This is the place to find out about all the latest travel news around India, including luxury holidays, new hotels around the subcontinent, shopping and restaurants that India Beat have been trying out. It is written by Bertie and Victoria Dyer who have won the Condé Naste Top Travel Specialist Award every year since 2008. We have also been recommended by Harper’s Bazaar as “The Experts” when it comes to holidays in India. The blog will also include articles and photoshoots that India Beat have been working on around India. Please feel free to send us your comments and let us know if there is anything you would like to hear about.
India Beat recently visited Ranvas and loved the calm beauty of the hotel. The former royal zenana (queen’s apartments) of this massive fort have been renovated to create a superb hotel. Amazingly, beyond the hotel walls the whole fort is painstakingly being restored and archeologists work on the restoration throughout the year. It’s fascinating to walk out of your room and straight into an archeological project, the scale of the work is breathtaking and the quality of the craftsmanship that is bringing this spectacular palace fort back to life is extraordinary. India Beat can arrange for guests to have a private tour of the restoration work with the curator of the Mehrangarh Trust who is responsible for the restoration work. Back at the hotel we relaxed by the pool and feasted on the delicious Indian food, for anyone interested in history, Rajput culture and beautiful architecture this is a true paradise.
For over 20 years the residents of Khichan village in the Phalodi district of Rajasthan have been welcoming demoiselle cranes from October to March. Each night volunteers spread 2000 kilos of barley around the enclosed feeding area. At dawn feeding begins and 10000 cranes descend on the village. The birds take turns, queuing up by the thousand to eat their fill. Feeding goes on all morning, once the cranes have eaten they take to the air by the hundred and land on the nearby lake. Any space in the feeding area is quickly filled by the thousands of patient cranes waiting their turn! India Beat visited on the way to Ranvas from Jaisalmer and snapped these photos.
Six years ago Ranthambhore was in crisis, poachers had decimated the tiger population and only 16 tigers survived in the park. Since then Tiger Watch amongst others have been working hard to make the Mongia tribe who live around the park and are responsible for the majority of the poaching, aware that the tigers and tourism can provide a sustainable income and a better future for the tribe. Through employment and eduction initiatives poaching has been stopped in its tracks and the tigers have thrived. 51 tigers now live in the park and there are 4 mothers with cubs. Tigers are even being relocated to Sariska National Park to ease pressure on Ranthambhore’s resources. It’s an incredible success story and over 90% of India Beat clients now see a tiger when visiting Ranthambhore. Yesterday we were lucky enough to see Nur and her cub Sultan playing. Here are Bertie’s pictures, enjoy!
Conde Nast Traveler’s readers have voted the Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, Rajasthan the 15th best hotel in the world making it the number one hotel in India! Rajvilas and Vanyavilas in Jaipur and Ranthambhore also made it into the top 100. Congratulations to the amazing staff at Oberoi!
In the September issue of Condé Nast Traveler, Klara Glowczewska, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, remembers the time we spent together in Jaipur with Munnu Kasliwal of the Gem Palace as one of her favorite travel memories:
My Royal Moment
The diamonds were the size of small hen’s eggs, and there were four long strands of them clasped together. I was wearing $2 million around my neck. “These look good with a T-shirt and jeans,” Gem Palace co-owner Munnu Kasliwal suggested as I stared in addled disbelief at my reflection in the mirror. I’ll say.
The table in front of us was strewn casually with countless other private-vault-worthy pieces—the kind of stuff that anywhere but here would not be brought out without a highly visible (and heavily armed) security detail. We’d just walked through rooms where craftsmen sat amid little plastic bags filled with aquamarines, citrines, sapphires, amethysts, rubies, peridots, emeralds, and more, fitting them into rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets.
I didn’t have $2 million to drop, but I still walked out of Gem Palace—jeweler to maharajas and royals from around the world since 1852 and a must-stop on any Indian trip—with not just a lesson in the craft and culture of fine Indian jewelry-making but also plenty of consolation prizes. A blue topaz ring in 24-karat brushed gold, along with matching earrings and three pairs of chandelier earrings, set me back just a few hundred dollars each. And if nothing suits perfectly in the downstairs shop of ready-made pieces, you can pick your stone and choose a setting (matte or shiny, thin or thick, rounded or oval) and collect the finished product a few hours later, all tied up in the Gem Palace’s signature little maroon cloth bag—it’s India’s answer to Tiffany blue (M. I. Rd.; 91-141-237-4175).
–KLARA GLOWCZEWSKA, EDITOR IN CHIEF, AT CNT SINCE 1987
Since publishing this entry Munnu has very sadly passed away. We send our love and best wishes to the family, Munnu was an inspiration to us all.
The September issue of Harper’s Bazaar is now out and India Beat are proud to see one of our favourite Rajasthan holidays featured by Catherine Fairweather in the article “Fields of Gold.”
India Beat went to check out the new Leela in Delhi last week. We loved the mix of architectural motifs that evoke Delhi’s colonial history and the incredibly luxurious interiors. Lunch at the Qube was superb and after a look around the rooms and a drink by the pool we decided Delhi has a new contender for best hotel. Personally we still love the ambiance and history of the Imperial but if you want up to the minute luxury with out feeling like you are in a business hotel the Leela is the place to be. For bookings and other ideas in Delhi contact India Beat.
“Winner of the Condé Nast Top Travel Specialist Award for the last few years, you are in good hands with Victoria and Bertie at India Beat. They offer a unique insight into India and have a reliable team to help you with tours all over India.”
To visit their website and buy the new guide book click here.
India Beat travelled to Ellora and found such an extraordinary temple that you have to ask the question: is this place real? Carved over a period of more than 100 years the main Kailasa temple, wasn’t built but instead was sculpted from the roof down out of a solid basalt mountain.
Bertie and Victoria Dyer of India Beat have won the Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist Award for the fourth year in a row! Here’s what Condé Nast Traveler had to say about us in the December 2011 edition of the magazine:
Flexible, energetic, and dead honest, the Dyers are Brits who are enjoying a long love affair with India and who have a particular knowledge of Rajasthan, the temple- and art-rich region in the country’s north. They rarely outsource any of the trip-planning process to local agencies, allowing them to pass the savings along to their clients. The duo will appeal most to those who want to get outside the luxury hotel bubble and experience more of the real India. In Jaipur, Victoria leads clients on a shopaholic’s dream tour, into the local gem markets and through the city’s best jewelry and silk boutiques
For more information about this award click here.
Condé Nast Traveler magazine is also on Facebook
Browse other articles: