Travels through India, Part One

Day 1- Udaipur- Rajasthan- North India

Udaipur is absolutely a fairy tale city. The Taj Lake Palace with its magical setting surrounded by Aravali Hills on Lake Pichola is breath taking. I arrived at the Lake Palace by boat and was welcomed by sunny courtyards, pillared enclosures and airy balconies. It is an indulgent retreat. You can immerse yourself aboard the Royal Jiva Spa Boat on the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola. It is overwhelmingly blissful.

Royal Jiva Spa Boat | Photo Credit: Taj Lake Palace

Royal Jiva Spa Boat | Photo Credit: Taj Lake Palace

Day 2- Udaipur- Rajasthan- North India

Whilst the Taj Lake Palace has a unique setting on the Lake, Hotel Fateh Prakash, the early 20th century palace now a modern, luxurious hotel is a stone’s throw away from the City Palace Museum where I was staying. The royal family of Mewar lives next door. A tea can be arranged with the royal family with advance notice, if the family is in residence. I woke up to a stunning view of the lake from my room. I began my day with the heritage walk of the old city visiting Jagdish Temple and exploring the City Palace with my local guide and historian where I saw a lively bazaar and colorful shops.

Exterior | Photo Credit: Fateh Prakash Palace

Exterior | Photo Credit: Fateh Prakash Palace

Day -3- Ranakpur- Jodhpur- Rajasthan- North India

After a leisurely breakfast, I drove to the beautiful Jain Temple in Rankapur. The drive was about 2.5 hours. On the way, I stopped at Mountbatten Lodge, which is a stunning colonial lodge with 4 exclusive suites. The Ranakpur Jain Temple, with its grand scale and sheer architectural complexity with 1,444 exquisitely carved pillars in white marble, is one of the five great holy places of the Jain faith.

The drive from Ranakpur to Jodhpur is 4 hours.

Local People in Jodhpur

Local People in Jodhpur

On the outskirts of Jodhpur, a 45 minute drive, Rohet Garh is a leading heritage hotel. It was an ancestral palace since 1622 AD. It has a walled enclosure leading to a bright lawned garden, with peacocks, splashes of flowers and swimming pool. 34 air conditioned beautifully decorated rooms, where William Dalrymple wrote “The City of Djinns” and Madonna brought her family for the New Year.  Mihirgarh, an hour away from Jodhpur is an exclusive nine suite boutique hotel where each room offers you more than 1700 sq.ft. of pure luxury.

The Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur is an immense palace, built of creamy sandstone and marble, an example of India’s princely opulence, which is the largest residence in the world with 347 rooms. It took 3,000 craftsmen and builders over 14 years to put together this palace’s huge hand-hewn marble and sandstone blocks. With a frescoed underground pool, it was completed in 1943 and is the last of the great palaces of India. Still serving as the primary residence of the royal family of Jodhpur, the Palace offers 64 luxurious rooms and suites to guests.

Palace Exterior | Photo Credit: Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace

Palace Exterior | Photo Credit: Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace

Day 4- Jaipur- Rajasthan- North India

Jodhpur is the Blue City, with its majestic Mehrangarh Fort filled with romance and feudal splendor. I walked down to old town, strolled around the colorful bazaar. Lunch at Hotel Raas was delicious with all local Rajasthani cuisine. Hotel Raas is a modern, contemporary boutique hotel which is in the heart of the city with magnificent view of the Mehrangarh fort.

Hotel Raas, Jodhpur

Hotel Raas, Jodhpur

The drive from Jodhpur to Jaipur is 6 hours.

Two hours away from Jodhpur, on the way to Jaipur, I stopped at Hotel Chhatra Sagar in Nimaj. It has luxurious tents that are perched over a reservoir with a magical feel. I arrived in Jaipur, late at night and stayed at Samode Haveli, a truly comfortable, beautiful property which is situated in the city.

Tent Interior | Photo Credit: Chhatra Sagar

Tent Interior | Photo Credit: Chhatra Sagar

 

Bela Banker

Bela Banker
Travel Consultant,  India
 SWAIN

I was born in Bombay (now called Mumbai), and have lived in the USA for more than 30 years. I have a passion for travel, for exploring, learning new cultures and being in new places. I love India and like to introduce all our clients to the colors, sounds, scents, traditions and food found throughout India. I customize all India trips and take our clients off the beaten path, where they can touch the heart and soul of the country. Other than travel, I love to read, cook, hike and spend time with my four boys.

2 Responses to Travels through India, Part One

  1. Mohan Narayanaswamy says:

    Hi Bela, I enjoyed reading your blog. Look forward to receiving Part-2. Cheers. Mohan

    • Shital Kamal Mehta says:

      You have tempted us to these places! Nice to know about some unusual options to stay in these gorgeous historical places!!

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