Monday, June 20, 2016

Plan for another Escapade - Rajasthan

While, we have already crossed the half year mark, almost, and still there hasn't been a travel plan in place as yet, for this year. So, I thought, I might as well put a plan in place.

Having touched most of the continents, somewhere deep down, I do feel, that, there is more to our own country, which I haven't touched and seen and needs to be covered.

This time, I decided to try out a place, in the northern part of India. I am thinking of Rajasthan, mainly to cover Jaipur and Udaipur. Its always been a dream of my mom to visit Udaipur and I think the next place should be that place.

Well, as I am doing my little exercise of finding the place and the means to go , I am finding it all the more exciting to pen down my thoughts. It feels, I am actually doing a virtual tour out there :)

The plan is to take a Domestic Airlines from Bangalore to Jaipur. My favorite and cost effective flight being Indigo Airlines. I simply love the punctuality of Indigo compared to any of the other Lost Cost Carriers.

Am planning to keep this trip to around 5 days and not more than that, as beyond that, its going to be tiring for parents.

As for the hotel booking, I normally use one of the online travel booking sites, along with some inputs from Tripadvisor. More importantly, once I book, after a couple of days, I call up the hotel and cross-verify that the hotel has been actually booked. I have been through a bad experience and hence I do this exercise. I also look for coupons on the sites, which will give me a lot of discounts on the hotels. Especially on, one would see them on top of their site.

Coming to the places to visit, one of the places, which I always wanted to see in Jaipur was 'Hawa Mahal'.  This place has a lot of historic value and I would like to see this place in detail, and take some nice photographs in the evening. I would want to use my new wide angle  canon lens(17 mm)  which I have recently picked up :)

Coming to the Food, I do love to try out the various dishes in a new place. After checking with a few of my friends in Jaipur, they recommended me to definitely try the 'Peacock Roof Top Restaurant'. The pictures of the restaurant look to be good.

The other places, which I plan to visit in the next days are -

  • Jantar Mantar
  • Jal Mahal
  • City Palace , Jaipur.

The next leg our journey would be to Udaipur.

There are a couple of options to reach Udaipur from Jaipur. One being Train. There seems to be few trains available and since the journey takes around 7-8 hours, it would be ideal to take a night train.
The other options being , to hire a car/taxi and go out there. The route by Road, seems to take lesser time, around 6 hours. I normally prefer the train and the odds of choosing the train are higher.
It's just a little less stressful, when travelling by train than road, especially for the elders.

The places, which I would plan to visit in Udaipur -

  • City Palace of Udaipur
  • Lake Pichola
  • Bagore Ki Haveli
  • Jagadish Temple.

These are the important places, which I have given higher priority and would probably limit to these itself.

Though, when we think of Rajasthan, we normally tend to think that, its a place we will see more of vegetarian dishes. But that thought process has changed over the years. I did see that, there are a lot of non-vegetarian dishes, which are prepared in Rajasthan. Though, I would say, I would tend to enjoy the vegetarian dishes more.

More than seeing more and more monuments, I would rather go around the place, especially walking and trying to know and gather information of the local food and the habits. Over so many years of travelling, that's one thing,that has always made me the enthusiastic to know more and more of the local culture.
Also, I do use the books from Lonely Planet a lot, and use them to know the historical information of the places which I see. It makes a lot more sense, when we relate a place with its history , rather than just the architectural marvel.

While, I have planned for the trip, I would soon put it into execution and will also followup with the article, along with my own set of pictures.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Sialkot Saga - By Ashwin Sanghi - Book Review

Book Name : The Sialkot Saga
Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Pages : Around 600

I had read the two of his earlier books, Chanakya's chant and the Krishna Key, and I blindly picked up this book, from a store and not really Amazon, as I couldn't really wait :)

The book in a couple of words, I can is a good read. And would recommend to read it.
Gives a good glimpse of the history, right from the Partition till the recent past.

But, at the same time, its very close to a couple of books by Jeffrey Archer. Though the story is entirely based in India, but one can remember Kane and Abel or the Fourth Estate, while reading this book. And then there is  almost every event from India's history, linked throughout the story.
That is something, which I didn't like of this book. Reminded me the movie by Shahid Kapoor or rather Pankaj Kapoor's 'Mausam'. That movie was essentially, one in which all the main characters of the movie, we present at all the major disasters across the world. This book also, does something similar. The detest of that movie, I guess to quite an extent, would influence this review.

The story starts of two people, who had come to India, on the past train from Pakistan where, everyone on the train were killed. One of the worst events in the history of the India-Pakistan Partition.  Then starts a parallel story, of these two wizards, one from a middle class background coming up the financial ladder and the other coming from the underworld kind of background. The story, is gripping at each point of time and at no point, did feel like keeping it down.

The only place, where one can  feel  , 'Ashwin Sanghi, as per his previous books, is when there is a detailed discussion of the important project done by a Burmese , to increase the longitivity of human life. Thats the only place, I could feel Ashwin.  All throughout the other time, though I was reading the story, I was going back to the Jeffrey Archer or Mausam movie:)

This would give an idea of the book, mainly a struggle of two individuals coming from Pakistan and their story, mainly the rivalry between the two, and still at heart they were different. And then you also see their story of their kids and , yeah, its kind of the typical hindi movies :)

So, this book appears that, its written so, that, it can be converted into a Bollywood movie.
Well, looking at Jeffrey Archer, it would be a success, while, if you look at 'Mausam' movie, then it's likely to be something else.

Go for the book and if you are born in the late 70's or early 80's , its a nostalgic walk through for the past few decades :)

Go ahead and read it!!!