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



March 19th, 2012

Today we drive to Bharatpur and on our way there we made a couple of shopping stops. This group is very much into shopping I discover so the first place is to a shop that brings in pashminas, the real thing, from Kashmir. We learn how they are made and why they are so valuable. The wool comes from under the neck of Kashmir goats. We see the true Kashmir pashmina, the ones that are half silk and goat, then pure silk and other combinations. All manner of pashminas were bought as well as carpets (again) a gorgeous turquoise and gold fabric that would be made into a sari for a daughter, and bed covers and wall hangings. It was a great time spent…then another quick stop to a tea and spice shop. I have been drinking a very good Masala Chai tea and found it here so of course got some to take home. More packages of tea and spices made their way out the door and we were off…but not before the hawkers got to us with bangles and beads…which of course included ankle bracelets. I know many wanted them and now I think each of the ladies is sporting one on their ankles. What fun they are having and the men? Well they are loving it that the ladies are happy. As we all know here in India, women are to be treasured.

Now finally we are off and before long we have passed by many carts of fruit and veggies, brahma and camel hauling carts we reach the Fatehpur Sikri, the famous ghost town as it is called for it was a city occupied for only a short 10-13 years before it was abandoned due to lack of water mostly. It is perfectly preserved and not a mark of graffiti is on it. Four centuries…remarkable. The country does protect its treasures though and by charging a small camera fee on most of them finds the money to keep them in good repair.

After the visit we reach our hotel, a heritage hotel full of colour and flowers as we are now in the Rajasthan area of India, the warrior state. Trucks are festooned with artwork and smiling faces, ladies are adorned with bright colours in contrast to the drab surroundings. It has been dry and the fields show it with patch work quilts of green and ripening crops of lentils and wheat in gold with the sand separating them all.

Laxmi Vilas Palace, a Heritage Hotel, for one night Laxmi Vilas Palace at Bharatpur. Set amidst sprawling 50 acres, and surrounded by undulating, yellow mustard fields, the Laxmi Vilas Palace is an eclectic and lively fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Laxmi Vilas Palace was built in 1887 for Raja Raghunath Singh, the younger brother of the then ruler of Bharatpur, Maharaja Ram Singh.

In 1994 their family home was converted into a hotel. Here at Laxmi Vilas Palace you may relive the history of Bharatpur, feel the warm hospitality extended to you by their present generation living in the Palace. The Inner Courtyard and garden makes a peaceful and serine Summer's evening memorable and delightful. Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi. There is also a museum in the central wing with a few exhibits dating to the 2nd century AD.
http://www.laxmivilas.com/

In the evening just before we leave for dinner a group sets up in our enclosed courtyard to put on a puppet show. All our rooms surround the courtyard and soon the sound vibrates up to us beckoning us out of our rooms to see and hear it. We settle in the chairs with a drink and watch this very old traditional show and then leave for dinner.


 

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