I had long wanted to visit the Samode properties in Rajasthan and then someone distinguished raved about their newish safari lodge at Bandhavgarh. That was the stimulus I needed and we arrived in mid February to stay at Samode Haveli in Jaipur. We travelled by Shatabdhi train from Delhi where we had stayed with pleasure yet again at The Imperial. The train journey is fast and efficient and one arrived in good time for lunch.
Visiting four of the Cyclades Islands has been an immense pleasure; Greece to which I first came 50 years ago will always hold immense charm for me and this time visiting Milos, Sifnos, Los and Paros was hugely enjoyable.
The Claridges is a heritage hotel in Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi. The whole of this area of New Delhi is listed and considered a heritage site and indeed the Lutyens’s style bungalows and wide avenues with flowering trees, large flower filled roundabouts and general air of grace and elegance are the most sought after area of New Delhi filled with prestige homes, luxury hotels, diplomatic residences, embassies and national institutions.
I would like to share with you aspects of one of my favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mamallapuram which once was the great port city for the 7th century Pallava king Narsimha Varman I, also known as Mamalla the ‘Great Wrestler’. The Pallavas were the first kings to build temples in the whole region of Tamil Nadu.
The Imperial Hotel was opened in 1936; it was built at the same time as the construction of the now famous Lutyens’s Imperial New Delhi when India had not yet gained nationhood from the British. The then vicereine opened this elegant but modest hotel. Fast forward to 2013, and The Imperial Hotel which I have known since a child of 12 years is a lovely luxurious timeless hotel in a superb location on Jan path - one of the major avenues of New Delhi the capital of India.
The stench of history and the detritus of millennia assailed me as I picked my way gingerly towards the boat at the water’s edge of the ghat. This spiritual place of pilgrimage and prayer has long fascinated me but I had never been in my adult life. Varanasi is almost in the centre of northern India but even today though accessible by train it only has a limited connection by air which is a shame.
For many years I have known that to write about India without visiting the Punjab and its great icon The Golden Temple, holy place of the Sikh Religion, was missing out on something very important to millions of Indian people not only in India but also in the Indian diaspora.Graham and I took the Shatabdhi to Amritsar in February 2009.