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Palaces, temples and thali - another trip to India !

Palaces, temples and thali - another trip to India !

Dec 5th, 2018, 01:01 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,362

The Maharajah Bhupinder Singh and friends

Baradari Palace hotel

Road widening in progress

Amazingly good cheap lunch

From our room in Rishikesh
sartoric is offline  
Dec 5th, 2018, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Envious of how much fun you had and what amazing memories you made.
I am looking forward to my next trip as soon as I can plan it.
Your trip report wants me to rush and get organized.
Well, enjoy the memories as you look at photos and write your experiences.
ileen is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 11:03 AM
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yes, you have painted the picture of your trip beautifully in words and photos.

Though I was a bit worried when I saw the picture below the caption "Baradari Palace Hotel" until I realised that it was the caption for the picture above.
annhig is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 12:59 PM
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Rishikesh day one.

Waking up with coffee on our balcony overlooking the Ganges was vicariously refreshing, so many people were exercising or bathing in the cold blue water. Ramesh met us at 10.00 for a walk taking in some of the sights of Rishikesh. There’s an absolute crush of people here on this Friday, probably every day. The suspension footbridge across the river is an experience. It seems motorbikes are allowed, also handcarts and there’s always the odd cow, plus hundreds of people...the bridge occasionally sways. Along the narrow stone lanes are interesting street food options, shops selling handicrafts and other goods, coffee shops, restaurants and Ashrams. Rishikesh was put on the tourist map to some extent by the Beatles in 1968. It’s spiritual, magical and sometimes unbelievable. We strolled the Parnath Niketan Ashram, a peaceful place with some lovely buildings and gardens, statues of Hindu God scenes, many people practicing yoga or just sitting still. There’s wall stories of all the good work they do in various countries, and the World Toilet College devoted to water, sanitation and hygiene...

Lunch was at Chotiwala restaurant, where a pink body-painted chubby man sits on a throne outside posing for photos...he’s apparently a cartoon character from the 1950’s. The thali were delicious, although sadly, no beer.

Rishikesh is easy to wander in, you simply can’t get lost with that huge river as a marker, simply head downhill. So wander we did, coming across all kinds of strange sadhus, contented cows, hippie freak out types and Indian families on pilgrimage. Back to Yog Niketan for some people watching from our balcony and all is right in the world. The promenade here is wide and popular.

Again out into the throng to Shwarg Ashram, we watched the evening Ganga aarti at Parnath Niketan Ashram where the ceremony is performed in English. Lots of foreigners here, but it was great to understand the meaning. An auspicious full moon hung low over the river, while hundreds gave offerings to mother Ganga and prayed for their special cause. I prayed for the lake...current events only confirm my opinion that prayers don’t work.

Dinner back at our hotel was okay, although we felt it was dumbed down for western taste buds.

Tomorrow we visit Haridwar and finally do a bit of shopping !
sartoric is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 01:04 PM
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Again, the photo glitch returns. Grrrrr, later.
sartoric is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 08:42 PM
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sartoric is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 11:15 PM
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A redolent and reminiscent TR sartoric. A kind, which inspires and stimulates one's senses to get off the backside and plan another trip.Wonderful.Waited for this part of your story. Yes.The Lakshman Jhula, the bridge over the turbulent Ganges which has washed a million sins off scores of souls since time immemorial.
Did you go to Devprayag , the 'holy confluence ' of the rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi which essentially forms the Ganges.I do also remember the Triveni Ghat where the evening prayers followed by the aarthi when hundreds of flower boats with lamps are set afloat.....aah ! what a divine sight !!
Its all coming back.
Looking forward to more
inquest is offline  
Dec 9th, 2018, 01:45 PM
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Thanks inquest, I didn’t get to the confluence of the rivers, another time maybe....

Another day in Rishikesh.

Ramesh is a gem. Again, he wants to take us walking to see more of Rishikesh, and later will drive us to Haridwar. The Lakshman Jhula area is upstream, reached by crossing our footbridge, then following the eastern bank upstream for a few kilometres where many handicraft shops beckon, then crossing another footbridge and climbing a hundred stairs. Here there is an ancient temple, several high quality shops, and dozens of restaurants, many with a backpacker flavour. We refueled with a masala dosa, the South Indian breakfast staple.

There was a man high up in the suspension bridge painting the cables. M was wearing his recently bought and newly favourite shirt, so, of course, we got splattered with silver paint. Shrug, this is India. Stain queen that I am, the shirt has been saved. There’s a fabindia here, where I bought a couple of tops, but undoubtedly the best buy of the trip was a hand knitted, natural dyed wool patterned cardigan for about $25. The sale process was precious, with Ramesh advocating for me. I also bought a wool shawl/blanket for the winter which I will benefit from next June....it’s coming into winter here in Rishikesh and summer at home.

At 3.00 we jumped in the car and headed for Haridwar. The drive is arduous, shocking traffic, roadworks and a train line...it’s only 25 kilometres but took close to an hour. Haridwar is also on the Ganges river and a place of spiritual significance for Hindus. There’s an endless parade of people arriving for the evening aarti, it’s much grittier than Rishikesh, and we parked miles away to avoid sitting in traffic. After walking through the dirt, filth, and myriad shops selling devotional items, we checked out the ghats. Ramesh harvested some sacred water for his neighbours and we called times up. The drive back was just as manic, but broken with a stop for snacks at a roadside dhaba. This food was great, all vegetarian, but looked like meat kebabs. It was so good, we had seconds and thirds while three young children watched us intently, that’s dinner sorted !

Back in Rishikesh I had some serious shopping to do. As always, I tend to leave this to the last minute, and there would be no time tomorrow. I scored a cross body bag made from carpet and camel leather, a pair of hand knitted fingerless gloves with an ingenious cap for the fingertips, an over door decoration, a few cushion covers, a pouffe and a carry bag to put it all in.

Tomorrow we return to Delhi for one night before the long slog home.
sartoric is offline  
Dec 9th, 2018, 03:43 PM
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Sorry that this is ending—a truly memorable trip report.
Marija is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 03:40 AM
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Thank you so much for your lovely trip report - what an amazing adventure and memorable experiences you have had! I love the photos from Rishikesh -- the one of the girls walking along the river and past the cattle captures so much.

I've enjoyed following your travels and wish you well in your move and in your fight to save the lake. Congratulations, too, for your husband's retirement (2 weeks left for me!).
progol is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 06:53 AM
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Sartoric - the light in those photos is amazing. I have loved your report, thank you.
annhig is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 07:20 PM
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Your itinerary is Fantastic All The Very Best
billirandall is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 08:59 PM
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I have photos to add, but the grinch is misbehaving. Maybe I’ll add them later.

The drive to Delhi took about six hours, one highlight being a breakfast stop near Haridwar for masala dosa where a cow wanted to join us. I finally got a photo of a wedding car, it’s the season for weddings and the cars are decorated with fresh flowers, this one roses. Lunch was in a giant restaurant with hundreds of patrons, surly waiters, a pretty good thali, but no beer. Before long we could see the haze of Delhi and found our guesthouse for the night Chhoti Haveli. The hosts are lovely, the room small but comfy, the area green and leafy. Once again we’re in a gated community which seem very popular in the larger cities. I guess that’s an indication of crime, a product of inequality. We said good bye to Ramesh, and will stay in touch, our next trip will be to his home state. We hope he can be our driver and look forward to meeting his family.

Our hosts have not only been to Australia, but had a weeks holiday on the Gold Coast, our city. It was great to chat over a new favourite (Old Monk with coke) and have some common ground. They recommended a restaurant within walking distance, a trendy fusion style cafe. We ordered far too much again ! Nepalese chicken momos with a spicy chilli sauce, a kind of pav bharti (potato pattie in a bun), paneer masala, dum biriyani, stuffed kulcha, salad.....

Next day our flight home was uneventful, a pair of screaming toddlers gave us something to focus on. One was a few rows ahead of us in the bulkhead seats, one directly behind me, kick, kick, kick. The joys of travel. We made it home luggage intact, didn’t get sick and had an incredible time in incredible India.

Anyway, the trip report is a wrap, thank you for reading and commenting. Happy to answer any questions you might have.
sartoric is offline  
Dec 29th, 2018, 12:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Many thanks for your report. Great to have a report so honest and detailed. I'm keen to make a (first) trip to India. I'm inspired to do some actual planning now.

Very sad about Black Swan Lake - thanks for trying. (We live in Melbourne)
natandmiriam is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2019, 09:34 AM
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Posts: 217
Hope you enjoyed your stay with Sanjay at Badnore House in Ajmer We have stayed there twice and still in touch via social media.
Rasputin1 is offline  
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