Recipes from the road: Spice Village -Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern India

From time to time I come across a particularly special food item and I ask for the recipe. We were in Southern India at Spice Village Resort. We were amazed at the quality of the food there, of course all organically grown,fresh from the garden, and totally wholesome. The menus were inventive and presentation was beautiful. This is a small out of the way resort, so we had not expected great dining and we were pleasantly surprised!! We were up for an early morning hike and these cookies were piled on a large platter for fortification. Divine! Thanks to chef PJ Aneesh
WHOLE MEAL CHOCOLATE & COFFEE COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

BUTTER 175 GRAMS
BROWN SUGAR 200 GRAMS
EGG (OPTIONAL) 1 NUMBER
PLAIN FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BAKING SODA 1 TEASPOON
WHOLEMEAL FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BRAN 1 TEASPOON
CHOCO CHIP 200 GRAMS
ROLLED OATS 85 GRAMS
COFFEE POWDER 1 TEASPOON
MULTIGRAIN MIXES 100 GRAM

METHOD

CREAM THE BUTTER & SUGAR .FOLD IN THE EGG TO IT.
MIX TOGETHER REMAINING ALL INGREDIENTS AND GENTLY MIX IT WITH THE BUTTER-SUGAR CREAM TO MAKE SMOOTH DOUGH.
TAKE AROUND 10 GRAMS OF MIX & PRESS IT BETWEEN THE PALMS TO GET A MEDALLION SHAPE.
PLACE IT ON A GREASED TRAY. REPEAT FOR THE ENTIRE DOUGH.
BAKE IT ON 160 C FOR 20-22 MINUTES.
REMOVE FROM OVEN & COOL IT ON WIRE RACK.

Chef from Spice Village, holistic retreat in Southern India

Tiger at Ranthambore Park India

Tiger Safari- Ranthambore India- what a thrill!

One of the most gratifying letters I have ever received.

A few months ago I received an email from Lt. Marcus D’Silva who is serving our country in Kuwait. He had found a post I had made on my blog in February of 2010 about India and tiger tracking. He asked if I could help him have a similar adventure. Of course I immediately put him in touch with Toby Sinclair, and Suhail Gupta of India Safaris( Now & Beyon India- a Virtuoso company) and Salim Ali our illustrious guide at Ranthambore State Park. I told Toby and Suhail to please do everything they could to make Lt. D’Silva’s experience the best possible. As it turned out, Salim was on assignment with National Geographic, so they found Salim’s younger brother to do the guiding. Salim knows all the best sighting places. After lots of back and forth making arrangements, the trip was finally set. I was nervous because Tiger sightings are really rare, so I held my breath.
This is a portion of the thank you I received from Lt. D’Silva this week:

Catherine, Toby, Suhail, Farooq, Daljeet,

Captain Pritchard and I would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for organizing the game drives in Ranthambhore for the two of us. 6 drives and 5 tiger sightings up close and personal. I found myself a little sick the morning we bumped into each other Toby but we drove on with the mission (as we say in the army) and had two sightings that day. Farooq your guidance was truly exceptional. Suhail your services were most appreciated and Daljeet was extremely helpful in coordinating everything. Catherine none of this would have been possible if not for your blog and your initial assistance.

Princes and presidents could not have paid any amount to assure an experience akin to what we experienced on our trip. It was a memorable experience and one of the highlights of our journey through India.

This letter is the ultimate compliment and what we consultants are all about: making a memorable sometimes life changing experience for my client. Re posts of the blog entries and pictures are below.

Repost of our tiger tracking adventure

We are now in Ranthambore Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!

To be continued….

Repost of our Tiger Tracking experience- last day, last game drive

For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughen, Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas. Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books. As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father looked at us and said “the tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement. True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer! THEN we followed the tiger (who missed the deer) 2 more times and that video is also amazing.

Suhail Gupta, me, Salim Ali, Martha Gaughen

Best tiger experience on the last day, last drive

The elusive tiger

Toby Sinclair – greatest guide in India

Our illustrious guide for the last game drive- Salim Ali and his father

India …

I am assaulted with a riot of color in the the structures, cars, costumes and sari’s. The simplest worker on the road is colorful and elegant. There is a dignity and peacefulness with the people we meet. They are so happy to meet us- their smiles light up their faces.

Toby Sinclair, our illustrious leader, is a bottomless fount of information about Indian History. Toby tidbits: there is a connection with New England and Southern India. Ice was shipped from NE. It was packed in sawdust in the early 1700′s and was a huge industry. The ship took 6 months to get from new England to Madras. It was off loaded to an icehouse in Madras. There were icehouses in Calcutta and Bombay also. The ice came from “kettle ponds” in Massachusetts. Walden’s pond was one of the Kettle Ponds.

Taj Mahal Bombay

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of staying at the venerable Taj Bombay. I am delighted to say the renovation is perfect and it is ready for Primetime!! The colors are fresh and appealing everywhere I went, especially in the public rooms. The service was impeccable as only India can do it. I will place clients there with great confidence that they are in impeccable hands.

View of Dome -Taj Mumbai

View of the dome Taj Mumbai

Taj Mumbai

View from the room

Reclining Buddha Pollonnawaru

Catherine – your pictures are great! This one reminds me a lot of the reclining Vishnu we saw last year.

Yeardley S. Williams
404-261-6060 Main
205-414-7173 Brownell Office
yeardleyW@gmail.com
Brownell
Travel Beyond Your Expectations
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A member of the Tzell Travel Group

Sri Lanka

Said to be the original garden of Eden, Sri Lanka- formerly Ceylon- is lush and so green. I have seen many varieties of trees and flowers from coconut palms to rubber trees. I have never seen bigger and fuller Frangipani. Mangos are in season. Acres, and acres of rice fields. Our first stop was the hotel Vil Uyana, a Small Luxury Hotel, which means Lake garden. Only 4 years old, it was delightful. One can drive from Colombo- about 3 hours or one can take a helicopter- 30 minutes. They have a pad. We were there because nearby are the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa  - The ancient heart of Sri Lanka. An important royal capital with its well-preserved 12th century ruins & impressive stone culture recalls an inspired past. Although nearly 1000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura and generally in better repair. The monuments are arranged in a reasonably compact garden setting and their development is easier to follow. 
We spent the morning climbing the spectacular Sigiriya rock fortress  with its rocky abode & water gardens. 1200 steps, yikes! Sigiriya is famous for its toadstool of golden-hued granite, protruding into the searing blue sky from a hot, flat wilderness of scrubland, which is transformed in the rainy season to a water garden. In the 5th century King Kashyapa domesticated the Lions Rock, by building a palace atop its summit. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history.
Evening was massage time- divine! Then gin and tonics by the invisible edge pool watching multitudes of birds including eagles, bee eaters, kingfishers, storks, egrets-and those are only the names I know. They were  everywhere. In the early morning we participated in a blessing ceremony for the beginning of the rice harvest. The whole hotel staff and some of the villagers were there. It was a privilege to attend this very moving ceremony. 

Kathakali dance

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Julie in full makeup

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Julie, Julie, Julie

On the last night of our amazing adventure, we attended a Kathakali Dance performance in Cochi. It is an elaborate classical dance, and we were looking forward to the costumes and the color as much as the dance itself. The troup is heavily made up and the colors are very vivid. Julie, who has kept us cracked up on the whole trip with her fabulous wit, surprised us by having the makeup done at the dance center before we arrived. We thought she did not feel well, and had decided not to come out with us. Were we surprised!!! No disrespect to the Classical dancers the performance was wonderful.

Views in the Backwaters of Kerala

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Backwaters views

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Front of a houseboat

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Video of Mass at ST.Mary’s Kerala Backwaters

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Mass at St. Mary’s in Champakulam

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Sunset in the Backwaters of Kerala as seen from our houseboat.

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Attending Mass Kerala

Marari Beach, Kerala. Marhta Gaughen and I went to mass a few days ago, at Marari beach. It was described as a Latin mass, the ceremony was comfortably Catholic but the language and music were Indian. All the ladies were dressed in their best and most colorful saris. Men were on one side and ladies were on the other. All sat on the floor  I sat in the back and was struck by the beauty of all those covered heads in glourious colors. It looked like a field of multicolored flowers. The music was enchanting. Christianity was brought to India by ST. Thomas in 52AD. We saw his tomb and the Basilica built above it. Mylapore’s Basilica of San Thome is said to be the final resting place of St. Thomas the Apostle. Legend relays that St. Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s 12 disciples, was martyred at St. Thomas’s Mount after spending his final years preaching the gospel on the nearby beach. The Basilica’s stain glass windows depict the saint’s life and deeds, and superbly carved wooden panels describe Christ’s final days.

Backwaters of Kerala

We departed Cochin and I so sadly separated from my traveling buddies, Meg North, Martha Gaughen, Vicki Upchurch, Yeardley Williams, and Julie Lemish. I had an even better traveling buddy arriving, my husband, Gerry. Our first stop was to the Backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat! It was a delightful experience! The whole houseboat was just for us. We had a crew of 3 men, Shadib, Jacob( a wonderful cook) and Shadeesh. They welcomed us with Jasmine leis and a delicious fruit drink. We just took off our shoes and relaxed. I ordered wine, and they had a great red wine brand, Grover. We stopped along our way at a very old vilage, Champakluam. We visited an amazing Basilica, St. Mary’s and a Mass was going on. Again it was the most amazing experience. All the ladies were on one side in their colorful Saris and the men were on the other. A very moving service. They were all singing when we got there so I’m enclosing a video. The church was built in the 5th century by the Portugese. We then reboarded our houseboat and were served a most delicious dinner of vegetables, fish fillets, fresh, pineapple, Nan, and wine.

10 March, 2011 10:44

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Sunset in Kerala over the Chinese fishing nets

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Atlanta Georgia

Photo by Toby Sinclair- Nayak Palace

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Meenakshi Temple Madurai

PHOTO BY TOBY SINCLAIR, OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GUIDE
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Chettinad

One of the main attractions of Chettinad is the huge country homes of the Chettiars. These ancestral houses, that were built more than 100 years ago, have massive high walled structures and were decorated with the finest of wood and craftsmanship. They are packed with imported period furniture, chandeliers, curios and paintings. The Chettinad museum, which is housed in an old converted house. It showcases the traditional jewellery, textiles, household implements and utensils, and all other unique lifestyle products of the Chettiyars. We checked into a beautiful country house hotel called Visalam.

Courtyard of Visilam hotel Chettinad

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Srilangram India

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Mahaballiporam India

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Peacock in the garden, Maderai India

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Profile: http://www.brownelltravel.com/catherinewhitworth.html Travel Blog: http://catherinewhitworth.wordpress.com/
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PASSPORT NOTICE – due to constantly changing passport requirements, I recommend that for ANY travel outside the United States,
you travel with a US PASSPORT which is valid 6 months after your return.

View on the drive to Madurai India

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Photograph by Toby Sinclair

Pilgrims at Sri Renagranatha Temple in Srilangram India

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Sri Renaganatha Temple in Srinamgram

We met pilgrims who walk 104 Kilometers to visit their temples. They were resting in the courtyard of the temple. Srirangam is famous for Sri Renganatha temple which is one of the 108 vaishnava temples and is called Earthy Heaven (Boologa vaikundam). Srirangam boasts an historic past rich in conquest and civilization which is very old and it is proved by carbon dating test and containing the most ancient, genuine and recognizable traces left by the aboriginal Indians.

Starting on our trail

We started our adventure in the city of Chennai(formerly Madras) in the Tamil Nadu State of Southern India. Our first visit was to an outdoor museum called Mahaballiporam. The stones and carvings ar hundreds of thousands of years old.

Mahaballiporam India

<img src="http://www.catherinewhitworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/photo1.jpg" alt="" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" width="500" height="375" class="alignnone size-full

Mahaballiporum near Chennai India

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Working our way through Southern India

I am assaulted with a riot of color in the the structures, cars, costumes and sari’s. The simplest worker on the road is colorful and elegant. There is a dignity and peacefulness with the people we meet.  They are so happy to meet us- their smiles light up their faces.
Toby Sinclair, our illustrious leader, is a bottomless fount of information about Indian History. Toby tidbits: there is a connection with New England and Southern India. Ice was shipped from NE. It was packed in sawdust in the early 1700′s and was a huge industry. The ship took 6 months to get from new England to Madras. It was off loaded to an icehouse in Madras. There were icehouses in Calcutta and Bombay also. The ice came from “kettle ponds” in Massachusetts. Walden’s pond was one of the Kettle Ponds.

Stairwell of the Taj Mumbai

Stairwell Taj Mumbai

Toby Sinclair

http://catherinewhitworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/toby-sinclair3.jpg”>

http://www.indiasafaris.com/the_photographer

Yeardley Williams “What I will miss about India!”

My friend, Yeardley Williams wrote this. She was on the trip to India with us. She said it better that I could, so I asked her if I could send it to you. I posted a group of favorite pics on my blog, which can be accessed below. I am home and ready to work!

“I have just returned from an incredible 3 weeks in India, touring the palaces and forts of Rajasthan, going on tiger, wild game and bird safaris in 5 different national parks, cruising the Ganges at sunrise and sunset, participating in a Hindu Puja or prayer ceremony, visiting ancient temples, and seeing the truly beautiful and amazing Taj Mahal, again at sunrise and sunset.  India is an overwhelming awakening of all one’s senses and an education in ancient history and how it survives today on the subcontinent.  It is a complex country and must be taken as a whole while pondering the individual parts.  We stayed in 5 star hotels and jungle lodges even while immersing ourselves in the life of the cities, national parks and countryside.  Below are some impressions that are still with me:

What I will miss about India:

Being bowed to every morning and bowing back – the respect for life and all living things; the graciousness, good will, curiosity and big smiles of the Indian people; contentment combined with energy; an amazing diversity of interesting faces. 

Beauty – of the countryside and the national parks; the elegance and beauty of women in colorful saris, vermillion parts, bindis, bangles and gold jewelry; colorful turbans of the men; the richness of textiles; the ornamentation and embellishment of temples and palaces with jewels, glass, mirrors, tiles; lusciousness of fruit and vegetable stands; marigolds, roses and dahlias; silk merchants in ancient alleyways marketing sumptuous fabrics; patterns, textures and color everywhere. 

The vibrant history, culture and art of the subcontinent – learning about ancient cultures like the Mauryan, Gupta, Chandela and Mughul empires and the British Raj. 

Diversity and intricacy of Hindu, Arab, and Indo-Asian architecture from palaces and forts of Rajasthan to the temples at Khajuraho to the Taj Mahal. 

Learning about the interesting beliefs, religious practice and mythology of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

 Marveling at the chaos of cows, dogs, camels, buffalo in the middle of the streets sharing space with cars, colorful decorated trucks, camel carts, auto rickshaws, people powered rickshaws, horse carriages and many, many busy pedestrians.

Natural world and wildlife – seeing 6 of the 1200 remaining tigers in the wild, a leopard, jackals, sloth bear, wild boar, langurs, deer and antelope like chital, sambar, nilgai, blackbuck, barking deer and swamp deer, crocodiles, and an amazing array of colorful and rare birds too numerous to name. Tracking a tiger on elephant back. Learning to identify alarm calls when a predator is approaching.  Driving through teak forests, sal forests, banyan and ghost trees. 

Our incredible guides and naturalists who were so knowledgeable and eager to share their love of their country – its wildlife, history and traditions.

 A strong sense of the spiritual which undergirds and grounds everything.  I don’t think it is possible not to be touched by the Indian desire and hope for truth, peace and enlightenment and a release from the chaos and cravings of the world.  The sacredness and connection of all living things are palpable.

In summary, this is a marvelous destination for the adventurous of mind and heart.  I highly recommend it!”

India – as corrected by Toby Sinclair!

I asked Toby Sinclair my friend, guide and ultimate authority for all things India to correct a paragraph or two of my blog. It was so amusing, I am putting in the whole thing corrections and all. Corrections are in CAPS. Enclosed is a picture of him.
Let me start by saying that Tigers and Leopards are extremely elusive. Chances of seeing them are slim and none. The only consolation is that there are many many other fascinating animals to see in the parks. Chittle (CHITAL) deer and Samba (SAMBAR) Deer, Sloth Bears, White monkeys with black faces (HANUMAN LANGURS), Eagles, Kingfishers, Storks, cranes, and a large variety of predator birds.
At this time of the year game drives are very very cold in the morning. One needs glove, stocking caps, windbreakers, and fleece jackets. You can peel off layers, but it is really cold (WHEN YOU SET OUT IN THE HALF LIGHT BEFORE DAWN). The lodges supply hot water bottles and blankets, and you need al of it. You must have good binoculars and a long lens camera. Often the tigers and leopards are in brush and (BUT NOT NECESSARILY) far away. Afternoons get warm so you can take off layers. Drive can be very dusty, hot, and very very bumpy. There can be long periods of seeing nothing but beautiful jungle. Some jungles are teak, some are of a wood called Saab, and some are semitropical.
The parks we visited were Pench, Kahna (KANHA), Bangadavgarh (BANDHAVGARH), and Panna. We saw tigers and one leopard in the first three, and the last Panna was beautiful. There is an amazing temple complex called Khujahjo (AT KHAJURAHO)- I am slaying the spelling- that one should absolutely not miss when in Middle (CENTRAL) India. The Lodges were all different and each had it’s own personality: Baghvan, Banjar Toli (TOLA)- tented camp-Mahua Kohti (KOTHI), and Pasha Garh.
We are now in Ranthanbor (RANTHAMBHORE TIGER RESERVE) Preserve- the biggest (BY NO MEANS THE BIGGEST) and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized by the Brisitsh (NO…IT REMAINED WITH THE JAIPUR FAMILY TILL THE EARLY 1960S)  and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on Nat Geo channel(6 HOURS FOR THE BBC/PBS) and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way till he had to leave in Varanasi. He is off working on a film about the Black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure! To be continued….

Favorite Photos from India

I have downloaded some of my very favorite pictures from India to Picasa.  You may access them through this web address:

http://picasaweb.google.com/cwhit6/FavoritesOfIndia02?feat=email#

Enjoy!

The last day …

For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughan,
Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas.  Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st
director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh
Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books.
As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father  looked at us and said”the
tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement.
True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we
saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer!
THEN we followed the tiger(who missed the deer) 2 more times and that
video is also amazing.

Tiger photos!

I‘m home and processing this amazing trip to India.  Over the next week, I will upload photos and videos from one of the world’s most exciting destinations!

Tiger tracking!

Birds of India

Getting ready to tiger track – cold early morning

Getting ready to tiger track on elephants

Tiger sighting!

India … Highlights so far!

Let me start by saying that Tigers and Leopards are extremely elusive. Chances of seeing them are slim and none. The only consolation is that there are many many other fasinating amimals to see in the parks. Chittle deer and Samba Deer, Sloth Bears, White monkeys with black faces, Eagles, Kingfishers, Storks, cranes, and a large variety of predatory birds.
At this time of the year, game drives are very, very cold in the morning. One needs glove, stocking caps, windbreakers, and fleece jackets. You can peel off layers, but it is realy cold. The lodges supply hot water bottles and blankets, and you need all of it. You must have good binoculars and a long lense camera. Often the tigers and leopards are in brush and far away. Afternoons get warm so you can take off layers. The drive can be very dusty, hot, and very very bumpy. There can be long periods of seeing nothing but beautiful jungle. Some jungles are teak, some are of a wood called Saab, and some are semitropical.
The parks we visited were Pench, Kahna, Bangadavgarh, and Panna. We saw tigers and one leopard in the first three, and the last Panna was beautiful. There is an amazing temple complex called Khajurao that one should absolutely not miss when in Middle India. The Lodges were all different and each had it’s own personality: Baghvan, Banjar Toli- tented camp-Mahua Kohti, and Pasha Garh.
We are now in Ranthanbor Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh  and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!
To be continued….

Saddath/Ganges/Amber Fort

Yesterday we went to Varanasi. the oldest city in India, maybe in the world. Near there, Buddha made his first sermon- Saddath. We took a river cruise on the Ganges the most sacred river in India to see the evening ceremony. Quite a spectacle. Thousands of people (pilgrims) gather on the steps called Ghats( pronounced Gots) and celebrate a ceremony by the Brahmin priests. Lots of singing and chanting, incense and dancing. Toby, our amazing guide, continues to regale us with information about the history of religion, especially Hindism and Buddhism and how it fits into world history. I have some wonderful lectures of him talking on video. Yesterday we took another crruise on the Ganges for sunrise and it was amazing. The Hindus feel sunrise is the most sacred time because the sun’s reflection forms a Lingium on the Ganges. Today we are at the Rambagh Palace. We will go to Amber Fort today, one of my favorite forts. One used to ride elephants up to the fort, but conservationists like Toby are trying to get that stopped because of mistreatment of the elephants. Toby left us last night to go work on a fiming for the black tiger in Assam. We will miss him, but now have the head of the company Suhail with us. Looking forward to completing our tour with him!

Varanasi-World’s Oldest City

 

We have been thru the 4 camps. Each camp had wonderful accomodatons. I videoed the rooms. Of the 4 camps, Bangavdharh Had the most tigers and leopards. All camps had wondeful birds and other animals. Of course we were looking for Tigers. Seeing one is very exciting! We are in Varanasi now, the oldest city in the world and one of the most spiritual. We will be going to Saddarth where Buddha preached his first sermon this afternoon

Mahua Kothi and Tiger video

We are at the third camp Mahua Kothi. Very very good camp.

http://sharing.theflip.com/session/e316022c2a19e963a4903b0c8e1a4f8d/video/9889319

We have seen some amazing tigers, and one awesome leopard. Food has been outstanding. Each camp seems to be more luxurious than the last, and they are all luxurious. I am taking a lot of video and tons of pictures. 

Toby Sinclair – Our world renowned tour guide!

One of the most amazing parts of this journey is our tour guide, the world famous conservationist, filmmaker and photographer, Toby Sinclair.  He was responsible for the India volume of the Planet Earth Series

More information about his experience can be found http://www.indiasafaris.com/the_photographer

First Tiger Siting!

We saw our first tiger today and she was gorgeous!  HUGE and had two cubs.  What a thrill!! At Bagh Van today.  Pench National Park in the middle of India where Jungle Book was written.  Teak forest jungle.  Today was a wonderful birthday present for Meg Nolan, our leader.  We are driving through the countryside now to the next park – Kahana. 

Mehrangarh Fort, The Blue City of Jodhpur, Rohat

We are enjoying this amazingly beautiful country.  Please see the picture of Mehrangarh Fort and note the intricate latticed windows, elaborately carved panels and curved porches.  The people are wonderful!  We have enjoyed Jodhpur and its golden sands.  The architecture is simply breathtaking!

Mumbai and Mihir Garh

After a safe journey, we begin at the Trident  Hotel (www.tridenthotels.com) near the airport in Mumbai getting ready to go to Mihirgarh. Travel and Leisure listed this magnificent property as one of the top 50 most romantic destinations in the world: 

http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels/mihir-garh-rajasthan)

Mihir Garh

Knandi
Rohet
Pali, Rajasthan, India
TEL: 91-9-636-169-665
 
“On the wild plains of Rajasthan— just an hour south of Jodhpur—the Mihir Garh is a palatial fortress hotel with an impressive stable of indigenous Marwari steeds. Take one on a maharajah-worthy journey through the desert or on a staff-guided picnic safari to a Bishnoi tribal village. Then come home to one of the nine enormous guest suites (each is over 1,700 square feet), which are done up in Rajasthani textiles and rich fabrics that will put the final touches on your storybook adventure”
Please visit their web site (http://www.mihirgarh.com/#) and click on the photo gallery – MAGICAL!

Adventures in India … and so it begins!

I am en route to India with good friends and am thrilled!  We will be tiger tracking from January 21 returning February 15 and visiting five star properties throughout India.  Please follow along with me – I will update you daily with photos and videos of this wonderful adventure!