Sunday, 12 March 2017

Days Of The Raj : Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

I am a story teller, a day dreamer. My stories chase the royal splendor of the yonder era, retracing the footprints of time and spinning tales of romance and intrigue, of glory and mystique, of Time Travel.

 My authentic taste of royalty, my first brush with the lives and times of the Kings and Queens happened when my husband planned a surprise birthday trip to Lake Palace Udaipur, and I have been smitten ever since.

The majestic experience begins as soon as you arrive at the Hotel Jetty after a comfortable limousine pick up from the airport. The jetty, from where you embark on a boat to the hotel set in the midst of the resplendent Lake Pichola, is a stunning piece of art in itself.
A warm welcome, refreshing water and hot towels await you before you ease yourselves into the luxurious boat. A five minute exhilarating ride takes you to the opulent Lake Palace, a luminous white pearl emerging out of the emerald green waters. The Royal Guard rushes to fetch you under the shade of the enormous traditional umbrella and a shower of rose petals hints at how this trip is going to shape up.

Built in 1746 as the leisure palace of Maharaja Jagat Singh II, Taj Lake Palace was formerly known as Jag Niwas. Its envious location on an idyllic island jetting out of the pristine Lake and the decadent opulence make it one of the most coveted hotels in the world.
Intricately carved marble pillars, painstakingly embellished persian glass, expensive crystal, colourful frescoes and lavishly appointed rooms tell a story of grandiose. An intricate maze of hallways that inspires whispered confessions, where lovers waited for a secret rendezvous; the formidable walls bear testimony to their romance, urging you to write that unfinished story of love and togetherness. The palace is a stunning reminder of a bygone era, the resplendent royalty that our history is steeped in. The city fans out beyond, giving you a glimpse of its daunting forts and colourful heritage.
The place beckons you, charms you with its quaint looks, seduces you with its cozy comforts and bowls you over with its unparalleled hospitality.
You are the Royalty here, you have a butler assigned, attentive to your needs without being interfering,the ardent staff is always available to guide you, give you all the touristy tips with alacrity, advise you on the food options or just fill you up on the historic stories and legends.
Come evening and you are escorted to a tour of the palace with intriguing tales thrown in to up the exotic quotient. A sunset cruise at the Lake gives a bird’s eye view of the dazzling fort as the rosy sun bids adieu for the day and the birds flock back home. You are meanwhile, greeted back with a complimentary round of cocktails and eats and you sip on the margaritas while enjoying ethereal cultural performances under the starlit sky.
After a full day, we now head to our room to change for dinner where unbeknownest to me, a beautiful birthday cake and a gift wrapped box await.
The extravagant dinner and the exhaustive breakfast menu is a gastronomical delight and the Head Chef encourages us to go crazy with the menu and beyond. The fish in green curry is lipsmackingly delicious and gourmet meat tender.The rose flavoured ice cream cleanses the palate.
The taste of that candlelit dinner under the gazebo overlooking the sublime Lake Pichola will stay with me forever. So will the memory of the languid sunsets, the splendrous views and the feeling of having lived like Royalty.

P.S. Edited version of this featured on
 Make My Trip

The Unnecessary Debate

The Unnecessary Debate

"Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in a way they have been told to "- Allan Keightley

I have this feeling that we are getting a little mixed up with the concept of being a traveller (and being a travel writer). Or maybe the definition of it all...backpackers and homestay buffs tend to look down upon those seeking luxury, solo travel seems to be more of a trend than a choice and slow travel is fast in mocking the touristy mob.

As someone who loves to take a break
every once in a while, loves to luxe it out and sometimes write about it too, someone who has a bucketlist and isn't embarassed to acknowledge that so many 'do-able,  popular, touristy' sites still are on the top of that bucket, someone who is willing to explore but not without the obliging family in tow, as that someone I feel that travel is for everybody and because we cannot define travel or the wanderlust that evolves around it, we should not try and Redefine it.
  "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" . Travel On...

P.S. These are just incoherent musings and Not aimed at anybody in particular
I am a cautious traveller, infact a tourist who blogs, always goes with family, stays away from going in crowds, from festivals, from venturing out at odd hours in the night/in deserted streets, try not to go to places that don't have anything above a 3 star hotel. All that because in all my growing up years, I have understood how things work and have my safe and not so safe places mapped out. Yes, danger can strike anywhere but that doesn't give us a right to throw caution to the wind. All that glamour of solo travelling, backpacking and going off the beaten path is lost when I weigh it against my fear of finding myself in a Spot. Safety First!!