful work of arts. Not only will this show your concerns towards earth but will also be a nice style statement. And the best thing is that they can be bought in mostly all regions of India.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pipli's Appliqué Work

I have started believing that the most beautiful things in life happen unexpectedly.

Driving down the highway in Orissa, I was mesmerized by the sudden change in my surroundings. It was as if someone poured thousands of colors all over the region. Both sides of the road were displayed parasols, wall hangings and various types of bags in bright shades of red, green and yellow. On inquiring, I came to know that these wonderful art works were created in a small town called Pipli, situated on the highway between Bhubaneswar and Puri. There was something different yet very common about the art work on the products and that enticed me to go their origin place.

Pipli is the home to the old appliqué art work. Only on looking at them closely did I come to know that Pipli's treasure is not exactly unknown. The giant canopies, colorful beach umbrellas, wall hangings and lampshades are bought by millions across India, but nobody knows about its place of origin. It is not just a product you are buying, you are actually taking home a very old tradition, a treasure.

It is somewhat different from appliqué works elsewhere. In Pipli's appliqué work, motifs are cut out from various colored materials and then superimposed on a base cloth, usually of contrasting colors. It is not clear about its origin but they have been associated with rituals of Jagannatha Temple from as long as anybody could remember. They are used in ceremonial attire, ritualistic props and on drapes used in the chariots. There is a strict color code and only red, black, green, yellow and white colors can be used in religious art work.

Slowly the items on which appliqué work was used increased drastically as it was praised in all sections of the society. Today they are used on bags, parasols, wall hangings, room decorations, awnings, letter holders, bed covers and almost everywhere. I was told that Pipli appliqué work can be bought from anywhere in Orissa and government emporiums throughout the country, but i found it really pleasing to see the craftsmen at work. It really helps you appreciate the craft more once you see it being born. So if you are traveling to Puri or Bhubaneswar or anywhere close, do not forget to visit Pipli, it is worth it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Digha Beach - Widest Beach In The world

Everybody talks so much about the Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world that many equally beautiful and deserving destinations are ignored. There are many first in the world on the face of India that get lost in oblivion due to their low reachability. On my trip to Kolkata, I came to know about a magnificent spot that still is far from being world famous or even India famous. cannot call Digha beach a one day excursion from Kolkata as I had to keep aside two days for visiting this place. And that makes it a perfect weekend getaway option. It is nearly 187 Km from Kolkata but it is worth every single moment you spend to reach here.

The beach is surely among the quietest beaches which is pleasing to all senses. Digha beach is one of the very few where you can drive your own car on the shoreline. And it was from a local that I also learned that this is the widest beach in the world. Then why isn't this beach more famous than Marina Beach or even recognized???? Digha is surely more cleaner, calm, uncluttered, and beautiful than the Marina.

I went there all alone so I didn't have much to do, just lie around and sunbath. There were few groups who were enjoying beach volleyball, some were taking a horse ride, and few families were splashing around in the water. The shoreline is surely firm as the water here is quite clear and perfect for swimming. And how could you not find couples in such a romantic setting.

The beach is not completely isolated and there are few staying option near to the beach. There is a Digha Tourist Lodge (I stayed here and it was good) run by WBTDC and there are few private accommodations as well.

A near perfect weekend spot for everyone.

The Unexplored Brighton of India

India is the mystical land that has been referred as the most vibrant
country in the world. Whenever I plan for vacations my preference revolves
around the unexplored options yet to be treaded and exploited by humans.
While I was
in Mumbai, I got a chance to fulfill this prolonged wish of mine. Through
the natives of the outskirts of the city, I got to know about the place
called Karjat, laden with everything 'that dreams are made up of'.

Vast acres of luxuriant green paddy fields swaying in the gentle breeze
against the panoramic backdrop of the Bhor ghats greeted me while
transversing the river Ulhas. I could feel that this remote destination in
Maharashtra have everything that a nature
lover can seek above imaginations the magnificent views of splendid
greens, dazzling waterfalls manifestation of a milky falls and the most
shimmering rivulets
streaming down the hill slopes trespassing the vibrant greens blossoming
with numerous flowerets Ah what a sight! The eyes have not seen a charisma
like this before.
To add more to my taste is the adventure cocktail and the various trekking
I choose the one that lead to the most beautiful
hills of Matheran via Vavarle village and Rambagh point. Initially this climb
was quiet gentle and comfortable but lateron the inclination increased
drastically lasting for three good hours that almost took my breath out.

My another trail was the seven-hour trekking route to Bhimashankar.
Starting from a small village Khandas about 15 kms from Kajrat, this
climb was long and steep. I along with two local guys who accompanied me in
a courtesy of guiding the route covered the distance in almost 4 hours. In
between we halted at Padar fort and then at Koli village to restore our
energy. The villagers were too humble to offer us fresh coconut milk and
fried banana chips. The sky elevated outgrowth and thickly populated
vegetation provided welcoming
shades that increased our halts too. My local friends bid me goodbye and I
was on my track again. Bhimashankar is a revered pilgrim destination, after
climbing a hill I could reach the 'Nagphani' - shaped like a head of the
cobra, quite spectacular. After
indulging into a short trek from Kondana village, I came upon the rock cut
Kondana caves with Buddhist embodiments, definitely it was worth a climb.

My monsoon experience of river Ulhas was beyond comparison. The turbulent
gushing of the waters enhanced the thrill of rafting as well as canoeing.
I really found that
various adventure options and the proximity from Mumbai, has made
Karjat a popular weekend gateway specially for those who want to enjoy
nature at its best.