Monday, October 29, 2012

Ruby Tuesday 2 - The Pause That Refreshes - October 30, 2012

Ah, the chai wallah provides that blissful break to those all over India for 
mid morning and mid afternoon respite, accented by aromatic spices, strong
rea, sweetened milk. 

I am participating in Ruby Tuesday 2!

Post your red photo and brighten our world.

Mellow Yellow Monday #197 - Bright Yellow Bananas - October 29, 2012

All over Jaiper, street vendor carts have all sorts of wonderful things for sale -
from brightly colored fruits, old familiar favorites to exotic kinds like the custard
apple ( also known as the bullock's heart or Buddha fruit ), guava, and star fruit.
Vegetable carts are piled high with various chilis from mild to fiery hot, luscious
tomatoes, little round eggplants diifferent from those at home, okra or bindi as 
it's known in Hindi, and many types of squashes and salad items,  In town, 
vendors spread their wares out on the busy road side, sitting next to each other
on the ground so they can pass the hours, chatting, when no customers 
are around.

I am participating in Mellow Yellow Monday, #197 -
show us your yellow and join in the fun.

Congratulations are in order to the outstanding 

I never could see a game here in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India but, thanks to Yahoo Sports, I could follow them all, play by play and it was still pretty exciting.  I won't get home till the
16th of November, after a five month stay here, but, rest assured, I will be toasting my
home team tonight with my Indian friends who are much more into cricket than baseball.
They are sweet to humor my enthusiasm, though.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Flash 55 - Orange October - October 26, 2012


While I really do love India,
 I cannot seem to find,
One game of Giant's baseball,
And I'm about to lose my mind.

Even ESPN has failed me, 
No games live or on the news,
Even if they were Hindi,
I wouldn't have the blues.

3 weeks - I'm coming back...
Another series, Orange & Black!

Copyright (c) 2012 October  by Carmen Henesy 
All rights reserved. 

I am participating in Friday Flash 55.
the brainchild of that debonair, charming G-Man.
Join the fun.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mellow Yellow Monday #196 - An Indian Lady - October 22, 2012

When I was visiting Dr. Galundia in Jaipur the other day, this lovely lady came in,
wearing a pink and yellow sari.  I asked if I might take her photograph and she
agreed.  I thought it was perfect for Mellow Yellow Monday and she gave me her
permission to use it.  She had such a sweet face - though she might  not have
been feeling well.

An Indian blogger and friend, Indrani, has a wonderful series, called "Faces 
of India" which I'm sure you would enjoy -

I am participating in Mellow Yellow Monday, #196 -
add your bit of yellow and join in the fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday 2 - Jaipur Pig - October 21, 2012

While out riding in an auto-rickshaw yesterday, I came across a whole group of piggies
of every size.  This one was perfect for shadow shot, under the trees, with the leaf
shadows on her.  

I am participating in Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Add your photograph and join in the fun!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Consider Brunch for Lunch and Leave Happy - October 15, 2012

My return to the ITC Rajputana on Sunday was a total delight.  I could hear soft echoes 
of my son, Jeremy, somewhere in the background, saying, "Mom,watch it.  You've lost 
thirty pounds during your two visits to India.  You could do some damage in one brunch."  Oh", I replied, mentally, "but what a way to go!"

I met Nadeem Khan about 12:30PM and we headed over toward the Jal Mahal 
Restaurant. The Sunday brunch operates between the hours of 12:30P and 3P and 
has a huge variety of foods - Continental, Indian, Chinese - salads and breads.  The 
cost is 1000 rupees plus taxes and the price of beverages.  It is well worth the splurge.  
Go hungry so you can really enjoy all the beautiful temptations.

We were the first persons there as I wanted to take some photographs before the crowd
arrived.  Chef Parul Kapoor met us at the lobby bar where a few appetizers were set out 
for early guests who waited for the buffet setup to be completed.

Sipping a lovely Jacob's Creek Australian chardonnay

The ever smilng Nadeen Khan sipping what looks like a very refreshing mojito. 
That reminds me of my cruising days aboard Royal Caribbean ships.

As always, beautiful flowers are everywhere and I must photograph them!

The Jal Mahal dining room with Nadeem Khan and a staff member

Before we dined, Chef Kapoor gave us a personal tour of the buffet, explaining
the various dishes, their ingredients and I took a number of photographs, growing
more ravenous by the minute.  I didn't see any egg dishes but I was clear that was NOT
what I was after anyway.

The array of choices was endless

I skipped this section.

Here, again, is the lovely Chef Kapoor, still slim.  She doesn't look like most of the chefs
with whom I am acquainted.

Staff ready and waiting for the hungry diners

I should have had my notebook with me as Chef Kapoor was showing us about the
buffet line because, looking back at the pictures, I can't recall what everything was.
Some of the items were  arranged in regional specialties and I believe these were
Rajasthani dishes.

This look good but I don't recall if it was a meat dish or a dessert.  I must return!

Moong Dal Halwa, a delicious Indian dessert

Sweet pakoras

Wonderful tarts with tropical fruits

This beautiful coconut creation was low calorie or something of that nature

Some sort of pumpkin muffin

Chef Kapoor and Nadeem Khan, posing for me

Nadeem Khan, ever smiling

Instead of going through the buffet line, the waiters offered to bring me an assortment
of the day's choices.  That sounded wonderful to me and the delights began. It was
especially nice because I didn't get too full and I got to sample a bit of nearly 

Delicious lamb with mint and tamarind sauces

An fabulous vegetable crab crepe with basil tomato sauce

We were joined frequently by Jal Mahal manager, Aman

Such a lovely restaurant

Indian art throughout the restaurant

I wouldn't like to clean these chandeliers!

Deep fried dumpling, black lentil yoghurt, river fish, lamb shish kebab

This was my favorite dish of all - a cold spiced lamb dish - a salad, I think, with red 
onions.It was crunchy and crispy, kind of sweet and sour, quite spicy and out of this

Delicious chicken salad

Wonderful spicy Indian vegetables

The grand finale to my brunch - a fabulous tart with tropical fruits!

It was a wonderful meal start to finish.  I've had such a problem, though, completing this
blog, especially downloading the pictures.  With several of them, I've been thinking, "Oh,
goodness, I should have had seconds on this!  Of course, there is ALWAYS next Sunday.
I meant to ask Chef Kapoor how often the brunch menu changes!

The website for the ITC Rajputana Hotel is:

Monday, October 15, 2012

An Oasis of Calm and Serenity in Jaipur - October 14, 2012

Somewhere about the time I passed the half century mark, I decided birthdays should 
be celebrated for at least a month.  For my 64th and 65th birthdays, I did 12-day 
Mediterranean cruises and spent a few days each in the European ports where the
cruises began.  I celebrated substantially in the intervening years and, for my 68th
birthday, October 3rd, I was here in Jaipur, with three birthday cakes, no less. I, recently,
had a call from a genleman who identified himself as Nadeem Khan of ITC Rajputana,
a Luxury Collection Hotel, and he invited me for cocktails at the property.  At first, I 
thought it must be a crank call.  Mr. Khan said he had read some of my blogs on the
internet and he felt I might be inspired to write about ITC Rajputana if I saw it.  I told
him I wrote my true opinions only.  He laughed and told me he wasn't worried.

On Thursday evening, October 11, I took an auto-rickshaw over to ITC Rajputana.
There, in all his splendor, was a handsome, tall, turbaned, moustached doorman
with a welcoming smile on his face.  Beside him was an equally handsome, clean
shaven young man who said, "You must be Carmen."  He, too, had an amazing
smile.  I noticed that, everywhere I went at ITC Rajputana, staff smiled a lot, not
with forced artificial smiles but with smiles that seemed to come from within as if they
really liked their work.

I've seen a few of these handsome gentlemen welcoming guests at hotels in India

With Nadeem Khan, Manager, Thikana Suites and Rajputan Royale
and the ITC Rajputana doorman

Beautiful floral arrangements are everywhere as one would expect in a
five star hotel.  They are splendid.

This was my first view of the inner courtyard with its spacious grounds and lovely swimming pool.  You instantly feel the serene peace and elegance.  I was amazed that no one
was using the swimming pool but, of course, Jaipur is a very historic Indian city and
day long excursion are quite common.

ITC Rajputana, with its 218 rooms, is one of Jaipur's larger hotel properties but
one never gets a sense of crowding or noise.  The "haveli" concept of the old
mansions of India and Pakistan built around around a central courtyard lends 
itself to a feeling of privacy.

With my delightful host, Nadeem Khan, in front of that tempting pool

Even in mid-October, Jaipur temperatures are still warm enough, in the evening, for a swim

It is so beautiful here

I had my kurta outfit made here in Jaipur.

Nadeem shows his hotel with so much pride - and, why shouldn't he?

Cocktails at the lovely lobby bar.  At last, a vodka martini, just as I like it ( they are
hard to come by at many places in Jaipur ).  I was SO happy.

Ah, perfection...the vodka martini - not me

The first of a parade of lovely treats

Chicken, lamb and lentil with mint sauce

A feast, ITC Rajputana style.  While we were having cocktails, general manager, Sunil
Gupta, joined us for a chat.  It was such an honor meeting him.  I can't believe I
failed to get a photograph!

Beautiful chef, Parul Kapoor

Rajasthani dancer - the hotel has nightly entertainment

I love having all these photos with Nadeem - I'm making my girlfriends jealous!

The lobby bar with the view into the Jal Mahal restaurant

This young man was playing the sitar outside Peshawari Restaurant which specializes
in barbecued specialties of West frontier.  Their specialty is a large selection of 
wonderful kebabs, both vegetarian and non- vegetarian and mouth watering Indian

Our last stop of the evening was at Nadeem Khan's "favorite place" - the Kaya Kalp
spa.  This incredibly beautiful retreat is the ultimate respite for healing and soothing 
the senses, utilizing both Indian, ancient and modern, and Western treatment modalities.
The lovely aromas and the soft music left me feeling relaxed and indulged, with just a
visual walk through.  I would love to experience Kaya Kalp pampering.

Absolutely beautiful!

 Intricate and lovely carvings on the walls

Everywhere, one sees lovely bowls of rose petals

The spa registration desk

Some of the aromatic oils in use at Kaya Kelp Spa

Sitting with Nadeem in one of the Kaya Kalp treatment rooms

And, of course, flowers are everywhere!

The ayurvedic treatment room

Heading home - the end to a lovely evening

A final stop to listen to some India music - I'd feel sad but I'm coming back to brunch on 
Sunday.  I'd better diet until then!

To be continued after Sunday brunch.....

Website for the ITC Rajputana is: