Warm and fresh
By Sylvie Berthiaume
Modern comfort in the "Boutique" Hotels
New Delhi - The Sai Miracle: Well located in the city center near the train and subway stations, easy to access from the airport, and to serve as a point of departure toward the main tourist attractions. The hotel is comfortable, clean with middle scale modern facilities, and includes the benefits of a middle size. The staff is very friendly and attentive to your needs. In addition, room service is available at any time.
Jaipur - The Pratap Bawhan Homestay: A rich and solid family home with some rooms in its main building as well as a large suite in a small adjoining bungalow. Each of the rooms has its own specific decor and its particular colors. The walls are decorated with professional photos of wild animals taken by the owner. The home is very personalized by the smiling owner and staff, to make your stay as pleasing as it can. Breakfast is made to measure according to your tastes, and just in time, when you notify the night before. Do you want it à 7:00? Or 8:15? It is that precise.
And a second hotel, because of the lack of availability in the first one for the whole stay - The Welcome Heritage Traditional Haveli: Here too, great comfort and service although less personal and more professional, and beautiful generosity at the western-oriental buffet for breakfast. Some suites, including the entirely white one, are absolutely spectacular.
Jodhpur - The Kothi Heritage: Large and magnificent 28 rooms-home transformed into a small hotel of 18 rooms, managed by the son of the 5th generation. The house was built by the great-great- grand-father who was Chief of the army, thus second official to the Maharaja of the time. Everywhere in the hotel, there are artifacts, traditional, comfortable and colorful furniture from different eras.
What is most interesting is that the rooms are located on different levels, nooks and terraces of different dimensions. The decors of the rooms combine old and contemporary elements, including very beautiful batik textiles and carved wood furniture, while the equipment in the bathroom are very trendy.
These four hotels are very recommendable, for their location, service, cleanliness, bedding, bathrooms, breakfasts, security - and free Wifi - The rates have proved to be quite reasonable, between 35 and $50 per night, per room.
Blue, pink or multi-colored : The ancient homes
Jodhpur - Blue City: The blue houses can be seen mostly from above - on a hill or on the terrace of a nearby fort - or while walking on small streets and alleys and looking at the second floors, because at street level there are only shops. The scarcity indeed always adds value to things and experiences.
It should be noted that some houses feature a dark blue, while others are paler… It is because the dark blue is the one of the elite, therefore of the brahmins. The pale blue, consequently, is the color reserved for members of the lower castes.
But what are the reasons that have prompted the people to paint their houses in blue? Because blue is considered to be the color of the kings, of heaven and of the gods. Also because it is an insect repellent, and it keeps the interior cool.
Jaipur - Pink City: Here, the gates of the city center and all the buildings that are constructed within it, including the houses above the shops are painted in a rich pink color, often decorated with delicate white patterns. This color is completely uniform, under a law dating back to 1877.
The authentic history is that the Maharajah of the time, Sawai Ram Singh II, wanted to attract and impress King Albert during his visit of several months in India. Pink, a symbol of hospitality, was chosen and kept everafter because it pleased enormously the wife of the Maharaja. The recipe of the color also has the advantage of not getting easily dirty or damaged by weather and pollution.
Mandawa – Multi-colored City: The art and history of India are exposed in frescoes painted on the interior and exterior walls of 96 havelis, that are the former small palaces of wealthy merchants and caravan leaders. Today, they are houses for many families or transformed into small hotels.
The frescoes illustrate, the time of the Maharajas, then of the caravans with their elephants and camels, followed by the colonial English period, with bicycles, first automobiles and bank signs.
Mandawa is a fortress and a small city, located in the region of Shekhawati, approximately 190 km north of Jaipur. It is in Mandawa that is found the largest concentration of havelis so well painted, but we can also see some in other villages in the region.
In the center of the city, we note a few houses with very small sculpted windows, behind which the prostitutes called their caravan customers to join.
To get to Mandawa, it is necessary to book a private guide-driver or a driver which will be joined by a guide when arriving at Mandawa. A full day must be dedicated to this tour, which is also pleasant as it takes us out of the urban frenzy to admire the Indian country and to discover the daily rural life.
The region is rightly nicknamed "The Open Sky Gallery".