Incredible Northern India
March 14th - March 26th, 2012

March 25th, 2012 and March 26th, 2012

City Palace on Lake Pichola. City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake. Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate. The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. Inside a maze of stairs and platforms, rooms and views. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have been living here and having to run around serving at the pleasure of the King, the Queen and all the guests. All the doorways are low so if attacked the attackers would have to bend to go through and thus they would get their heads chopped off!

Sahelion- Ki -Bari, the "ladies garden" Sahelion-ki-badi just adjoining the east of the embankment of Fatehsagar Lake was constructed in its present form by Maharana Fateh Singh after the original garden had been washed away on account of the breach of its old embankment. A Profusion of flowers, well laid court yards and lotus pool studded with water fountains guarded by four marble elephants – each elephant sculptured out of a single piece of stone – is a feast for the eyes. Spacious and well maintained lawns, beautified by blooming flowers and the setting of huge groves of trees including many blooming bougainvillea, present a spectacular sight to enjoy. It is also aptly called the Garden of Fountains. When the fountains are in their showery action creating rain-like sounds, white elephants spout water from their lovely trunks on lotus leaves and water cascades from the circular eaves of the pavilion standing in a huge water pool – visitors find themselves amidst the rain-like scenes and atmosphere to be seen, believed and enjoyed. The garden has assumed the attraction of being one of the glamour-spots of the city cine-film shooters and has contributed considerably to the scenic beauty of a number of film pictures. It is believed that Saheliyon ki Bari was constructed for 48 maids who accompanied the Maharana's wife as dowry. We meet many people here including those who are happy to have their pictures taken. I am approached by three young girls who ask me to take their picture…a wonderful way to end our tour.

Of course a wee bit of shopping happened after this as we went to a truly wonderful silver shop just across the road. I had been here before and it did not disappoint as many found those last minute bangles, rings and special gifts for friends and family here.

March 26th, 2012

Up early this morning…the sounds of call to prayer have woken me up. I have had a great sleep and now sit sipping a cup of masala tea and contemplating how the tour went. Everyone has told me that it just flew by – a good sign – that means they really enjoyed it. I know many have written in their journals…so much has been seen and enjoyed along our journey here in India. We have seen and heard so many things that we do not quite understand but that is bound to happen in a country where the culture is so different. The people of India have been so welcoming to the group. We have seen many taking pictures of us and wanting us in pictures with them. Our lives have been enriched by what we have seen and experienced and we go home with wonderful memories. That is how it should be.

I am now hearing and seeing the activity of the birds in the trees outside my window…busy gathering food before it gets too hot for them. The Palace horses have just been taken out for a bit of exercise before they start their guard duty. It is wonderful being on the Palace grounds as you can walk around all of the areas being a guest, walk by the home of the current Maharajah where guards stand guard in beautiful costume on their horses.

This morning we have time to relax around the pool, catch up on our journal entries and just be in the moment until it is time to leave for the airport and our flight to Delhi where we enjoy dinner before boarding our international flights onward. Some are going to stay in India to meet with relatives they have not seen before. Some are heading to Paris for a few days there and the rest are going home to their gardens….until 2014 because we just have to do it again!

Here are some guest quotes from our tour:

Yes we're home, and it has taken me a week to get my sleeping hours straight! We had a wonderful time in Assam, meeting family; it was really worthwhile making the trip over there. The tour was the highlight of my life... a dream come true. I really did have a fabulous time, and am full of impressions that I hope never leave me. I think you did an amazing job putting the tour together. The people were all terrific; I hope I've made some new friends. I absolutely loved the one foray onto village streets (where we parked the bus & walked awhile to get to our lunch spot. So all in all, I am very happy and pleased with the trip. Thank you for all your efforts.’ Barbara, India 2012

Thank you Donna so much for arranging the tour ! I loved every part of it and I felt bonded to the group. What wonderful sights/sounds we saw and heard. One of my favorite parts was driving through the rural villages- I was so curious about crops, industry, women at work. I have been a part of several tour groups. This one was tops! So I loved it all -" mahalo plenty" as we say here. I loved looking and meeting the local people and enjoying their colorful styles!!’ Dorothy, India 2012

I want to thank you for planning such a perfect trip, it was everything I had hoped for and much more. I learned so much but plan on reading more about the history and culture of India. It was great to be with such nice people and I will have wonderful memories of our time together. Once again, I know you spent so much time and effort on this garden tour and I want you to know I am so grateful.’ Frieda, India 2012

Your description of India's being a "land of contrasts" was accurate in every way. Of course, yours and CWT's detailed planning and management belong on the high end for me. Having planned trips for myself, I can appreciate the background knowledge and the execution of plans for just one person, so your ability to organize a group, and your obvious pleasure in your trips, are permanently etched in my memory. How in the world you ever connected with Hamesh is incomprehensible. Not only is his mental store of history remarkable, but his ability to relate to individuals is even more outstanding. Thank you for your ability and skills in leading this trip’ Janet, India 2012

The garden tour to India was out of this world wonderful! I had such a good time seeing all of the places, meeting fellow tour participants, and bringing back way too many reminders of India—rugs, bedspreads, table goods, jewelry, etc. In fact, the Federal Express just dropped off some items I had shipped. Thank you for the vest with many pockets, the extra laundry service, the two nice airport meals, and all the extra attention you gave us throughout the trip. And thank you for hiring such a great guide, Hemesh. You two work so well with each other. I felt like I had known him forever. And, I look forward to our travels in China. ‘ Mary Jane, India 2012

Suzanne & I are safely home after a great eight days in France. Our India trip overwhelmed our senses; we are still processing our fabulous experience. The Taj was the highlight. Hemesh was a gentleman and the perfect teacher/interpreter’ Peter & Suzanne, India 2012



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