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For my Christmas family trip we went to INDIA... We started off in Delhi for two days and stayed at The Claridges, then to Fort Alila for a night and Jaipur for three days at Samode Haveli. I had the most amazing time...
Stayed at The Claridges for two days; Then followed on to Fort Alila – which is 4 hours from Delhi and an hour from Jaipur: A magical fort set in the middle of nowhere atop a hill. Delightfully tranquil and a nice change from the hussle and bustle of Delhi.
Humayuns Tomb – Beautiful and next door, the old Prime Minsters smaller tomb is enchanting. At the entrance the local muslin boys play cricket on the rough grass and great to watch at the end of the day.
Agresen Hi Bowli – An amazing viaduct that not many guides go to on the way to the old spice market. Very beautiful.
The House where Ghandi was Shot – Close to The Claridges and a beautiful garden and lots of information on Ghandi. He was shot in the gardens of this house.
Janpath - A street in Delhi that has small little shops, worth strolling down inexpensive jewellery, bags, scarves. Much cheaper than Khan market or Connaught place,
No12 Janpath carries old pieces of great antique fabric, and scarves in silk.
Amethyst - Jeweller in Khan Market for good semiprecious. Will negotiate but about 10/15%. Great long semi precious necklaces and earrings.
Grovers - Tailors in Khan Market who will copy anything and carry good fabrics in cashmere, Lara Piano wools and more. They have gone up over the years, average £200–£400 per mens jacket (cashmere £600). When facing the store 4 doors to the right is a cheaper tailor, the fabrics are ok, and they have copied Celine coats for me in the past for £200. Make sure you say that you want VERY good interfacing. They can turn around things in 2/3 days.
Anouki – The main shop is in Jaipur but there is also one in Khan Market.
Santushti Boutiques – Near Connaught Place.
OLD DELHI MARKET CHANDNI CHOWK:
Perfume Shop - There is a main drag which has a very good perfumer on it. The only one really. You have to ask for the pure Jasmine. They do pure but might offer pure and synthetic if you don’t ask for pure. (It’s under the counter as opposed to on top). Pretty boxes of incenses etc. I have also got them to send me over pure oils in bulk. This Jasmine is used in the spa at The Imperial Hotel...
Trimmings Shop - Down a side street on the left if the perfume store is on your right, is one of a few trimmings shops. They just do the trimmings you find on Saris and have a huge selection. They should cost no more than £5-£20 per roll. You buy by the role (around 9 meters).
Bukhara at the Sheraton ITC Hotel - Must have the best Indian food. Book in advance and don’t be put off by the photos of Obama, and ex-presidents on the wall. There's a reason why they came here. Order the slow cooked lamb in spices.
The Spice Route restaurant at The Imperial is fab
The House of Ming at the Taj – Delicious Chinese if you need a change from Indian. There are a few more, but we only had two nights there.
Haveli – In the old market there is a Haveli which is like a grand family house that is a hotel. It has delicious food and go for a drink on their rooftop overlooking the old market. This was my stepsons favourite butter chicken curry in Delhi…
Indian Accent – At The Lodi
We stayed at Samode Haveli – which is really fabulous old Jaipur and my favourite place to stay. I prefer it to the Rambagh. Request room 123 for yourself, (its the room the grandmother had when it was a family palace so she could spy on everyone, and has windows on all sides and two balconies, just delightful) and the near rooms for your family. (Don’t stay in the 10 NEW rooms they put in last year...) Every night you can go on the roof and take part in the kite flying that the entire city take part in from their roofs. People try to ‘Cut’ the other kites and it can get quite fierce.
The Amber Fort – Home of the old Maharajah of Jaipur. Beautiful palace. You can travel up by elephant which I did the first time. But found out how badly they treated the elephants... The following morning, I went to
Elefantastic – Set just outside Jaipur it's a home for elephants and they also rescue a few a year from circuses etc. You can interact with them, wash them, watch them play in the sand, and weirdly paint them...
The Galta Monkey Temple - This is so run down but I think worth a visit. There is no maintenance to the temple, and the monkeys run wild. Quite dirty but I loved it. The temple is a series of building set into a mountain range.
The Old City Palace
Close to the Samode Haveli
Saurashtra - If you want to buy block printed fabric and old costumes and textiles.
Riddhi Siddhi and Channi Caroets - For fabric and shawls. They also do tailoring. They have a factory outside Jaipur and do things for lots of people. They have offcuts at the main place in Jaipur, but will also tailor. You can choose a beautiful cotton fabric (about £5 per meter ) and they will copy it in chiffon (£10 per meter). They also do bedspreads and shawls. You know you are in the right place if you start talking to a man whose son is at St Martins...
By the Wind Palace Johari Baazar - There are rows of little shops selling cheap tat, again and again...
1135 AD – Is the restaurant at the top of The Amber Fort. Old world grandeur in slight disrepair, gorgeous setting and view down to the city below.
The Rambagh Palace – Big, extravagant.
Maharajah Palladio – A bar set in a beautiful garden on the way to The Rambagh Palace from Samode Haveli. Its just for drinks and enchanting. Well worth going. Next door they have a restaurant which is also good and fun and cool.
Niros – On the MI Road: The oldest restaurant in Jaipur on the main jewellery street in Jaipur. Where lots of locals go for good food.