Category Archives: India

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Last Month Videoblog – July 2015 – India and Dubai

Below is my video blog on our travels round the world on you tube from July 2015 – this is the last in this series, but there will be more, so do stay tuned….

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Travel around the world

Bonus Week 55 – The final days… Delhi and Dubai

‘I choose to be free’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Last page

The last page of our travels.

This has been the last week of our year of travel adventures.  It is odd to be back and in our house, but I’ll write more about that in the future.  It’s just hard to imagine what we’ve managed to see and do in one year!

This week has definitely ended us on a high.  We headed back to Delhi and we got to see a few sites we had missed on our first time through.  Our first stop was the Bahai ‘Lotus’ Temple.  Bahai is a religion which embraces all religions.  It was a beautiful, peaceful and quiet place.

Delhi

Lotus Temple, Delhi

We, then, headed off to see the India Gate which is a huge memorial to those who gave their lives in WW II.  John had tried to see this memorial two other times, so third time lucky!

India Gate

India Gate

We did a last stop shop of arts and crafts at the Dilli Haat.  A lovely market like area where I had a gentleman even paint some art on my thumb nail!

Dilli Haat

Art on my thumb!

One thing I did that I could carry with me for a few days was to get my hands henna-ed.  He put two peacocksand – without my knowing it – theTaj Mahal – how cool is that?!

Henna

Henna on hands

Just before we arrived home we had a few days in Dubai and, like Singapore, this city grows on me every time I go there.  I had arranged a desert safari which included a falcon show, jeep ride in the dunes, a beautiful sunset, dinner in the desert, a camel ride and a belly dancer. (see photos at bottom of blog from this tour!)

To top the end of my trip off, I met with an old highschool friend living in the UAE.

Norm

Norm and I

We went around Dubai to see some ‘culture’ which started with an awesome visit to a local mosque.

We had an incredible talk from our guide – highly recommend going there and learning more about the muslim faith.

Dubai

Jumeirah Mosque

We saw the famous Burj Khalifa tower,

Burj

Like my new hat?

the fish tank in the mall,

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

the diving sculptures,

Divers

Divers fountain

ice rink

Ice Rink

Ice Rink – Dubai

and, of course, tea!

Laduree

Laduree Cafe, Dubai Mall

What a great way to end a year of travel, now what to next…?!  Well, watch this space, there are plans a foot…I may not know them all, but I know that there is change in the air!

Happy travels,

Debx

Photos from our safari in the desert:

Taj Mahal

12th Month – June video Blogs

Below is my video blog on our travels round the world on you tube from June – there are two this month.

This first centres around Cambodia and Thailand:

The second is our first two weeks in India:

Seat

Bonus Week 54 – Spying around in Udaipur, India

‘A word after a word after a word is power.’ – Margaret Atwood

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

I have chosen a literature quote this week to highlight another blog and challenge I set for myself on this trip.  The blog is called ‘the Books I Carry‘ and the challenge was to take a bunch of books I had sitting on my shelves that I ‘never found time to read.’  There were over 20 of them – pretty much the weight of one suitcase!  Well, this week, I finished the last of these books and that ‘extra weight’ is gone.  I’m so glad I took the time to read them and then let them go.  Not only have I learned a lot with my travels, I had time to learn a lot from these books – some were easier to read than others, but all were worth the effort.  So, my question this week is – what sorts of creative goals do you set when you travel, if any?  Why or why not?

Udaipur

Udaipur – old town

Now, my week in Udaipur!

room

Plunge pool in bedroom!

It seems we saved the best for last.  We were very lucky to get upgraded to a beautiful suite (where I did my last travel singing video.)

singing video

Photo from the filming we did in the room of the video.

As a result, we just didn’t want to leave the room!  We had the best views of the city, the restaurants in the area were excellent

Lake Palace

Restarant with view of Lake Palace.

and we had two jacuzzi pools – one in the bedroom!

Wedding

A home in the old part of Udaipur where there was a wedding recently.

We did drag ourselves away from our luxury and went on a walking tour of the old city, largest temple

Udaipur

Jagdish Temple, Udaipur

and city palace.  Yogi was our best tour guide yet and very helpful with local places to eat and such.

Udaipur

City Palace, Udaipur

This city was the location in India for Octopussy – if you haven’t seen it, it’s a Roger Moore Bond film.  We watched it here at a roof top restaurant and the city film locations were our backdrop – awesome experience.

Boat

James Bond’s Octopussy Boat

Water Palace

Water Palace, Udaipur

Udaipur is where most of the weddings happen in India and after our lake cruise, I really could see why.  There are two lake palaces to hold guests and weddings (guests here can go up to 3000 people!).  Plus, this is the location for the number one hotel in the world!

Dharohar

Dancer at the Dharohar

I, almost, forgot, we went out to an old Haveli – a nobles home which was, also, used as an ancient hostelry, where they did a brilliant cultural show with a 67-year-old woman who stole the night away with her water pots dance.  Just goes to show ya – you are never too old!

Female dancer

67 year-old female dancer – she did carry more – 11! As well as, crawling all over the floor with them!

Also, like to mention that we bought some beautiful hand-made leather shoes for $35 American – they are just gorgeous and very comfy!

leather shoes

These are the hand-made leather shoes

Now, we are back in Delhi for our last week of India and soon off to Dubai and back our home.

Love Debx

Bonus Week 53 – Tiger Hunting, The Blue City and my 1st Camel Ride – Jodhpur, India

‘The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Udaipur

Udaipur Water Palace

In just over 2 weeks, I’ll be back in ‘jolly old’ England and trying a new business adventure and getting my English feet back – seems hard to imagine, as I sit on a terrace listening to the call to prayer in the beautiful setting sun of Udaipur, India.

Well, what can I say? Another awesome week in India, we started off with going to Ranthambore National Park – hunting for a good photo shoot of a tiger. We didn’t get one, but we did see many other animals – deer, birds – especially peacocks dancing and chipmunks!

Peacock

Peacock at Ranthambore National Park

Jodhpur

Jodhpur – the blue city

The next day, we left the pink city of Jaipur for the blue city of Jodhpur – Wow! We decided to do a home stay in the middle of the old city which afforded stellar views of the town and fort from its roof top restaurant. It felt more like a boutique hotel really. Our first day, we went out into the narrow streets which led up to the fort. The fort had an excellent audio guide as part of the entrance fee, so it helped explain the history and, relatively recent redo on the Fort. It belonged to the Raj, but fell into disrepair, so the last Raj, gave it to a trust and it’s now gaining its former glory back.

Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Then, we did a village safari which was more like a ‘living museum’, but it’s the real thing with these families living and working in their respective ways for many generations. Really beautiful!

Village Safari Tours

Village Safari Tours – Jodhpur

Next, we were off into the desert for my first ever camel ride. We stopped off at a lovely temple first,

Temple

Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian

then to the camels and dinner in the desert – India style. I loved it and hope to get to do it again in my lifetime – so peaceful and the camels’ feet – amazing to watch.

Camel hoof

Camel Hoof – amazing to watch in action – so maluable!

Now, we are in Udaipur – a beautiful city. When we drove here, we went to a Jai Temple made of marble – stellar!

Ranakpur Temple

Ranakpur Marble Temple

I love India!

Love
Debx

Taj Mahal

Week 52 – Dreams do some true! – Agra & Jaipur, India

‘The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.’ – Walt Disney

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Wow, that’s all I can say about this week – Wow! I’ve managed to do 52 weeks of letters with this being the 52nd – I did it! It took a while at first to figure out how to do this while travelling, but this letter makes it official – I’ve completed my goal! (Brief moment of patting myself on the back and…) There will be a few ‘extra’ letters, as we don’t, actually, fly home until the 18th (July), so there will be some bonus posts.

Taj Mahal

John and I infront of the Taj Mahal on the ‘Diana’ bench

Plus, I have seen the place that inspired this trip – the Taj Mahal. It was a great day, as we got up early for the sunrise, did our tour and went back, in the evening, for the sunset. It used to have diamonds on the central roof to reflect the light of the sun and moon – now that would have been amazing! It was a beautiful sight.

Then we went off to see an old fort near Agra which was the most intact of the forts, so far, we’ve seen that use the red soil to build them.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri Fort

(I’m inserting some extra, which wasn’t in the original letter, as I missed this when I was writing it on the train).  Our day was quite full when we went to the Taj Mahal, we also, went to the Red Fort

Red Fort

This is the balcony which the husband who built the Taj for his wife, sat on in his prison, as his son didn’t like his spending habits!

and the Baby Taj – Itmad-ud-daulah in Agra.

Itmad-ud-daulah

Itmad-ud-daulah – Baby Taj

Both of these places were great to see, but I, particularly, liked the later, as it had some features which led up to the building of the Taj Mahal, hence, why it is called the Baby Taj. (Back to the letter…)

Umaid Bhawan Heritage Hotel

Umaid Bhawan Heritage Hotel

After this, we took my first Indian train journey to Jaipur – the pink city. We stayed in a very characterful place which looked like an old palace itself. In Jaipur, we saw the pink buildings,

Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind

Hawa Mahal – Palace of Wind – one of the many ‘pink’ buildings

an astrological park from the 18th Century,

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar – 18th Century Astrological Park

the Amber Fort (huge beautiful fort from the 12th Century,)

Amber Fort

Amber Fort

the tombs of the Raj’s,

Royal Gaitor Tumbas

Royal Gaitor Tumbas – Raj’s tombs

a more recent fort from a Raj with 9 wives,

Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort – palace for 9 wives

the Albert Museum

Albert Hall Museum

Albert Hall Museum

and I went to and did a workshop on making a block print scarf – a traditional way of printing a scarf made with natural dyes and fabric.

Scarf

The scarf I help make – my design choice at Jai Textart

We are still well and healthy, as the food we are eating is mainly vegetarian Indian and delicious. I’ve found a food, which I can only get in India, it is paneer. Its cottage cheese, but they process it here differently, which you can’t get outside the country.

(Once again, I forgot to put something into the original letter, it’s been a busy week!) I made it to my first ever Bollywood movie at a very famous cinema in India – Raj Mandir Cinema where I saw ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ – a story line which would suit any opera! (Back to the original letter…)

What an incredible week! Looking back on it, I can’t believe we’ve done so much in such a short time. Fantastic! Now, we are off to Jodhpur to, hopefully, ride my first camel! (There were just too many photos for me to add, so when I get my next videoblog up for June, I will add the link and you can see them there, but just for a taster, I’ve added some which have not been put up from the places we’ve seen!)

So, I’m curious, what is your dream that you are doing or want to do or have done?

Love Debx

Extra Photos from this amazing week:

Week 51 – Land of Extremes – Delhi, India

‘Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Red Fort

Red Fort – red tile

Ack! In less than a month I will be back in England and this years’ adventure will be over. Thank goodness that isn’t today and we’ve made it to India!

India is proving to be a bit more of an enigma to me, as to its movement or vibe – might be a better word? In other words, my time in East Asia was easier to get my footing on arrival, here, its taking me a bit longer and I can’t quite put my finger on it? The biggest thing so far is it’s a land of extremes – very poor and very wealthy; cutting edge to power cuts. The in-between’s are there, but can get over shadowed by the extremes.

Still, it’s great to be here and have this incredible experience. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal!

Prayer Flags

Prayer flags

First, we arrived in New Delhi and, yes, there is an Old Delhi. We arrived quite late to a lovely little boutique hotel which had the feel of the ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, if you haven’t seen it, you have to go to both – really enjoyed them! Our first few days, we had the entire hotel to ourselves, including multi-lounges on different floors – my favourite was the reading lounge, while John enjoyed the TV lounge (no TV in the room).

Restaurant

Dinner at the roof top restaurant – stellar!

Our first day in the city, we went to the Red Fort

Red Gate

Red Fort Gate

(more photos of Red Fort are at the end of the blog) and Humayun’s Tomb

Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb

both places I’ve never heard of and both from the 17th century (more photos of Humayun’s Tomb at the end of the blog).

One thing that was advised to me was to purchase some more acceptable Indian style clothing, so that was a trip to Fabindia at the Khan Market, so I could acquire some very comfy, cotton and ethically made clothing (a friend had recommended it). I’m now all set for the 40 degree heat and possible monsoon rains!

Me

Me sitting at hotel’s roof top restaurant in my new Indian Salwar Khameez.

Of course, a huge change for us has, also, been the food. This is the part of our trip we bought the ‘special’ travel pack of pills to deal with any ailments, but, so far, it’s all good and the food is fantastic. In the afternoons, I’m getting into masala tea

Masala Tea

Masala Tea

or, we know it as, Chai tea. I’ve, even, found a lovely little book on tea and its history, which I’ve already read.

Would love to know about your favourite travel discoveries – what are they and do you still indulge in them?

the story of tea

The Story of Tea by E. Jaiwant Paul

Soon off to Agra and the Taj!

Love
Debx

Red Fort Photos:

More photos of Humayun’s Tomb: