Thursday 28 February 2013

Please Switch Off Your Mobile Phones Now

I have seen many people working furiously at airports and in flights. I am not one of them. When I leave home sometimes it feels like a real effort to get out with thousand and one things pending, which are urgent as well. But once I am out of the house I like to leave things behind. I thought that was the purpose of travel anyway.

I start relaxing at the airport itself as I usually check in way ahead of time. Still there would be calls going on, sometimes related to work as well. That is why I love those words which all airlines in India (and everywhere else) say- “please switch off your mobile phones now.”

Time to relax!

Once the flight takes off, be it SpiceJet, IndiGo, Indian Airlines, Go Air or any other I am almost always left with nothing to do which is usually good thing. That is why I want a break, because otherwise there are way too many things that simply need to be done.

Once in air I would prefer to read, day dream, watch a movie etc and it feels so different from the daily routine. I often feel that it is in air that I am able to disconnect from my day to day life and it feels refreshingly good.

I have heard that some airlines wish to introduce cell phone services in flight. Or is it that some of them globally have already introduced it? I am not sure. I am watching this development without any enthusiasm. After all, if I cannot stay disconnected for half a day what kind of life I am leading? And to think of it, cell phones anyway came into existence when I was already working for many years! I used to manage well before and I can still mange without them for a while!

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Jobner Fort

Jobner Fort, as the name suggest, is on a hilltop in the town of Jobner.  It is approximately 40 kms from Jaipur city and falls withing the Jaipur district of Rajasthan.

Jobner Fort

I was going from Jaipur to Sambhar via Jobner on State Highway 2C and saw this fort on the hilltop once I reached the town of Jobner. As I was already running late due to bad conditions of road after leaving Jaipur I could not go up to have a look from inside. Maybe next time when I take this road again I will visit this interesting looking fort from inside.

Jobner Fort

Jobner is a very small town known for the Jobner Fort, the temple of Jwala Mata and an agricultural college.

Friday 22 February 2013

Taking a Vacation

If you have been working for last many years like me you know it leads to taking fewer and fewer vacations over time. I don’t know why it happens but chances are unless traveling is your religion it just happens.

Vacation Time!

The number one problem is the amount of leaves available and then my leaves coinciding with everyone in the family! I am lucky that I mostly like driving to the hills which are not very far away from Delhi. But sometimes I do like to go to other places, places which are a bit far off as well.

With cheap air travel becoming a reality in India my options to go for a vacation with those limited leaves increased. That is where I feel the more airlines we have the merrier as a traveler I am. Now with Kingfisher not in operation I felt the fares were already going up. Today I read that the Tata group is planning to invest in Air Asia and I hope that for the sake of customers the deal will go through.

Destinations like Goa, Kerala, Leh, Imphal all are now a few hours away with reasonable flights rather than being days away. With  IndiGo and Go Air on the budget side and Air India and Jet with full fares, they manage to service a lot of holiday destinations.

In that sense I wait for a time when either Air Asia expands its operations in North as well or Indigo starts flying more international destinations. After all if I do get a reasonable fare I may start exploring other countries as well.

Do I have a wish list? Not really, not a big one but sometimes I do feel that I should sit down and make one. Then when I can spot a few days which I can take off the decision making would be faster.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Umaid Heritage:Water Conservation with Beauty

In the earlier times water harvesting and conservation system was used widely and one can still see the examples in the old 'baoli's' in the old towns. Baoli is a stepwell where the water storage may be reached by descending a set of steps. Stepwells were a very common feature in the arid western and north-western part of ancient India.

Umaid Herittage Garden Stepwell

But to see this in the modern age is pleasantly surprising. I saw this at the Umaid Heritage Gardens which is a housing society next to the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The area is owned by the Majaraja of Jodhpur who in a business tie up with a private developer have made this housing society and selling individual units to the public.

Water stored in the Stepwell 

The stepwells are made to store water during the rainy monsoon season so that it can be used during the lean season. The Umaid Heritage Gardens has built this beautiful, artistic and aesthetically pleasing modern age baoli.

Artistic stairs in the Stepwell

The baoli has multiple levels and the water is taken out for gardening by placing water pumping motors at the lowest levels.

A modern Stepwell 

The stepwell is able to meet all the water requirement to maintain the beautiful gardens of this residential colony.

Beautiful Garden at Umaid Heritage

It is nice to see some of these water conservation projects coming up in the modern day which are not only good for the conservation of the water but are also pleasant to look at instead of looking like an eyesore like some of the modern structures.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Ratanada Palace

When one goes to Jodhpur one usually sees the Umaid Bhawan Palace and the Mehrangarh Fort. Even if you google Ratanada Palace you will come across the Ratanada Palace Hotel or the Ratanada Polo Palace Hotel both of which have absolutely nothing to do with the actual Ratanada Palace.

Ratanada Palace

So the photos that you see in this post would be the among the rare ones available on the internet. This is so as the palace is located in a restricted area.

Side view of the Ratanada Palace

In fact before the construction of the Umaid Bhawan Palace (also now run as a Taj hotel property) the rulers of the Jodhpur area resided in the Ratanada Palace.

Frontal view of the Ratanada Palace

In fact I got the impression that the architect of this palace must be a European.

A long shot of the Ratanada Palace

Nowadays this palace is not resided by anyone but is used for conferences and meetings. But I must say that it is still in very good condition and the exteriors look impressive.