Saturday, 24 June 2017

Choki Dhani ~ Jaipur


On my recent blog post in my India travels series, I wrote about my trip to Jaipur, one of the highlights of the trip was to Choki Dhani, a rural village setting decorated with traditional artefacts and furnishings and serving Rajasthani cuisine in a very authentic and homely way.



 We enjoyed the village atmosphere and the Rajasthani ambience which was created by performances of traditional Rajasthani dance.


The dancers balanced stacks of pots on their heads whilst standing on steel tumblers. the sheer balancing and dancing to rhythm was mesmerising.


The Melody and tunes orchestrated by Rajastani musical instruments was very authentic and folklore musicians were really good as they performed folk songs .


There were many stalls selling ethnic wear, hand crafted bags, shoes and regional mirror work clothing. We particularly liked the fact that many old trades of carving, weaving,  printing etc were showcased at Choki Dhani, not only did it give tourists like our selves an insight to these fascinated trades but it also kept the livelihood of these tradesmen alive.

 At Choki Dhani we were able to see the art of carving printing blocks by local artisans and later saw the blocks being used to print fabric with fabric dyes. The designs were intricate and beautiful.



We were able to participate in making our own pot using a hand turned pottery wheel. It was wonderful to see that the age old art of pottery was being promoted and kept alive.



Lakh (glass) bangle making  and handmade glass jewellery was also on show at this place. The glass beads were hand made as were the Lac (glass )bangles bangles.


Jaipur is well known for its thread work embroidery, mirror work on bags and clothing and also for hand weaved rugs. The beautiful and colorful rugs were each hand weaved as the weaver laboriously weaved thread after thread to make intricate designs on the hand loom.



There were many stalls where you could sample Rajastani snacks and cuisine, and participate in magic shows, and join in some Rajasthani games also.


Finally to complete our experience we enjoyed a wonderful Rasthani Thali (platter of food) at the Choki Dhani restaurant which again was an experience in itself. After being grandly escorted like VIP guests to the courtyard restaurant we were invited to sit on the floor cross legged on plush cushions.

The waiters served a large selection of traditional Rajasthani cuisine on banana leaf plates and bowls set on low tables. We adorned Rajasthani turbans as we enjoyed our food.



The food was delicious and plentiful and it just kept coming, It was indeed a rich gastronomical experience and one I WILL NEVER FORGET!!!



Guests can also check in and stay at the Choki Dhani resort, which I believe is magnificent , however we already had our rooms booked at the Hilton and so did not have the opportunity to stay there. If you want to see and experience an authentic Rajasthani cultural experience, I would highly recommend a visit to Choki Dhani.


To read about my other posts in the India Travels series see the links below.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Rocket ~Bostik Bloggers 2017


The month of June has brought a heatwave to the UK and we have been melting as temperatures soar. During the hot weather we have been enjoying lots of ice creams, our favorite at the moment is mango and strawberry. On Sunday Little M my niece, came over and as a refreshing treat we enjoyed some strawberry popsicles.


We always time Little M visits so that she can do some crafting with me with the Bostik Box, the theme for the month of June was Space. After looking through the box Little M and I decided to make some rockets.


You will need:

Cardboard tube (Empty toilet roll)
Gold Card
Pink Card
Blue and Green foil paper
Scissors
Bostik Glue
Scissors

How to make Rockets:

1. Using a plate as a guide draw a 4 inch circle on the blue shiny paper and cut it out.
2. Cut the circle in half and make a cone shape with one of the halves and secure with the glue.


3.Cut out a rectangle from the pink card so that it fits around the cardboard tube.
4. Stick the pink card around the tube and secure with bostik glue.


5. Stick the blue cone on top of the pink tube to make the top of the rocket..
6. Cut 4 slits each  approx 1 inch long at 12 o clock, 3 o clock , 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.
7. Make the base if the rocket by drawing the shape shown in the picture. Cut 2  pieces from gold paper.


8. Cut slits two slits as shown in diagram and slot the two rocket bases into each other to make a base.
9. Slot thee rocket base into the pink tube into the previously cut slits.
10. Cut out 3 small 1 cm squares to make windows and slick them on the pink tube.


This craft is suitable  for young children although adult supervision may be required for using scissors.

Being part of the Bostik 2017 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Jaipur ~ India

My India travels continues as we head to the magnificent state of Rajasthan and the city of Jaipur often known as the pink city. Jaipur was established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, and it is one of the largest city of Rajasthan. Jaipur is magnificent with beautiful architecture, it has the most eye catching and majestic fortresses, palaces, temples and beautiful havelis. The best time to visit this place is between October and March. The weather although is hot is still bearable.
On our recent visit to Jaipur we visited a few of the key sightseeing places:

Amber Fort



Amber Fort is situated next to the Maota lake on the rocky hill of Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) that overlooks the Jaipur. It was built by Raja Shri Maan Singh JI Saheb’ (Maan Singh I) and It dates back from the 16th century. The fort can be reached by car, on foot or by elephant rides which take you to the grand entrance of the fort. 



Inside the palace there are many state rooms, lots of beautifully carved architecture, courtyards and chambers. The most intricate and beautiful room in the fort is the Sheesh Mahal the Mirror Palace. The walls and ceilings are carved with floral patterns that are inlayed with glass mirrors. It is thought that if a candle is lit in the Mahal, it will replicate a starry night. The Maharaja built this room for his queen who wanted to sleep under the stars but since Royal women were not allowed to do this this was to replicate the experience of sleeping under the stars.


To make the most of the fort I would highly recommend getting an English speaking guide who will be able to give a detailed history and tour of the fort.

Hawa Mahal- Palace of Winds


Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 and it was an extension of the city palace. The palace spans out over five floors and the inside boasts beautiful and intricate Rajput and Islamic architecture. It has a very iconic honeycomb structure created by pink sandstone. These structures are actually the palace windows made from detailed  lattice work made in a typical Marwari design. It was thought that the queens and the royal women in palace used to sit behind the windows, out of sight so they could watch royal processions or religious ceremonies. The windows also provided air to travel through the lattice to keep the palace cool hence it was given the name Hawa Mahal meaning palace of winds.

Jal Mahal- Water Palace


The Jal Mahal the water palace set in the middle of Lake Sagar. It appears to have only one story which is visible from the banks of the lake, however the palace has an extra 4 floors submerged under water. It is not possible to visit the palace but you can view it from the banks. Along the banks of the lake there are a few stalls selling tourist souvenirs, photographers offering to take photos in Rajasthani attire and also camel rides. A typical visit to the Jal Mahal will be less than 30 minutes, just enough time to take some photos

Nahargarh Fort- Abode of tigers



Whilst in Jaipur we also visited Nahargarh Fort, Nahargarh which means 'abode of tigers'. It is located in one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, the Aravalli Hills. The fort can be reached by car along a long winding mountain road, there are many places to stop to admire the beautiful and spectacular views of Jaipur. 



It is known that Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort are all connected and were used as defence for each other. The fort is a two storey building with many rooms and beautiful Indian and European style of architecture.


Apart from sightseeing, shopping in Jaipur is plentiful, there are many shops on MG Road and lots of bazaars leading off the main road too. You can buy clothing and ethnic attire, hand-dyed and embroidered textiles, pretty jewellery and delicious food. The city is a rainbow of bright colours and it is very visually appealing.



Since we only spent two nights in Jaipur we wanted to make the most of the city, together with sightseeing and shopping we were looking for a Rajasthani cultural experience whilst dining. This we found when we visited Choki Dhani, which captures this perfectly in a rural village setting decorated with traditional artefacts and furnishings and serving  Rajasthani cuisine in a very authentic and homely way. Our experience of Choki Dhani was very enjoyable and it is worthy of a separate blog post which is next on the agenda.

Time permitting there are many other places to visit in Jaipur such as the Jaigarth Fort, Jantar Mantar stone observatory and  Birla Temple. Since we only had two nights to spend in this beautiful city. I think we managed to pack in all the key things we wanted to experience.  

To follow my India travel series do check out my previous post:





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