“INDIA IS NOT A DESTINATION, ITS AN EXPERIENCE” – Navina Jafa.
My friend Sally- who is also our travel agent at a local agency in Seaforth NSW, went to India last year on a work travel junket. She and Claudia from Tikka Tours along with 10 other agents toured parts of India and have created a fully escorted -” See Shop and Savour” a Rajasthan Tasting Journey for 16 nights departing next week. ……
I’m off on this journey with ‘the skipper’ other wise known as my tall brunette friend and business partner Lindy, she gets to hang out with me- the short blonde ‘little Buddy’…… oh stop it Gilligan!
I’m a research kinda gal, so to have this all planned for us has been wonderful. Claudia (Claudi ) has been taking tours to India for a very long time, and can tailor tours at your request. Including changing our tour slightly so we get to stay at the Best Exotic Marigold hotel. I often get told I look like Judy Dench – the British actress, and my reply has always been “oh she’s my Grandmother” ( insert winking smiley face here !) I can’t wait to have my photo taken out the front of this hotel!
India is a country of extremes- 5 star hotels to the slums they make movies about. To travel through the desert state of Rajasthan and discover over flowing wealth from the Palaces to the Forts, to see and smell the colours of the market places, street stalls, with their foods and spices, flowers, saris and turbans, it’s going to be an eye opener and we are so excited.
Claudi and Sally have hosted a couple of talks on our trip and I’ve made notes of what we will be doing………. Lindy was unable to attend so she kinda knows nothing and is happy to get a surprise everyday. Unlike when we went to Africa last year together to be told “we weren’t on holiday we are on tour”, I think as there are only 9 of us going it should be a slightly reduced pace. There are things planned everyday and some vast distances to be travelled.
We have all been taking daily probiotics to help our tummies cope with the rich food we may eat. A Rajasthan specialty is chickpea flour dumplings poached in a spicy gravy. Sounds amazing ….
Sally has co-ordinated and helped us all apply for our Visa’s, which was a massive effort all on it’s own, to the point Sally sent us step by step screen shot instructions, on how to complete it and we all still “f” it up! Passport photo’s were required in a special size of course! I’d post them here to show you, however only the little man in India wobbling his head as he stamps my passport will be seeing that pic! Fingers crossed we get them in time.
We are arriving and departing from Delhi, the capital of India. whilst in Delhi, we will visit the old city, a Sikh Temple, do a heritage walk and of course shopping! We have all been warned we have a flight to Udaipur, the next day, so not too much shopping because of our internal flight, but after that all bets are off and I believe there is a secret bet on who has the lightest bag leaving OZ and see who gets the heavy sticker on our return.
Udaipur, the white marbled city that is surrounded by lakes. We are staying at the Taj Lake palace…. look it up online …. Oh My goodness- it’s a hotel in the middle of a big lake! Another romantic hotel for the skipper and I. Whilst here we will tour local markets and Bazaars, enjoy fine dining at this hotel including a master cooking class. Then it’s onto an overnight stop to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is actually in a small village on our way to Rohet.
In Rohet we will be doing a jeep safari of the villages in the area, before heading to the medieval city of Jodhpur or the Blue city- well Indigo actually! Dominating this city is the Mehrangarh Fort. This city has it’s water piped down from the Himalayas via a massive pipeline to the farming communities and the city. Then it’s on to Fort Barli, an overnight stop to break up the long drive and another cooking class after some shopping, and maybe a massage at the Tree of Life Resort and Spa.
Allegedly the pink city of Jaipur, is known as the gateway to Rajasthan and home to the Amber Fort. Whilst we are here will be visiting an elephant camp called Dera Amer, where if we choose we can take a sunset ride with these beautiful animals, personally I just want to see their beautiful art works that are hand painted on their faces and trunks.
Then it’s on to a quaint village of Samode, where we will being staying at the Samode Palace and experiencing a Bollywood night with henna tattoos and dancing! We leave Samode and it’s local villages and head to Agra to see one of the most photographed monuments of love – The Taj Mahal. We will be there for sunset and the following morning a very early start to see the sunrise on this majestic building. Agra is also the city of the red fort. After this amazing experience its back to Delhi for a private tea tasting and you guessed it last minute shopping!
On a recent trip to Italy I saw an amazing day bed and a wall covered with mirrors at one of our hotels and with a little help from Claudi, it’s fair to say that there maybe a container coming home from our trip! Request anyone ??
Looking forward to sharing snippets with you a long the way xx