ITC Hotels has been holding the torch of Indian food aloft since a long time. With their Kitchens of India program, they are preserving the common and rare of the varied cuisines of India. But it is not only keeping the traditions alive, the chefs at ITC Hotels are pushing the boundaries of the food they are creating. I had my first encounter with progressive Bengali food at ITC Sonar. This time, it was the time for a lesson in progressive Rajasthani food at WelcomHotel, Jodhpur.
Desert Rose is an idyllic all day cafe at WelcomHotel, Jodhpur. The cafe is steeped in quite elegance and serves something for everyone. With period furniture and artifacts pinned and stacked on every wall along with large windows letting the sunshine, it definitely makes for a serene and regal ambience. When in Jodhpur, Rajasthan make sure you take a break at the luxurious WelcomHotel Jodhpur. Do try out Chef Akshraj Jodha's @akshrajjodha progressive Rajasthani food. Pic Credits: Snigdha Follow @saltandsandals #saltandsandals #travelblogger #travel #traveling #luxury #photography #hotelreview #visiting #instatravel #instago #instagood #trip #holiday #photooftheday #royalty #rajasthantourismofficial #royalty #jodhpurdiaries #rajasthantourism #India #condenastindia #lgindiapage #welcomhotel #itchotels #responsibleluxury
The soon to be open restaurant, Shola
Executive Chef Akshraj Jodha is royalty himself. A close cousin of the Fort Barli, his understanding of the complexities of Rajasthani food is astounding. With Shola, a soon to open restaurant at the hotel will be showcasing the travelers food. A first of a kind in India, it will showcase the food of both the nomads and royalty as they moved across the lands. We get a sneak peek into his food with a six course meal that allows his experimental food to blow us away.
We start off with a Baajre Ki Raab. A heady concoction of high calcium of Baajra with buttermilk. A dash of cumin on top cuts across the sourness. For starters he presents a Maas ke Sulle and Chakki. The Maas ke Sulle is a mutton kebab from Rajasthan. But it’s the lesser known Chakki that blows us away. The wheat protein is made into sheets and then steamed. He grills it with masalas and a dash of mustard oil. The Chatkara Machchi plays homage to the water bodies of Rajasthan as fish as a source of protein is very limited in the dry desert.
The mains are something that showcase the true genius of Chef Jodha. He has curated the Daal Baati in a truly new way making it bite sized and more easy to eat. The Ker Sangri in the Papad and Pithode needs a dab of the curry, just like pouring a sauce. A coriander chicken and pepper mutton offers two other beautiful flavours from Rajasthan. There are three types of Indian breads that he serves us: the good old Baajre and Makke ki Roti along with a Beetroot ka Parantha.
A palate cleanser is followed up with dessert. The Aamra Kunda combines the flavours of Mango on Chena for a sweet end to the meal. Executive Chef Akshraj Jodha’s food is something that you must try out when in Jodhpur, especially the newest restaurant at WelcomHotel Jodhpur, Shola.
Do tell us your favourite place to eat Rajasthani food.
The house of Rohet is a family of jagirdars who dotted the scene of medieval Rajasthan for a better part of four centuries. Rohet Garh located at half an hour’s drive from the blue city of Jodhpur is perfect for a trip of relaxation in India.
Nearly 400 years old, the Rohet Garh along with it’s sister property Mihir Garh take the meaning of experential hotels to an altogether new level.
Although Rajasthan is filled with hotels which tend to offer you an insight to the Rajputana heritage, Rohet Garh is one of rare ones which offers you the comforts of royalty with a hint of a rustic feel. Away from the frills and thrills of the city, Rohet provided us with a chance to unwind and connect with your inner self.
What impressed us at Rohet Garh?
A huge mural depicting the lives of the royals is depicted on the entrance. A lush green lawn welcomes us along with Avijit Singh Rohet, the 15th generation of the House of Rohet. Our room is a cosy little place on the ground floor overlooking the lawns. The beds and cupboards reek royalty but it is an oddly placed pillar and a view to the lake that stumps me. A pillar which I suspected is due to the fact that our rooms used to house the steeds of the Jodhpur cavalry. A beautiful baithak looks out onto the lake with ducks swimming in it.
Food at Rohet Garh
Chef Sharma cooks up a few specialties of the Marwar area. Overlooking the swimming pool, the dining area offers a breathtaking view of the property. Rabori, Kadhi and a Subzi made with green tomatoes adorns our plate. The Laal Maas is present in all its ubiquitous glory. But it’s the sheer opulence of the bar that will make you fall in love with Rohet Garh. Hard desert wood on the ceilings along with the illustrious history of the family being showcased in photographs. Heavy chandeliersand the use of maroon and red complete the look. We sipped on a glass of wine as Avijit regaled us with stories of hunting expeditions and horse breeding.
Activities at Rohet Garh
The Horses, Aha! Rohet Garh and Mihir Garh offer an unique equestrian experience along with a plethora of other options. The activities include cooking classes, desert safari and a trip into the heart of rural India. I will be dedicating another post for these.
Rohet Garh is a luxury property that will offer you an unique experience of Rajasthan away from city life. You can make your bookings here.
Image Credits: Snigdha Bhowmick
The four hundred year old Rohet Garh fort was the place where the famous historian William Dalrymple penned his City of Djinns. It is located about half an hour's drive from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India At night, the lights create a serene yet royal atmosphere which isn't forgotten easily. The ornately decorated bar is something that you must check out while visiting. It is as if walking in history. Pic Credits : Snigdha #saltandsandals #travelblogger #travel #traveling #luxury #royalty #royal# #hospitality #heritage #hotelreview #visiting #instatravel #instago #instagood #trip #holiday #photooftheday #fun #travelling #tourist #rajasthantourismofficial #lpindia #lonelyplanet #condenastindia #crazemag #roadtotaste
The newest of Hyatt‘s properties and it is indeed the place to be. A property which mirrors the city is in, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh is a aflush with space and aesthetic design. A city known for it’s astute planning and design, the Hyatt Regency Chandigarh truly emblazons the ethos of the city. With an astute use of its space, we truly fell in love with the property and here is why should you.
Start off your trip in the huge expanse of the lobby where a huge Christmas tree now takes centerpiece. A large coffee shop Browse just beyond it provides for a quick refreshment before moving onto other pleasure. The intricately arrangement gives you the feel of Chandigarh at the outset. Move onto their resplendent rooms for an even better experience.
The Rooms at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh
With more than 250 rooms inclusive of suites, the rooms are modernistic keeping in with the business theme of the hotel. Our suite is on the 6th floor of the hotel which gives a beautiful view of the sparkling blue swimming pool below. The suite is cut across two sections with the drawing room having a bespoke luxury with a duvon stretched out to relax you. With 3 televisions in the room, you are never far away from your entertainment. Spa bath accessories with a Jacuzzi means your rejuvenation will never be left behind. Another thing that sets this Hyatt property different from others is the astute usage of space. There are recessed panels on the walls everywhere making your surroundings clutter free.
What to eat?
We move down to the ground and first floor which houses the restaurants. The Urban Cafe does the bulk of the work of the hotel catering to its several guests. Urban Cafe is host to a plethora on international and Indian cuisines. Hyatt Regency Chandigarh also hides another surprise. With Chef Antonio Chirieleison at the helm, Piccante is the only restaurant with serves authentic South Italian food in town. Right next to the Piccante is Stage. With a plethora of cocktails and a winery that boasts of quite a few selections, Stage sits at the top of the most beautiful bars in Delhi NCR.
How to relax?
Done with food, its time for some relaxation and rejuvenation at Amaira Spa & Club. With a fully stocked gym that runs 24 hours along with a spa which has 4 single and one couple therapy rooms, Amaira makes sure you are at your peaky best for the day.
Hyatt Regency Chandigarh is a perfect place to stay and relax in Chandigarh. There is some wonderful Italian food and cocktails that you will not forget soon.
The winters aren’t freezing in India anymore and the Bengali in me wants to get out and do something magical. Beaches are something that Bengalis and Indians enjoy a lot. But the way we enjoy it is hilarious. Bengali men with all their put bellies and jangias(underwear) in a glorious display jump and frolic around on the beaches. But, with the feminist anti body shaming movement gathering force, the same should be applicable for us. We, as Bengali men should be allowed to display our bellies, chest hair and unfit physique with pride. But with most of the Indian beaches visited, I chose the Jordan side of the Dead Sea this time around.
Why Dead Sea?
Dead Sea is dead literally. This landlocked sea receives water from a number of rivers. With the water having no outflow, it evaporates leaving behind salt. The saline concentration in the Dead Sea is about ten times that of normal seawater. This makes it impossible for any living organisms to grow. The landlocked Jordan Rift Valley is a beauty to behold with salt deposits and lime stone making a natural architecture. This transports you to another world altogether. But even with so much of natural beauty, the main reason we chose Dead Sea is because of it’s mineral deposits. The mud on the shores of the sea and the high mineral content are extremely good for your skin and health.
How to get there?
Being a middle class Bengali, we booked a half day trip from the capital city of Amman. An hour’s drive away, the day trip encompasses a Lunch and services at Movenpick Resort & Spa. After lunch, you can spend time doing anything you feel like doing followed by a trip back to Amman in the evening. My trip cost about JD 150(INR 15,000). I traveled to Amman by Air Arabia.
What I did at the Dead Sea?
After tucking in a lunch of Jordanian food, I jumped onto the beach with a load of the clay mud. Not only was I going to rub it all over my face, but also over my belly, arms and legs. It’s a bit difficult scrubbing through the hair but in the end I looked like a pig who had enjoyed his time in the mud. I jumped into the clear water of the Dead Sea. Although my swimming skills are are quite intact but you can easily float around in the Dead Sea. Do not try to do the traditional swimming techniques as the water here is saline beyond imagination. It will only need a bit of it going into your mouth to start retching.
We truly enjoyed bobbing like a cork on the Dead Sea observing the natural beauty around me. There is an amalgamation of white and brown against the blue horizon which I will never forget. Being a Bengali, a post prandial somnolence is my birthright. The same happened while being immersed in the water as I almost dozed off for 5-10 minutes before Snigdha shook me awake.
We headed back to Amman in the evening after having a time of our lives. The Dead Sea is a perfect place to rejuvenate and visit a water body in a totally new way. Do tell us your favourite place in Jordan.
All pictures are courtesy of Visit Jordan.
Night market is a market which usually start up at dusk and continue until midnight. These markets are generally dedicated to more leisurely strolling, shopping, and eating than more businesslike day markets.
Taiwanese markets started off as local markets in urban sites. They were limited to street corners in and around the temple premises. These markets just sold handicrafts and traditional medicines and were not known to be prosperous until after World War II. Starting from the 50’s till the 80’s, the market settlement spread across the city’s edges into the new sub-hubs and manufacturing areas. Now the night markets could be even found in the provincial towns. Over the years Taiwanese markets have transformed from small local gatherings to a noisy street lined up with sellers, where one could find a full range of merchandise even in the remote areas.
So to truly share my experience with the local food, culture and history. I take you on a tour of my top five night markets.
Huaxi St. Night Market
WHAT: My first pick would be Huaxi St. Night Market. It’s the first Tourist Night Market in Taiwan. With historical meaning and surroundings, Huaxi St. offers the best of Taiwan. Come here to savor the authentic Taiwanese dishes. What makes Huaxi St. market unique is the stores selling snakes. Based on the beliefs of ancient Chinese, snakes are a healthy source of food and are considered very nourishing to the human body. I went ahead with a brave heart and no mind at all to taste the traditional snake cuisines. It was astonishing to see snakes being served in soups, wine and also as a medicine at some stores. I got to witness live snakes from time to time down the street stores. Some of the snake stores even perform snake shows to attract tourists.
WHEN: Mon-Sun 16:00 – 24:00
WHERE: Huaxi St.Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan
HOW: Take MRT to Longshan Temple MRT Station directly.
Read our Guide of Taiwanese food.
Shilin Night Market
WHAT: Shilin Night Market is not only the most mainstream Taipei night market for the locals but also is a must-visit Taipei touristy attraction. Most of the shops are housed in the indoor enclosure. Shilin Night Market is Taipei’s largest and one of the most popular night markets for a wide array of authentic Taiwan eateries and fashionable clothing that one should not miss on their Taiwan travel. Although it’s a street style market but its design provides you with comfortable space to loiter around to enjoy a memorable Taiwan experience.
WHEN: Mon-Sun 11:00 am to -02:00 am
WHERE: Wenlin Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan
HOW: Take Taipei MRT-Danshui Line to MRT Jiantan Station
Tainan Flowers Night Market
WHAT: Unlike Taipei, Tainan night markets are open only on three days a week. Tainan market is where I experienced nonstop eating. With a wide array of Taiwan snacks like stinky tofu, grilled seafood to Korean spicy rice cake Japanese takoyaki and sushi. For me, it was indeed a food marathon. From all the hogging in massive food stalls, I went on to explore the numerous game stalls available including pinball, dart shooting, hoopla, basketball shooting and many others. Tainan offers an excellent venue for families and friends to play and shed all the calories from all the street food.
WHEN: Every Thursday, Saturday,& Sunday 18:00 to 23:30
WHERE: Sec. 3 Hainn Rd, Tainan City, Taiwan
HOW: Take a bus from Tainan Train Station to Tainan Flowers Night market
The Miaokou Night Market
WHAT: Situated near the sea, Miaokou night market is located in downtown area and is especially rich in seafood. Crab Thick Soup and Fried Noodles are a must try here. Compared to the other night markets in Taiwan, the Keelung Miaokou Night Market is relatively small. Although everything you expect to buy in the market is available here at a bargain price. It was surprising to find the streets bustling with locals buying their dailies at wee hours of the morning. So as suggested by the locals I went to pick some souvenirs for my friends and families at a bargain price.
WHEN: Mon-Sun 17:00 Pm to -03:00 Am
WHERE: Ai 4th Rd, Ren-ai, Keelung City, Taiwan
HOW: Walk east straight from Keelung railway station, following the harbor in the direction of the Keelung Harbor Bureau.
Tonghua Street Night Market
WHAT: As the night fell, the street is vividly crowded with shoppers and gourmet lovers. The neon signs that line the streets of Tonghua make it loud and attractive to the shoppers. It’s one of the busiest street markets in central Taipei. You’ll not only get to experience exotic delicacies of Taiwan but also Malaysian and Japanese. The market, in particular attracts people of all age groups. The young ones like me come here for fashionable clothing, while the families come for daily goods and delicious foods. There’s a big central islet which has various vendors, selling everything from fresh fruits to fried chicken feet and braised duck tongue for the brave hearts.
WHEN: Mon-Sun 3:00 Pm to -02:00 am
WHERE: Linjiang St. Datun District, Taipei City, Taiwan
HOW: Take Taipei MRT-Wenhu Line to MRT Liuzhangli Station
Taiwanese night markets are a Taiwanese experience celebrating the rich cultural diversity and heritage of Taiwan that is not to be missed.
Image Credits: Taiwan Tourism Bureau