Luxury Hotels in India

Image

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

The luxury hotels of India are no secret to the world, swarm of indigenous and international chains offer many hotel options, all geared to provide the ultimate in service. Luxuriate, rejoice and rejuvenate in some of the most exquisite resorts at popular destinations of this vast country that rightfully enjoys the status of a subcontinent. The luxury hotel segment has seen a boom in the last decade leading to many new ones, up-gradation of old ones and restoration of the ancient palaces to bring on platter the finest properties where one can indulge in extravagant experiences forming a lifetime memory!!

Image

Each of the Vilas properties by the Oberoi Group is renowned for the correct combination of breathtaking beauty, luxury and excellent facilities. ‘Vilas’ translated in English means sheer bliss – true to the definition, Udaivilas in Udaipur, Rajvilas in Jaipur, Amarvilas in Agra and Vanyavilas in Ranthambore, are four of the most stunning options in India that have epitomized the concept of hospitality and luxury. These resorts have won several accolades for their world-famous hospitality, unmatched luxury and highest service standards. Complete with lavish rooms, well trained staff, pleasure-seeking swimming pools, indulgent SPAs, magnificent gardens, extravagant fountains, well appointed bars and opulent restaurants serving sumptuous cuisine, they are startling in appearance and unbeatable in their setting. A blissful experience!!

Image

Ananda in the Himalayas is situated in the serene foothills of the mighty Himalayas, surrounded by forests and overlooking the majestic Ganges. It used to be the Vice Regal Palace during the reign of the Maharaja, which has, in the past hosted some of the country’s renowned heads of the state. Now, one can redefine their lifestyle in this SPA resort with traditional wellness techniques and ancient alternative therapies like Ayurveda, Vedanta & Yoga – that heal the mind, soul and spirit. A rejuvenating experience!!

Image

Today’s hotel, The Imperial, New Delhi, is one of the most excellent monuments of Edwin Lutyens’ visualization of the city’s unique grand plan. It is a premium combination of several styles of architecture famous in the Colonial Era like Art Deco and Victorian architecture, making it stand out among the best luxury hotels of the capital and the country. It combines the unsurpassed elegant accommodation and great cuisine to provide an enriching experience!!

Image

There are many business and leisure hotels in and around the Delhi. ITC Maurya in New Delhi is a luxury hotel whose interiors are inspired by the Mauryan dynasty, their art & architecture. It makes available the level of expertise and service in hospitality, needed for an ultimate experience in the capital. Trident in Gurgaon with its opulent interiors, well maintained gardens, courtyards and swimming pool presents a resort-like atmosphere that impresses its patrons. The Oberoi in Gurgaon is the best recent addition, eminent for its customized architecture adding in the element of space, light and greens that provide an exclusive atmosphere to unwind appropriately.

Image

The Leela, Goa offers idyllic charm – Portuguese legacy of Southern Goa, pristine beaches, natural vistas, well-designed interiors and exuding luxury, making it a perfect getaway. The Leela Palace, Delhi, located in the most prominent Diplomatic Enclave of the city, is an illustrious palace-like hotel, breathtaking in terms of its grandeur, lavishly appointed rooms, hospitable staff and delectable cuisine. The Leela Palace, Udaipur is a beautiful property in the city of lakes with an opulent presence on Lake Pichola. Situated on a cliff and overlooking the immaculate beaches, The Leela, Kovalam provides breathtaking views of its natural surroundings and a popular choice for luxury travelers while in South India. The more recently added The Leela Palace, Chennai is a crown jewel of the South. A luxurious experience!!

Image

Tree of Life SPA and Resort nestled in the Aravalli hills in Jaipur, is perfect escape from the outside world. The resort is built with indigenous material using local techniques and ornamental styles, and yet it offers the best in modern comforts to date. It is an ideal spot for nature lovers who want to indulge in SPA therapies and want the very best in personal service that the flawless team at the resort is geared to offer. A multitude of activities are yours to pick as you get ready for a memorable experience at the Tree of Life!! The immaculate Villas with private pools, gardens and massage beds present a unique opportunity to rejuvenate or indulge in romance!!

Image

Kerala – often called the God’s own country – is a popular tourist destination housing some of the most unique hotels and resorts set around virgin beaches, heritage surroundings and abundant wildlife, allowing an opportunity to immerse in the essence of India with nature. Brunton Boatyard in Fort Cochin used to be a shipbuilding yard with Victorian architecture, which now verbalizes the old tales with modern amenities. Spice Village in Periyar introduces its visitors to an abode of green surroundings with elaborate flora and fauna to entice the patrons. Kumarakom Lake Resort on the banks of Lake Vembanad in Kottayam is gorgeously set around the backwaters offering luxury amenities in a fine heritage property. Yet another distinguished luxury resort & SPA on the same lake is The Zuri Kumarakom, with Indian-style rooms, private gardens & pools. A stirring experience!!

Image

Vivanta by Taj in Bekal, inspired by the nature, myths, traditions and culture of its land, is ideal to get respite from the world outside. Niraamaya – Surya Samudra, Kovalam is a luxury heritage resort with a difference, where the lush greens and the blues of the ocean blend effortlessly with the interiors. The conventional Kerala-styled cottages put forward the old world charm with modern comforts. Devonshire Greens is a colonial-styled property, celebrating the essence of Munnar with its background of tea gardens, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries and mountain mist. House Boat Experience of Kerala is as exotic as the land itself – it is the talk of the luxury travel circuits across the world. The Kettuvallam (traditional name for the houseboat) is the best way to explore the emerald green backwaters and the many unique ways of life in the God’s own country! An unforgettable experience!!

Image

There are many more hotels to experience in India. The Taj Mahal Palace of Mumbai overlooks the legendary Gateway of India and speaks for its warm hospitality and rich history of the city. The Windflower, Pondicherry, is a beach resort with lavish French windows and majestic settings. ITC Gardenia is a luxury hotel in Bangalore, embodying the grandeur of nature. ITC Maratha in Mumbai is complete with Maharastrian hospitality, all the modern day amenities and rich history. ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad signifies the opulence of the Telugu grandeur, overlooking the magnificent Hussain Sagar Lake. The Oberoi Grand at Kolkata is over a 100 year old luxury property with architecture inspired by the colonial Bengal. Raas in Jodhpur is a fine example of the Rajput architecture and their legendary hospitality. The Serai in Jaisalmer is one of the finest luxury desert camps which offer the perfect opportunity for guests to explore the golden surroundings as they chill out in the lap of luxury. Devi Garh by Lebua in Udaipur is a majestic heritage hotel, housed in an 18th century palace on a hill-top. Many experiences in one land!!

Image

The country boast of some of the finest wildlife resorts. Mahua Kothi, Banjara Tola and Bhagvan, of Taj Safaries, all in Madhya Pradesh in central India, are distinct jungle lodges with a balance of land’s rural architecture and modern day facilities merging to lure its guests. Orange County resort in Kabini in Karnataka, is where one can discover the ways of life of the local tribes, wildlife and nature. The Serai in Kabini is an awe-inspiring jungle lodge offering luxurious cottages abundant with greenery. A rustic experience!!

Image

Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is the definite answer to the luxury travellers, seeking the Perfect Romantic Getaway. Set amidst Lake Pichola – a glimpse of its breathtaking sight is enough to make you desire it.  The Palace is accessible only by private boats and it trails of heritage, royal lifestyle and traditions hidden behind its majestic appearance. Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad is indescribable in its beauty and beyond imagination in its European décor. This luxury palace-hotel has won appreciation from the guests all over the world for its grandeur and the royal experience it presents in this former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is a great example of a mix of styles in architecture and is the essence of the royal palaces of Rajasthan. A lifetime experience!!

To book an experience, Contact Us

Image

Disclaimer: The photographs used in this blog post have been taken from different online sources. We do not take credit for any one of them.

Advertisements

Indian Cuisine – Best of All!!

food2

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

The cuisine of India is famous for its use of spices, herbs and other exotic ingredients. The style of cooking and flavors differ in every part of this country. India is well known globally for its diverse cuisines and a large assortment of dishes served with unbeatable hospitality, dishing bliss-on-a-platter to the food lovers.

The Indian cuisines most popular with the travelers are Mughlai and delicacies from the North-West Frontier epitomized by the ITC Bukhara in New Delhi. Mughlai cuisine is an ancient technique of cooking developed in the India in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. It has been influenced by the cooking styles of multiple lands developing a unique and rare blend – several delicacies with spicy to mild flavors, with a lingering rich aroma of whole and ground spices & herbs, assortment of meats cooked as kebabs or relished with gravies, and an assortment of mouth-watering breads. North Western Frontier brings to us the Peshawari cuisine, a rustic and delectable style of cooking. In this cuisine, large pieces of vegetables and meats are marinated and prepared at high temperatures in the tandoor (clay-oven), to keep the food tender and moist. The spices, herbs and flavors used will suit every palate – of course with adjustment of chilies to taste.

Apart from these, there are many regional cuisines famous among the tourists like Punjabi food, Rajasthani food, Bengali dishes, Gujarati wholesome thali, Malabar cuisine, Kashmiri food, Awadhi cuisine and delicacies of Chettinard and North Eastern cuisine.

The changing times and innovation has also led to localization of many international cuisines, still the original recipes stick out for their authentic taste. India Fusion food has made rave around the world. The cuisine that stands out is the Fusion food. Its origin can be traced back to the British rule in India, where the British and Indian cuisines were fused to create new delicacies. From that time onwards, people have gone ahead and combined foods from various countries together to create a whole new selection of dishes. This cuisine can be found in metropolitan parts of the country, with different preparations to suit different regions.

India’s celebrity, New Delhi born Chef Suvir Saran opened the DeviRestaurant in New York to great reviews. And it is the first Indian restaurant in the U.S. to have earned a Michelin star. The restaurant offers a unique blend of authentic Indian home cooking brought together with traditional and regional delicacies. Chef Manish Malhotra of the Indian Accent at the Manor showcases Indian food for the 21st century with a remarkable creation of fusion specialties. Awarded the best restaurant all India by Time Out, Indian accent, offers a range of tasting menus that are a must try – for one and all!!

food 1

There are many Indian dishes, snacks and desserts that are popular world over, like:

7 Popular Indian Snacks

Samosas – fried pastries containing mixed fillings served hot with mint and tamarind chutneys (accompanying sauce). This snack has a lot of preparations and different types of fillings in different parts of the country – common ones being potatoes, peas, vegetables and chicken

Chaatone of the most famous savory snack available at almost every street / market of the country. Its popularity has off course resulted in its numerous variants using different ingredients in different regions

Bhelpuriis said to have came from cafes of Gujarat and local food stalls of Mumbai. It is nutritious and delicious, with its main ingredient being puffed rice mixed with tamarind chutney and chopped vegetables

Vada Pav – a famous Maharashtrian snack usually having fried patties of potato in a heated bun with different side ingredients and chutneys

Momos – are popular in the whole country but these did originate in the state of Sikkim as an appetizer. These steamed dumplings can be steamed or fried, filled with boiled and grated vegetables or any type of minced meat, often served with a soup

Paani Puri or Gol Gappa – round, thin and hollow bread, fried till crispy, which is filled with spicy mint water, diced potato and boiled chickpeas, with a hint of tamarind chutney and spices

Idli, Vada and Dosa with Sambar – are popular snacks from South India, also famous all over the country for their distinctive tastes. These are made from fermented lentils and rice batter in various proportions by steaming, deep frying and shallow frying respectively. All served with coconut chutney

 

7 Popular Indian Dishes

Biryani – a rice dish usually cooked using basmati (the best quality of rice), many spices, meat, eggs and vegetables. This world famous dish comes from the ancient and royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperors

Butter Chicken – the renowned chicken preparation, from the kitchens of Punjabi cuisine, which puts India on the Food Map of the world. For this dish, the chicken is marinated in yoghurt with spices and then cooked in a special sauce made with loads of butter, onion, tomato puree and a number of spices, giving it a unique flavor

Tandoori Chicken – a savory dish made with marinated chicken, cooked in a clay oven with several spices.

Kebabs – pieces of meat, vegetables or cottage cheese marinated in flavoring spices and cooked in a clay-oven before serving with a mint chutney

Palak paneer – a delicacy of Punjabi cuisine, usually served with Indian bread made from maize flour. Boiled spinach and cottage cheese are cooked with flavoring spices, onion and a vital hint of garlic

Dal makhani – a rich preparation of lentils and beans cooked with fresh cream, onions, tomato and spices, topped with butter

Naan and Parathas – popular Indian flatbreads prepared plain or with different stuffings. Naan is prepared in a clay oven and served hot, topped with butter. Parathas are usually stuffed with various fillings and cooked over a flat pan, also generously topped with butter

 

7 Popular Indian Desserts

Laddu – made from semolina, gram flour and other flours, mixed with oil, nuts and powdered sugar. Often prepared on festivals for offerings and on wedding occasions to distribute

Carrot halwa – a rich preparation of grated carrots, prepared in ghee (clarified butter) with khoya (thickened or reduced milk), milk and nuts. It is quite popular in North India in winters and is served hot – can leave many gasping for more

Rasgulla – a Bengali sweet made out of dough balls of cottage cheese that are steamed and then thoroughly dipped in sugar syrup

Jalebi – another famous sweet of India made with all purpose fermented flour batter, fried in circular shapes and then soaked in sugar syrup. Often served with Rabri – a delicacy made from condensed milk and served cold as an accompaniment to Jalebi or savored by itself

Gulab Jamun – the staple dessert in India, prepared out of fried khoya balls stuffed with chopped pistachio and other nuts. Dipped in rose flavored sugar syrup and are best enjoyed piping hot

Srikhanda dessert from the Western and South-Western region of India, made out of strained yogurt mixed with sugar, nuts and different spices for aroma, especially cardamom

Kheer – an Indian rice pudding, made by boiling rice with milk, sugar and an assortment of nuts. It is then served hot or chilled, sprinkled with saffron, silver leaf and raisins

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting Sri Lanka

download

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

Visit Sri Lanka, a pendant on the neck of India. For the first time in its recorded history, it is free from foreign invasion, colonial influence or tragic civil war. From the time of the Chola kings to the Portuguese who landed in 1505, the Dutch in 1648 and finally the British in 1815, foreigners have long sought this land of stunning beauty and fabled riches. The many names of this island throughout its history – Taprobane to the Greeks, Serendib to the Arabs, and Ceylon to the Europeans –evoke an exotic paradise amid the Indian Ocean. Today, Sri Lanka is safe and once again beckons travelers with its tremendous physical beauty, diversity of experiences, extremely kind people and excellent values. It has many cultural and natural World Heritage Sites, marvelous beaches, stunning mountains, fabulous hotels and more to offer.

download (1)

Your interactions with the many people you will meet will be stimulating, edifying and enlightening; you will have a well-rounded and profound learning experience that you will value forever.

We can design and execute a completely personalized and memorable Sri Lanka experience for you based on your interests and imaginations.

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting Islands

Image

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

The islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep represent a mini India with a rich diversity of language, religion, culture, history, customs and society. The Andaman and Nicobar are islands in the Bay of Bengal, covered with dense forests and with an endless variety of exotic flora and fauna. The topography of the islands is hilly and abounds in evergreen forests, sandy beaches and meandering coastlines fringed with coconut palms that sway to the rhythm of the sea. The rare underwater marine life and corals, crystal clear water and mangrove-lined creeks, are a gift of nature. This is a world class eco-tourism destination with immense potential for adventure and water sports like trekking, island camping, snorkeling, scuba diving etc.

Lakshadweep is one of the most picturesque island destinations in the world today. A vast expanse of pristine beaches beautifully lined with striking palms, turquoise lagoons, dazzling coral reefs, eye catching tourist spots and salubrious climate. This is the ideal place for a break from the fast life, to refresh your spirits with long walks on the beaches, learn about the tribes living here and their traditions, even as you enjoy their cuisine. Enhance your experience with adventure and water sports.

Image

The Indian islands are a perfect destination for nature and adventure lovers who want to experience tranquility and thrill, romantics who want to arm lock in their private space and those who are on a path of rediscovering themselves.

We can design and execute a completely personalized and memorable Island travel experience for you based your interests and imaginations.

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting West India

photo278

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

The west of India includes a marvelous expanse spreading over Gujarat and Maharashtra, the two Indian states that are centers of business and the textile hub of India. Gujarat offers breathtaking locations and a scenic landscape, considered a melting pot of several civilizations resulting in a vibrant culture and a rich heritage. Azure seas meet sparkling sands, and the jungles are verdant, lush and green, where lion prowl and flamingos preen. Marble temples, white and pure, reflect the glory of the days of yore.

Mumbai – ‘Commercial Capital of India’, ‘City that never sleeps’, ‘City of Dreams’ – is the capital of Maharashtra. The city is forever alive, pulsating, vivacious and always on the move. Maharashtra also offers a gateway to the age-old palaces of the Maratha kings, carvings at Ajanta and the Ellora Caves and a spiritual experience at the Osho’s ashram in Pune. To top it all Goa, “The land of Sun, Sand and Sea”, is blessed with splendid scenic beauty, golden beaches, beautiful rivers, natural lakes and an architectural splendor – undoubtedly a “Paradise”. Once a Portuguese territory it portrays multitude of exquisite architecture and is also known for its magical night life – abundant bars and restaurants can leave night birds and gastronomes in a state of bliss.

We can design and execute a completely personalized and memorable West India experience for you paced as per your interests and imaginations.

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting East India

Image

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

East India is associated with the rise of Buddhism and Jainism, and the foundation of India’s first empire, that of the Mauryas, as well as its last, that of the British. Begin with Kolkata, which was the capital of British India till 1911 and is today a city of glaring contrasts—known as the birthplace of the Bengal Renaissance, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray, it also has a vast population that lives in slums, despite being one of three states in India where the Communist Party formed a democratically elected government that ruled for over thirty years.

ImageKolkata is also known for the Durga Puja, celebrated joyously in September-October each year, as the Goddess comes on her annual visit to her parents’ home, accompanied by her children. The puja is a community affair—pandals are lavishly decorated, and music & dance surrounds the air. Follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, on visits to Bodhgaya, Gaya, Rajgir and Vaishali in Bihar; enjoy the beauties of Orissa’s unspoilt beaches; delight in the Konark Sun Temple, which is designed in the shape of a chariot and participate in the Jaganath Rath Yatra in Puri, and marvel at the arts and crafts associated with this region. In Sikkim, trek through the Kanchenjunga and visit monasteries, as you gasp at the wonderful landscape and the biodiversity.

We can design and execute a completely personalized and memorable East India experience for you based on your interests and imaginations.

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting South India

Image

Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter

South India encompasses states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, as well as the union territory of Pondicherry. These southern states are known for their fairs and festivals; tea, spice and coffee plantations; wildlife; ancient temples; beautiful hill stations; beaches and backwaters. On your visit, you can also avail of various alternate therapies to heal the body and rejuvenate the spirit—everything from Ayurvedic massages, hydro-therapies, naturopathy, to yoga and meditation retreats. South India also offers a variety of cuisines, from the courtly Hyderabadi cuisine of the Nizams to the mild Udupi cuisine of Karnataka, the seafood of Malabar and the Chettinad from Tamil Nadu.

 Image

Voted among the world’s best travel experiences, don’t miss a Kerala Houseboat Cruise. As the houseboat winds its way along spectacular waterways, witness a way of life that is beautiful, laid-back and where nature abounds – a tranquil blend. Experience the ancient temples, confluence of great oceans, pristine beaches, mesmerizing folklore and more, on a South India Sojourn.

We can design and execute a completely personalized and memorable South India experience for you based on your interests and imaginations.

To book an experience, Contact Us

Visiting Agra – Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating – Suggestions and Options

World Wonder - Taj Mahal

Connect with us     Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter 

Visiting Agra

Agra is the former capital of Hindustan (India). It is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Though Agra’s history is largely recognized with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before that and has linkages since Mahabharata period and Maharishi Angira in 1000 BC. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan’s death, the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Babar (who became the first Mughal Emperor) in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. The golden age of the city began with the Mughal rule. It was known then as Akbarabad (after the Mughal Emperor Akbar) and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad (now old Delhi) in the year 1649.

The famous Mughal emperor Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Fort, besides making Agra a center for learning, arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabad called Fatehpur Sikri. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone. His son Jahangir had a love of gardens and flora and fauna, and laid many gardens inside the Agra Fort. Shah Jahan, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabad its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in totality in 1653. Shah Jahan later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabad, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there.

The sight of a white marble mausoleum, raised on a platform and graced by 4 minarets on each corner, reflected in the watercourse that runs through the ornamental gardens is an unrivaled tourist attraction in Agra. Taj Mahal, a symbol of undying love, has been summed up by Ghalib, the famous Urdu poet, as a rebuff of an ordinary man’s love for his beloved, in whose memory he cannot build a monument of such magnificence. Today, Taj Mahal is a major tourist attraction in Agra, and is open to all even on full moon nights, so that you can take your beloved by the hand and walk down the gardens as moon and its entourage of stars light your path on your tour to Agra. Besides Taj Mahal, there are plenty of tourist attractions in Agra that will keep your hands full while in Agra.

Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating in Agra — Suggestions and Options

Go sightseeing in Agra. Visit Fatehpur Sikri, which was the political capital of India’s Mughal Empire under Akbar’s reign from 1571 till 1585 and regarded as the crowning glory of his architectural legacy. Taj Mahal is a perfectly symmetrical monument that took 22 years (1631–1652) of labor and 20,000 workers, masons and jewelers to build, and is set amidst the landscaped gardens. Built by the Persian architect, the Taj Mahal is on the south bank of the Yamuna River. It can be observed from Agra Fort from where Emperor Shah Jahan gazed at it for the last eight years of his life, as a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of symmetry. Verses of the Koran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are twenty-two small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. Enjoy the Saga of the Taj at Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre, a series of play depicting the immortal love of Shajahan for Mumtaj Mahal- his beautiful wife, the lavish lifestyle of Mughal era and emaculate hardship of the artisans for 22 years that created the most precious specimen of craftsmanship.

Submerge in the majestic views of Agra fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, or Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. The fort contains splendid palaces both in red sandstone and white marble built by two generations of prolific builders Akbar and later Jehangir and Shahjahan. Some of the exquisite structures that deserve a mention are:

  • Sheesh Mahal – Literally meaning ‘Glass Palace’, was the royal dressing room adorned by tiny mirror-like glass-mosaic decorations on the walls.
  • Diwan-i-Am – It was used as a communications ground between the public and the aristocracy and once housed the Peacock Throne.
  • Diwan-i-Khas – A hall of private audience, it was used to welcome kings and dignitaries.
  • The Anguri Bagh – It houses 85 square, geometrically arranged lush gardens.
  • Khas Mahal – An immaculate white marble palace.
  • Mina Masjid – Literally meaning ‘Heavenly Mosque’, it is a tiny mosque closed to the public.
  • Nagina Masjid – Literally meaning ‘Gem Mosque’, it was designed exclusively for the ladies of the court.
  • Musamman Burj – A large, octagonal tower with a balcony facing the Taj Mahal.

Sikandra

Proceed on a tour of Sikandra. Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra is an exquisite example of different styles of architecture. This tomb signifies the characteristic flavor of the styles and architecture used in Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Visit Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, which is a highly ornate structure, which is looked upon as a precursor of the Taj Mahal as far as intricate carvings and inlay work are concerned. Itmad-ud daulah contains cenotaphs of Mirza Ghiyas and Asmat Begum, parents of the powerful Mughal Empress Noor Jehan, Queen of Jahangir, an exceptional beauty and an astute administrator.

Coming to exploring the deeper parts of the Agra city; one can feel the lingering presence of the bygone years and charm of the rulers, emperors & kings who once adorned the city, to their own desires. The Mehtab Bagh or Moonlight Garden is on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna from the Taj Mahal.

Other sights worth seeing in the Agra include:

  • Mariam’s Tomb
  • Ram Bagh
  • Dayal Bagh
  • Soami Bagh
  • Old Chungi, the library
  • Mankameshwar Temple
  • Jama Masjid
  • Johri Bazar
  • Kala Mahal (Mirza Ghalib’s birthplace)

Shopping experience in Agra is mostly remembered as visiting the lanes of different local bazaars filled with an array of handicraft & handloom articles, and spotting that mini Taj replica in various sizes at every corner of the bazaar. Leather items at Agra are famous for their quality. These include leather sandals, purses, bags and decorative items. There are lots of handicraft emporiums that offer a variety of sandalwood and rose wood items along with brass decorative pieces and stone carved images. The fine work done by the local artisans in the city is notable and the markets of Agra are the best place to explore exquisite pieces of fine Zari embroidery work, stone inlay work and precious gemstones. One can find most of the big emporiums concentrated in the area not far from Taj Mahal. Yet, those of you who can steer through the narrow lanes of the city markets of Kinari Bazaar, Raja Mandi, Fuhaara and Lohamandi can get their hands on the best bargains.

For an unforgettable shopping experience:

  • Kohinoor – jewels and embroidery emporium
  • Marble art palace – demonstration of marble inlay work
  • Shilpagram, a craft village on the eastern side of Taj Mahal in Agra, is a popular open-air emporium
  • Sadar Bazaar
  • Kinari Bazaar
  • Raja Mandi

Itmad-Ud-Daulah 1

Eating out in Agra is an unforgettable experience that can take you back to the bygone era of mughlai food and dining, where spices, essence and hospitality come together to create the magic, right in your plate! Several of India’s famous meat dishes come from the north where Mughal influence introduced considerable sophistication. The superb Mughlai cuisine with its luscious sauces of milk, curd, cream and crushed nuts is a hit in major restaurants of this city. There is rich, creamy kormas; tender steak like pasandas in an almond sauce; nargisi kofta; an array of kebabs; dalmoth; petha and more.

Esphahan, located in the plush Oberoi Amarvilas, will have you feeling like an emperor after eating one of their extraordinary meals. Inspiring Awadhi fare, traditionally from Lucknow, is recreated here with outstanding aplomb. Enjoy the live classical Indian music and exceptional service while you work your way around one of their Thali (plate) — it’s the best way to taste as many of Esphahan’s delectable dishes as possible.

Taj Khema is in the proximity of the Taj Mahal and offers a great view of the Taj Mahal. In Hotel Taj Khema, the guests can choose from a wide range of Indian and continental delicacies. Relax and enjoy the scrumptious food here, overlooking the Taj Mahal in all its pristine glory. Along with food you are also entertained with beautiful Indian folk music and cultural shows with a new theme every month.

At the Only Restaurant, bamboo-lined walls and red tablecloths set the scene and attentive staff serves up a big range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes in styles such as Mughlai, Afghan, Chinese and Continental. Do not miss the Maharaja Thali here, showcasing a traditional meal – good variety and taste.

Visit Pinch of Spice for a quick buffet or an Indian meal. Quick service accompanied by generous portions of good food with typical spices, kormas, and tikkas.

Some Boutique hotels in close proximity to the Taj Mahal provide amazing rooftop restaurants where you can enjoy a sundowner cocktail with scrumptious kebabs of Mughlai cuisine, with Taj as a backdrop.

Visit us at http://www.iteg.in/ or http://pinkescapes.in/ or http://www.amaltasluxury.in/ to book a tour and exciting experiences.

Visiting Jaipur – Sightseeing, Shopping and, Eating – Suggestions and Options

Hawa Mahal

Connect with us     Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter 

Visiting Jaipur

Jaipur city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Amber who ruled from 1699–1744. The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around four years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the science of Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks based on the anatomy of the human body, two of which contain the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were built along with seven strong gates. During the regime of Sawai Ram Singh, the whole city was painted pink to welcome Prince Edward of Wales (who later became King Edward VII). Today, avenues remain painted in pink, giving this famed city its distinctive appearance – a pink hue that is resplendent of their hospitality.

The city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by an elaborate road structure. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses the sprawling Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort, which was the residence of the King Sawai Jai Singh II, crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. The observatory, Jantar Mantar, is one of the World Heritage Sites. Included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit of the North, along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination in Rajasthan and India.

Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating in Jaipur — Suggestions and Options

Go sightseeing in Jaipur. Start with the old part of the city which tells the tales of great wars, the stories of royal romances and the intricately etched yester years in its every corner. From Panch Batti circle and the old world Raj Mandir cinema, head along M.I. Road, the main thoroughfare. Continue along M.I. Road, and you’ll come across the pink walls of the Jaipur Old City on your left. There are three gates, spaced around 500 meters apart, which provide entry into the Old City. The first one is Ajmeri Gate, followed by New Gate, and lastly Sanganeri Gate.

The Old City is surprisingly well laid out, with its wide, straight streets running in a grid which forms a series of bazaars. Make a photo-stop at Hawa Mahal, which was constructed for ventilation for the women who used to watch the royal march through the screens of this building. This was built by the poet-king Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799.

Visit the Amber Fort, which is known as one of the most fascinating of the Indian forts which includes an amazing set of palaces, temples, gardens and halls. The Shila Mata temple has a great religious importance. If you want to tread up the fort on elephant back, rather suggest you start here early in the morning. Other attractions include Diwan-e-Aam, Sukh Niwas, Jas Mandir and Sheesh Mahal, all of which gives a glimpse into the majesty of days gone by. Do stop at Artchill – showcasing Indian art.

Amber Fort

Enjoy a photo-stop at Jal Mahal, the monsoon palace of the Jaipur Maharajas, located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. Proceed to City Palace, where several courtyards and gardens provide wonderful contrast to its many palatial structures including Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Badal Mahal and the Sri Govind Dev temple. Also visit Jantar Mantar- the Observatory, a world heritage site. This wonderful astronomical observatory is famous throughout the world and bears the hallmark of exceptional astronomical development of the medieval period.

Other sights worth seeing in Jaipur include:

  • Albert Museum
  • BM Birla Planetarium
  • Galtaji
  • Laxmi Narayan Temple
  • Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh
  • Nahargarh Fort (spectacular sunset)
  • Jaigarh Fort
  • Gaitore

Shopping experience in Jaipur can give you an insight in the contrast of old bazaars and modern high end shops of the city. The local ‘Kundan jewelry’ is famous for the intricate work as much as the ‘Navratan jewelry’ (9 stones) that is believed to bring good luck to the users. The exotic blue pottery, the batik work and block printed textiles of Sanganer and Bagru, tie & dye fabrics, Mojaris (the local shoes), sandal wood carving items, beautiful stone carvings etc. An entire street and several city sectors were earmarked for artisans and traders in the past, and they continue to display their rich heritage to this day.

Near the Hawa Mahal are many shops dealing in pseudo-antiques and souvenirs. Some shops opposite Hawa Mahal stock the famous Jaipuri quilts, weighing from a few hundred grams to some kilograms. Nehru Bazaar, situated on the road between Ajmeri Gate and New Gate, is a favorite with the women of Jaipur. Many shops here are selling bright colored fabrics, shoes, trinkets and local perfumes. Bapu Bazaar lies on the road between New Gate and Sanganeri Gate, many shops here sell ethnic and modern clothes, copper utensils and patch-work bags that are famous with locals and tourists alike. Keep an eye out for the marvelously huge banyan tree on the right of this bazaar with its massive intertwined branches.

Stroll along and browse through the shops at Johari Bazaar. If the jewels at the high-end stores were a little out of your taste, you might find other options here that are more pocket-suitable. Johari Bazaar and the lanes that run off it are known for gold and silver jewelery, as well as inexpensive costume jewelry and bangles.

For an unforgettable shopping experience:

  • Ramganj Bazar for shoes or jootis (local styled shoes)
  • Kishanpol Bazar for tie and dye textiles
  • Maniharon Ka Rasta (Tripolia Bazar) for bangles and other items
  • Emporiums for hand-made rugs and carpets
  • Khajano Ka Rasta for marble carving
  • Sanganer village for block printing and hand-made paper
  • Blue pottery manufacturing units

Eating out in Jaipur can leave your heart & stomach filled with the unforgettable aroma of the delicacies of the Rajasthani cuisine and the local flavoring spices. The capital of Rajput kings had an impressive array of mouth-watering delights, kept closely guarded by the royal chefs. Legends tell tales of cooks trying to impress their guests by presenting at least one unforgettable item on the menu. The royal guests were served savory dishes made from stuffed camels, goats, pigs and peacocks. The food was served in gold and silver utensils, with a display of heartwarming hospitality that surpasses every imagination. Jaipur is famous for its Dal-Batti Churma, Mawa Kachori, Mirchi Bada, Rajasthani Subjis, Ghewar, Feeni, Gajak, Chauguni ke laddu and different kinds of Rajasthani breads.

You can visit Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar, a very popular food joint as it is easily affordable and serves famous local snacks and sweet dishes – such as mouth watering Raj Kachori and Rasmalai. It is situated in the busy market of Johari Bazaar and serves other authentic Rajasthani specialties too.

Chokhi Dhani is one of the most popular places to sample traditional food, and of course, a slice of true Rajasthani culture. Enjoy camel rides and traditional performances or splurge in the in-house flea-market. This village-style restaurant serves authentic Rajasthani cuisine in an authentic ambiance with is several course fixed menu.

Elephant ride

Pamper your taste buds at Handi Restaurant, on M.I. Road, which specializes in Non-vegetarian biryanis, curries and tandoori items. The atmosphere is great aligned by traditional interiors and a matching decor. Nearby Copper Chimney restaurant is a chic, elegant place with a friendly waiters’ army and a rollicking horse mural to compliment the decor. It offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian food as well as a small selection of Continental and Chinese food. Indian wines are available to accompany the exquisite food, flattering the taste and the aromas.

Spice Court is a relaxed clubhouse restaurant, with a blue-tiled roof and a splendid evening courtyard, the food is fresh, the kitchen spotless, and the kebab platters are a serious business. Folk dancers play perfect companions to the tasteful display of dishes that leave gastronomes asking for more. Choose to order as per your preferences rather than opting for the buffet.

Last but not the least, there are several houses and havelis offering you a flavour of royalty, by giving you an opportunity to dine with a royal family, witnessing the authentic royal hospitality, listen to their tales and savor culinary specialties that have traveled several generations. Not a difficult possibility is to a cooking demo.

Visit us at http://www.iteg.in/ or http://pinkescapes.in/ or http://www.amaltasluxury.in/ to book a tour and exciting experiences.

Visiting Delhi – Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating – Suggestions and Options

delhi

Connect with us     Visit Us     Facebook     Flickr     Twitter 

Visiting Delhi

Delhi is one of the oldest surviving cities in the world today. It is an amalgam of eight cities, each built in a different era by a new dynasty. The remains of forts, palaces and buildings are spread across the city, which adds to its character. Delhi has evolved into a culturally secular city – absorbing different religions, diverse cultures, both foreign and indigenous–and yet functioning as one organic entity, in its thousand-year history. It was known for its riches – both material and cultural. Foreign travelers were hypnotized by it; books have been written on it since times immemorial; poets have loved it and Kings and Emperors have fought over it. The National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine describes it as “one of the Ultimate Cities of a Lifetime to visit and explore.”

Delhi’s attractions range from forts and monuments dating back a thousand years to modern shopping malls, nightclubs and golf courses, as well as a wide range of cuisines to suit every taste.

Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating in Delhi — Suggestions and Options

Go sightseeing in Old Delhi. Visit Shajahanabad, the 17th-century city built by the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. Admire the famous and opulent Red Fort (a world heritage site), as well as the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Take a short rickshaw ride through the colourful bazaars of Chandni Chowk. Stop at Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, was cremated. Enjoy lunch at the Broadway Hotel restaurant Chor Bizarre, one of the oldest restaurants in Delhi, which features interesting interiors and delectable cuisine.

Begin the New Delhi tour with Birla Mandir, a modern colourful Hindu temple. Drive down the spectacular Rajpath, with a photo stop at the India Gate, and glimpses of Rashtrapati Bhavan and Houses of Parliament. Visit the breathtaking Humayun’s Tomb (a world heritage site), considered a model for the Taj Mahal. Take a short walk in the Lodi Gardens – the haven of serenity.

Visit Qila Rai Pithora, the first city of Delhi, which includes Qutab Minar (a world heritage site), the tallest minaret (72.5 meters) in India, built as part of a 12th century mosque, the first in India. Observe how the monument appears as the sun sets. Stay on after sunset to see it under hues of light. Proceed for a heritage walk in Hauz Khas Village and its surroundings – a journey through history, cuisine and shopping – from the past to the present.

Other sights worth seeing in Delhi include:

  • Lotus Temple of the Baha’i religion
  • Connaught Place
  • Gurdwara Bangla Sahib
  • Parathewali Gali and Dariba Kalan in Old Delhi
  • Akshardham temple
  • Nizamuddin Basti and Dargah
  • Delhi Zoo

You can also go boating at the Old Fort, and enjoy the sound and light show at the Red Fort.

Shopping expeditions in Delhi could take you from the environs of Chandni Chowk, where you can purchase traditional textiles, attars and jewelry, to the more modern and sophisticated ambiance of Khan Market and Connaught Place, frequented by expats and members of the diplomatic corps.

While the stalls in Dilli Haat and the state emporias on Baba Kharak Singh Marg introduce you to the hand-loom and handicrafts goods produced in all of India’s numerous states, Delhi’s many malls—Select Citywalk, DLF Mall, MGF Metropolitan and Ansal Plaza—showcase Indian and internationally famous brands.

Karol Bagh caters to the wedding planners and hardened shopaholics, whereas Hauz Khas Village, where you glimpse the remains of Khilji and Tughlaq-era madrassas, mosques and a tank, introduces you to India’s artists and fashion designers, through its art galleries and boutiques.

South Extension can be a motorist’s nightmare over the weekends—it is not only a popular shopping complex, but also includes residences and offices. Janpath is a popular destination for young people, with its reasonably priced clothes and artifacts.

Eating—Delhi’s cuisine, like its monuments, provides a vivid glimpse into its history.

The kababs, biryanis and curries served at Karim’s, located in Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin Basti, are the same that were eaten by Mughal emperors.

Moti Mahal, in Darya Ganj, serves tandoori food and curries popular in the north-west and Punjab, which became popular in Delhi after independence and partition.

Sagar Ratna, in Ashoka Hotel and Defence Colony, provides South Indian snacks—idlis, dosas, vadas and sambars—that Dilliwalas have grown to enjoy. Swagath, also associated with Sagar and located in Defence Colony, includes non-vegetarian food from South India, from the coastal regions.

If you’re shopping in Hauz Khas, stop off at Raas to enjoy a kabab meal or go to Gunpowder to relish home-style South Indian cooking whipped up by Satish Warier and Kiran Bhushi.

Spice Route at the Imperial takes our taste buds to South-East Asia, whereas China Garden takes us across the northern border.

Cafe Diva, in Greater Kailash, and Chez Nini in Jorbagh, are famous for their authentic Continental cuisine—Italian and French.

Last but not least—Maurya Sheraton’s Bukhara is justly famed for its scrumptious kababs and kali daal—just ask ex-President Bill Clinton. The more adventurous would doubtless enjoy Delhi street food, served at Nathu’s in Bengali Market.