Visiting Sri Lanka

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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.

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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

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

Hawa Mahal

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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

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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.