Friday, April 5, 2013

Travelogue: Romancing the Valleys of Kashmir

Note: I had written this travellouge in October 2012 post our visit to the beautiful valley that month. This was posted on India Mike as at that time I had not discovered the joy of one own's blog!! I have made a few changes (for the better) and added a lot more photographs (more the merrier!!) of the picturesque Kashmir for you to enjoy!!

Romancing the valleys of Kashmir 
Disclaimer: This is my first attempt writing a travelogue so please bear with me!! (Nervous)

Foreword

We had initially planned a 8 day trip to Rajasthan to celebrate our first marriage anniversary and eight years of love. But our friends and family advised against the same since it would be too hectic (with just my husband behind the wheels) and the desert weather still not favorable during first week of October.
So with not even a month at hand we were left with the overwhelming task of deciding on a place to go.
After two weeks of intense research on Trip Advisor and India Mike we were set to go to the valley of Kashmir, famed for its mesmerizing beauty and fondly called as the 'Paradise on Earth'


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Passersby

You travel by Metro/Bus/Auto...you meet starngers....You give a glance and pass by....

Have these passersby ever left back an impression....?....you overhear conversations...you check out what they wear....in this 30-60 minute journey do you judge them...?...question their ways??

Do you smile....politely give your seat to an elderly...strike up a conversation...hold someone's bag...?...Or do you struggle...push and pull...run for that empty seat...whine and crib?

I have been travelling by the Delhi Metro for about 2 years now. I take the Noida - Rajiv Chowk route for work. Delhi Metro has definitely made travelling easy...you are not stressed by the maddenning and ever increasing traffic on the roads; however hurried you are, you can take a breather in the metro; you can catch up on your reading, listening to your favourite music...
For me it has become the most preferred mode of transport; More so because of the Passersby!!
I love to read their faces...catch tit-bits of their conversations...weave and imagine stories around them.

The little girl with two plaits, running across the metro, swing around the pole - carefree, innocent and oblivios to the world around her...
The old lady, wheatish in complexion with silvery boy cut hair dressed smartly in pants and kurti - independent, progressive yet restrained in her ways...
The two newly weds all dressed up with bright bangles and high heels, sharing with each other the stories of their new homes - excited, nervous yet confidently entering into a future unfamiliar...
The shy couple, standing in the space between the ladies and the general compartment, holding hands, whispering into each others ears, waiting for this moment to freeze, saddened by the thought of separating on the next stop - in love, content and hopeful of a future together...
The lonesome girl, standing by the door, peering out of the window, brushing away the tear - hurt yet standing tall...
The cheerful bunch of girls, dressed in the trendiest of clothes, chattering and laughing reminding you of your school/college days when your friends are your world - Joyful, Playful, Loyal and supportive...

A Mother. A Daughter. A Child. A Sister. A Daughterinlaw. A Friend. A Lover. A Granma...................
Happy. Solemn. Kind. Irritable. Tired. Excited. Forlorn. Anxious. Joyous. Bored. Talkative..................
Same Emotions. Different People.
Same Situations. Different Stories.
Same Characters. Different Actors.
I see these faces everyday.

And all I do is Smile :) I smile at these Passersby for who knows a smile may bright up their lives, perhaps make it more Beautiful...I may or may not get back a smile in return but as someone has rightly said "Today, give a stanger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day" (Quoted in P.S. I Love You)





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Magnificent City Palace of Jaipur

Jaipur has become the city of Weekend Respite for most of us Delhi-ites, and so it was for us too...
Our Family drove down to Japiur on a pleasant Friday morning to enjoy the extended weekend.
The trip was essentially planned to attend my sis-in-law's convocation at Jaipur National University on 30th March and it turned out to be a wonderful family trip!!

I've been to Jaipur twice before and have explored the city in phases...However, both the times I missed out on the 'City Palace'....and it has been a while that this Beautiful Royal Palace was on my Bucket list....So happy to have crossed out this one now!!

To give a very brief history, the palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II between 1729-1732, as the official seat of Maharaja of Jaipur. Sawai Man Singh II (along with the beautiful Maharani Gayatri Devi) was the last ruler of the palace until the princely state was merged with the new state of Rajasthan (after India's Independence, 1947). Although the Indian princes had relinquished their ruling powers, they remained entitled to their titles, and other privileges until the adoption of the 26th amendment to the Constitution of India on 28 December 1971. Accordingly, Man Singh II remained Maharaja of Jaipur until his death.

A blend of Indian, Mughal and European styles of Architecture, the City Palace captures this royal heritage and leaves its visitors with awe and admiration.

Leaving you with the below clicks of this magnificent Palace....Enjoy!!

Richly decorated entrance gate
'Diwan-i-Khas' (Hall of private audience) - Charmingly done in Sandstone and Marble adorned with chandeliers

'Chandra Mahal' 

'Mubarak Mahal'



Delicate Engravings on the Mubarak Mahal

I spent good 15-20 minutes soaking in the architectural beauty of the 'Pritam Niwas Chowk' or the Peacock courtyard. The courtyard consists of intricately painted doorways/gateways in the four directions said to be depicting the four seasons - Autumn, Summer, Spring and Winter

Peacock gate representing Autumn








Lotus gate shows flower pattern and is said to depict the Summer season
Rose Gate depicting Winter

Rose flower pattern

Green Leheriya Gate representing Spring




The flamboyant construction provides us an insight into the life and times of the royalty. Apart from these structure there are many museums which show various textile/costumes worn during the era; Armoury of the Princes; exhibits of miniature paintings of those times; ancient texts etc.

This is definitely a must visit if you are in Jaipur. The history of Jaipur is incomplete without understanding the history of the City Palace....it gives the visitor a pleasant view of the bygone era...