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Friday, 22 January 2010

Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’ - Page 5

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’ are exotic and amazing; its forts, palaces, natural wonders, culture and cuisine entice you at the same time that its poverty and pollution repulse you. All its contrasts create a vivid impression and an elixir for living vibrantly.

Shahpura

Our next destination was Shahpura Bagh. After a very long drive down a bumpy road through an unpromising looking area we were greeted by Sat, our genteel, intellectual host and shown around Shahpura Bagh, an oasis of calmness and refined taste. Our room was Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay Boltonhuge with 15-foot high ceilings, a four poster bed, sitting area, and bathroom with a claw foot tub and walk-in shower. One of the nicest spots on the property was the large infinity pool with curtained daybeds loaded with pillows. Guests meet there in the evening at the bar for pre-dinner drinks and finger foods are served by the kind waiters. We talked to Sat for quite a while as he mingled with his guests and found out that the property had been in his family for generations and it was just recently that he and his wife Maya had decided to come back from the cities and open the guesthouse.

At dinnertime, we were invited into the dining room for an excellent meal served by the gracious staff. We started with a tomato soup and then were treated to a buffet of Indian dishes that were delightfully tasty and well spiced without being hot. Also, dessert was one of the few I had on the trip that I actually liked, it was flavorful and not overly sweet. After dinner, we retreated to our room and it was absolutely silent and perfect for sleeping.

Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay BoltonThe next morning after a large breakfast, we went with many of the other guests to the village that Shahpura Bagh helps support through its community outreach program. As soon as we got out of the car, we were surrounded by kids who wanted their pictures taken. They were so cute—they would be very serious looking when posing and then break out into grins and laughter when you show them the photos. We visited a typical village house: one or two rooms with a shaded outdoor kitchen area and the animals living in the small backyard. Afterwards we went to ‘the farm’ where we had tea before returning to the hotel for the afternoon.

Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay BoltonWe relaxed by the pool on the daybed which was thoroughly blissful and at some point got up for lunch before heading back for more rest and swimming. You can also go bird-watching and hiking if you want something a little more active. When we returned to our room we were surprised at how cool it was without the AC on given the scorching desert sun. It must be the very high ceilings and the small high windows. This was my birthday and a perfect way to spend it away from the busyness outside and eating three great meals. Also, since there are not many rooms, you get to know your fellow travelers quite well and that fosters a sense of community.

Shahpura Bagh was everything we’d hoped for and a lovely place to spend a couple days well off the tourist track. It has what the Golden Triangle lacks: relaxation, ease, and quiet. It also has no attractions to speak of, which may not sound that great while you’re sitting at home planning your trip, but after rushing from fort to museum to palace all day with touts following you around trying to sell you everything under the sun, it may start to seem like the antidote to all that.

Udaipur

Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay BoltonOur next stop was Udaipur, which is a beautiful city surrounding Lake Pichola that is popular with tourists. In the center of the lake are some of the best hotels in India and the world. We tried to go to one for dinner, Taj Lake Palace Hotel, but found out that their restaurant is only open to residents and their private water taxi service only takes guests. Nevertheless, there were so many good choices nearby with a view of the lake palace so it didn’t matter. Unlike the other places we’d been there were many bars and a relaxed nightclub atmosphere in the air with piped music coming from each of the rooftop restaurants and bars attracting clientele with a mix of jazz, urban, and classical Indian.

We stayed at Jaiwana Haveli which had small rooms with even smaller bathrooms, but it was very clean and had a great location and view overlooking the Lake Palace. It was also Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay Boltonjust a short walk to the main attraction, the City Palace Museum, which was really interesting. It was more relaxed than the other places we’d been to and had lots of nice mosaics, miniature paintings (a specialty of Udaipur artists), and lots of mirrors and velvet. It was also one of the only places that had rooms set up with period furniture to get an idea of how people lived.

 

Rajasthan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, travel Golden Triangle, travel Rajasthan, SITA India, travel india, Shapura Bagh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Shapura, Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, New Delhi, Humayan’s Tomb, Astronomical Observatory, Qutab Minar, Baha’i Lotus Temple, ISKON, Gandi Raj, Akshardham, Banana Leaf, Taj Mahal, Dayal Lodge, Bikaner Mela, Agra Fort, Fatepur Sikri, Hotel Pearl Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Hotel Kishan Palace, Pushkar fair, Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur City Palace Museum, Jag Mandir Palace, Shilpgram, Jagat Niwas Palace, Christina Kay Bolton

 

(Page 5 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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