Everest Trekking, Vancouver, BC, Tours to India, Nepal
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Romantic Rajasthan February 2005

(photos below) Fourteen of us travelled by air, bus, boat, elephant and camel around the north of India. In Delhi we had the privilege of dinner at the farm house of our partners, Zutshi Travels. It was a warm family gathering that gave us an insight into a different aspect of Indian life.

We flew to Varanasi to see the fabled Ghats and watch the sun rise on the Ganges. Here, the lights of hundreds of candles reflected in the water. These were tiny green leafed boats bearing blessings down to the sea. Devout Hindu's come here to die and have their ashes sprinkled in the holy river. It is a very spiritual place, and the oldest city in all of India. We drove to Agra to see the Taj because it truly is one of the seven wonders of the world. Jaipur gave us the opportunity to ride elephants at the fabled Amber fort and imagine a Maharaja's life in mirrored roomswith his harem nearby.

Next it was into the desert where we stayed at Khimsar fort which is now a hotel. We had dinner under the domed ruin of the original fort, romantically converted into a dining room with hand blocked tablecloths and lanterns in the niches. Ayurvedic massages were the order of the next day, and the opportunity to go to a nearby camel fair or rest by the pool. Probably the highlight of the trip was the Manvar Desert Resort where we stayed out on the desert in the most exotic tents complete with full bathrooms and flush toilets. We were entertained by dancers and musicians as we lounged on silk cushions in the sand and were served drinks and samosas under a star studded indigo sky. The flickering light of bonfires made us feel as though we were
immersed in a fairy tale.

Jodhpur, the blue city, was fun because we went to the market, bought bedspreads and shawls designed for Cardin and Hermes at a fraction of the cost, and visited the imposing fort/palace on the hill where the Maharajas ruled for 400 years. Luni is in the country. The Maharajas would ride out on elephants from
Jodhpur, through the gate of this gem of a small palace and into a garden. Chattering green parakeets swoop and spin, and we were privileged to be guests in this heritage hotel. The route to Udaipur passes a Jain temple complex where the marble buildings are so intricately carved they feel like lace, and priests stroll about dispensing blessings for small donations.

In Udaipur we stayed along the lake in the Jagat Niwas, a small hotel with Mughal archways looking out towards the Lake Palace. A fat full moon rose above the roof terrace as we toasted each other and celebrated the success and fun of our Indian adventure.

This tour will be repeated in November of 2006 led by Judy Moore of Oakville, Ontario and again in February 2007 led by Gord and Gail Konantz.

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