Incredible Northern India Garden Tour
March 3rd - March 15th, 2010


March 14th, 2010

This morning after breakfast we took a short walk to visit the 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. Fateh Prakash Palace – Durbar Hall with portraits of Maharanis past and present. Crystal chandeliers and hanging carpets, beautiful displays of serving pieces. The portrait of the next Maharana or Kind is also there. Above the hall is the Crystal Collection, the single largest collectin that is private – it even includes a crystal bed, the only one in the world. No photographs here. This collection was ordered in 1877 by Maharana Saijan Singh from FIC Osler in Birmingham. Also here is the Vintage and Classic car collection from the House of Mewar including a 1939 Rolls, Cadillac’s and Mercedes.

We then visited 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 – will be a feast for the eyes of visitors. Spacious and well maintained lawns, beautified by blooming flowers and the setting of huge groves of trees, 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. The visitor will feel himself carried into a fairy-land permeated with romantic air. ......Fascinating Saheliyon-ki-Bari or the 'garden of maids' was designed and built under the express guidance of Maharana Sangram Singh II. It is believed that Saheliyon ki Bari was constructed for 48 maids who accompanied the Maharana's wife as dowry.

Then in the evening we were in for a treat as we boarded our very own boat for a boat ride around Lake Pichola. On the banks of the shimmering lake Pichola, is one of the most romantic cities of Rajasthan. Nestled among the lush hills of the Aravalis, it has inevitably been dubbed the 'Venice of the East'. It is a kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carries the flavour of the heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry.

Founded in 1568 A.D by Maharana Udai Singh, the city is a harmonious Indian blend of whitewashed buildings, marble palaces, lakeside gardens, temples and Havelis. According to the legend, Maharana Udai Singh, the founder, was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditating on a hill overlooking Lake Pichola. Maharana followed the advice of the hermit and founded the city. The marvelous architecture of the palaces is magical.

Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam known as Badipol and the lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. This picturesque lake encloses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir, another island in the Lake Pichola, which is known for its garden courtyard. It was a glorious walk around this island as it was laden with flowers and trees. Shah Jahan took refuge here while revolting against his father. The City Palace extends along its eastern banks.

March 15th, 2010

There you are, our time together is over. We had a leisurely morning sitting and sipping then it was time to take our flight back to Delhi. We had arranged to have our farewell dinner here and it was perfect. A very special restaurant that specialized in kabobs and were they every good!! People were leaving at different times and as that time drew nearer it was sad…we had all has such a good time. We were going home with thousands of memories…of this incredible India.

We were so pleased with how well this tour went that we will be running another one in 2012. If you would like to be a part of the next tour, please send me an email and let me know that so as soon as ready for booking I can send the details to you…this is a very small group tour. Donna….

Some quotes from the guests of this tour…
• ‘The tour was a perfect length. We were able to do a lot, and to finish before we got too punch-drunk. Leisure time was about right; particularly welcome when it happened later in the day. In the mornings, when we were fresher, we could have gone on a short (maybe optional) expedition instead of having a whole morning to kill. But I suspect those free mornings were more necessary than we realized at the time. We never felt rushed, and the time was used well. The Taj Mahal, believe it or not, was more than expected. AS for the others, I deliberately came with no expectations one way or the other, and found it all interesting. If I had to name a favourite besides TM it would be the fort at Jodhpur. I liked the mix of modern and traditional hotels very much. Jaipur was perhaps the best overall (with Delhi a close second) but they were all in different ways good. Hemesh our guide was excellent. Clear, well-informed, and interesting. And his sense of humour helped. Overall impression: excellent. A fascinating sample of a fascinating (and sometimes disturbing) country. I'd certainly recommend it.’
Sandy, India tour 2010

• ‘Both Dianne & I were very pleased with the experience & most happy we went. The hotels were superb, palatial indeed. The food was very good everywhere. The length of tour was probably right given our ages!! We appreciated the bus rides as it gave one a better look at the real India. The coaches were fine. Our "Bussy" & his co-pilot were excellent & it was nice to have them along throughout. The shopping, well what can I say? As the prize winners for amount & frequency of purchases!! We tended to view it as a contribution to the people in India who do not have what we do while at the same time getting something back. It happens to us in NA with artisans as well I must say. The trip to the farms/co-ops by jeep was a real treat & could even have included a couple more stops? Hemesh was very good, a real professional & quite accommodating. His personality does indeed fit his job! Our visits to the artisans were a positive as it gave us a wee glimpse of the vibrancy of the people. As indeed did the "hawkers" even if a bit intrusive at times. In sum, we had a super time & would not have missed it.’ Brian and Dianne, India tour 2010

• ‘I liked everything about the tour. I did miss having the chance to go to Connaught Circle in Delhi as there was a jewellery store there I wanted to visit. I realize that Delhi was in even more chaos than when I was last there.
It was a great group and a perfect size. The food was fine and I have been making mango lassis. The leisure time was fine. It was very interesting to have guest speakers. I thought the tour was long enough and the shopping opportunities just fine. The hotels were all good. Particularly enjoyed Shiv Niwas at the end. Hemesh was a good balance of entertainment and information. The driver, his assistant and the coach were all excellent. I never felt at risk. Thanks Donna for all your good planning. It was an entertaining and thought provoking trip.’ Jan, India tour 2010

• ‘I thought it was well thought out. The travel days when we flew, we had lots of time, but we were in interesting locations. I never felt rushed. I thought we had plenty of time at each spot except at the places where we were not allowed to stop because of traffic. My only expectation was about the Taj Mahal. It was much more than I expected. The others were always a pleasant surprise. Hemesh went way out of his way to make sure that we all found the things we wanted shopping. The hotels were great, very interesting. They all were clean, comfortable and had plenty of bottled water. The freedom to pick our own time and just have a light dinner or an "international dinner" was always appreciated when we had our free evenings. Having the luggage sent on ahead was a great convenience. Hemesh was a gem. He was easy to understand and had a delightful perspective on Indian life. This tour was beyond my expectations. India is a place I don't plan on going back to soon, so it was great doing it right the first time.’ Steve, India tour 2010


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row