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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rajasthan Round Up

Eighteen days in Rajasthan and we still didn't get to do everything we wanted to do. The long distances between places and endless interesting towns and villages are overwhelming. You have to strategically pick and choose. After being in so many African deserts, we opted to skip Jaisalmer and Khuri.

Here are our favorites:

Jaipur - Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Kripal Kumbh Pottery Studio and Anokhi

Jai Singh's magnificent Amber Fort and Palace

View from the fort

The Pink City

City Palace with Chandra Mahal

Astronomical tools at Jantar Mantar

In the kiln

The famous Jaipur blue pottery
New bathroom tiles?

Roopangarh Fort and Village (click on The Other Yellow House)

Makrana- Marble mines

Udaipur - Lake Pichola and City Palace

My favorite room in the palace by artist Bakhta and Chokha

Detail of mirror inlay work

Jodhpur - Mehrangarh Fort (best audio tour!) and Sadar Bazaar

View from our hotel

Relax with some opium
Guardian angels in the cradle room
A lovely collection of palanquins - this peacock one, my favorite

View of the blue city
New camel slippers (with little bells!)  from local artisans
Best samosa, right outside Sadar Bazaar
Makhania lassi (saffron) - thick, creamy treat

Bikaner - Junagarh Fort, Old Town with havelis and Jain Temple

Faience windows
Palace bedroom!

Akbar, our guide and tuk-tuk driver

Havelis, havelis, havelis left vacant
Where we didn't stay...

Shekawati area (Mandawa and Nawalgarh): opulent havelis, havelis, havelis with fresco-ed interiors and exteriors

The well preserved Podar Haveli

Festival scenes

Some in worse shape than others

Enjoying some chai
Kites, a popular past time
Rock star Barbie tuk-tuk
Places we would stay on a return trip to Rajasthan: 
(All prices are approximate and for double rooms unless indicated)

Laxmi Vilas Palace  (Rs5000 for a suite) breakfast, A/C, fan, large, comfortable suites are off the courtyard, food could be better, immaculate swimming pool, spa, found it a bit overpriced but good location if you want to check out the birds at Keoladeo National Park nearby.

Rajasthan Palace Hotel: (Rs2200) breakfast, A/C, fan, comfortable beds, modern and clean bathrooms, wedding central at the neighboring hotels (we witnessed one every night we stayed there), Wi-Fi for extra charge.

Roopangarh Fort and Palace (Rs4000 for a suite) gigantic suites (LOVED room 8), breakfast, fan, check out The Other Yellow House post for pictures. 

Pratap Palace Hotel (Rs2500) breakfast, A/C, fan, comfortable rooms, good restaurant with a garden, ask for one with the fort view (we had 307), free Wi-Fi.

Mewar Haveli (Rs1900) breakfast, A/C, fan, small rooms but well decorated with colorful block print curtains and matching bed spreads, rooftop restaurant with great views of Lake Pichola, in Lal Ghat area, walking distance to City Palace, restaurants and shops, free Wi-Fi.

Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli or KP Haveli (Rs 2200) breakfast, A/C, fan, make sure you check out a few rooms, some are better than others (we had rm 122), you are right under Mehrangarh Fort and within walking distance to it, situated in (polluted!) old town, swimming pool, walking distance to the clocktower/Sadar Bazaar and many restaurants and shops, Gucci internet cafe with Wi-Fi across the street.

Hotel Harasar Haveli (Rs2500) breakfast, A/C, fan, in an old haveli, large rooms, modern and super clean bathrooms (we had room 2), rooftop and courtyard restaurant with good food, popular with travelers, use of internet for free.

Nawalgarh (in Shekawati area)
Apani Dhani (Rs1350) eco-lodge right at the edge of town, huts with thatched roofs, window sitting area, solar powered lights and hot water for showers, more like a homestay than a hotel, meals not included (breakfast Rs175, lunch/dinner Rs350) but vegetarian, organic and mostly grown on their own farm, many activities offered such as cooking classes, bangle making, and a tie-and-dye fabric workshop, can purchase map (R50) for a tour of Nawalgarh's fresco-ed havelis, also offer tours of the Shekawati area, good base for the area, would definitely stop here for at least 3 days.

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