India Journals



Day o' Kashmir Trekking

Let the Indian Wedding
Festivities Begin

Day of Frustration Turns Into a
Night of Luxury

'What Would Buddha Do?' in

Last Day in Varanasi

'Khajuraho No Good Place
Without Boyfriend'



Failing Miserably on my 'Room

First Stop in Goa - Panaji

Bollywood - Take Two

In the Wildernest in Goa

Some Goan Coast at Candolim

Further South at Palolem Beach

The Road to Bangalore

My Day in Bengaluru


A Hill Station Called Ooty

Chugging Along on the Ooty Toy

Last Stop in India - Cochin

Om Shanty Om

Indian Wedding


Khajuraho, Orchha and Bhopal


Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty and
Links relating to
my trip

Perfume Gardens - Houseboat on
Nagreen Lake in Srinagar.

Hyatt Regency New Delhi - Does it
get better than staying on the club
level here while in Delhi? For us it
didn't ($450/night).

Hotel Pradeep - Good location and
nice rooms in Varanasi (1400
rupees for a double).

Hotel Surya - Absolutely wonderful
service and location in Khajuraho.
And the rooms are excellent value
for what you get (750 rupees/night
for a double deluxe room)!

Orchha Resort - I decided to splash
out a bit and stay someone above
average (2500 rupees). Nice to
have a reception area,
pool/gardens and a nice bathroom.

Jehan Numa Palace - Amazing
piece of luxury in Bhopal in the
middle of my India travels (final
bill for 3 nights and countless spa
treatments was 12,500 rupees!).  

Panjim Inn - Great place with
character in Panaji, Goa.

Wildernest Resort - Absolutely
incredible piece of peace and
serenity out in the Goan hills.

Om Sai Guesthouse - Basic room
with AC at Palolem Beach.

Hotel Empire International - Good
location in Bangalore.

Hotel Savoy - Relaxing place up in
the hills of Ooty where you can
have a fire in your room and take a
bubble bath.

Other Links:

Sunny's - Excellent atmosphere and
western-style menu in Bangalore.

Ploof - One of my favorite
restaurants in New Delhi.

Nirula - (12, Doctors Lane, New
Delhi) - This is where we bought
our saris.

Nik-Nax - Wonderful shop in
Srinagar that sells beautiful shawls.

Mughal Darbar - One of the best
restaurants in Srinagar. Also has a
really good bakery.

Moti Mahal Delux - Surprisingly,
this is in a mall. But everything
about this restaurant was on par
with a good restaurant at home.

Places in Fort Cochin: Teapot,
Kashi Art Cafe, Malabar Hotel
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My Indian Experience...

Highs: Attending an Indian marriage; the peacefulness of the mountains and lakes of Kashmir; cute
children saying 'hello!'; having hot water on our houseboat; private boat rides on the Ganges in
Varanasi; the temples at Khajuraho; unexpected place called Orchha; pampering myself beyond belief
at my hotel for 3 nights in Bhopal; riding 1st class/AC on the Shatabdi Express to Bhopal; my stay at
the Wildernest Resort in Goa; Agonda Beach in Goa.

Lows: Seeing sheep practically butchered at our doorstep; driving all over Delhi; the sounds of
blaring horns; lots of spitting taking place; smells of latrine action; frustration of dealing with
rickshaw-wallahs (not all of the time...but most of the time); overnight bus ride in something far from
what I would call 'deluxe' (as that's how they put it to me).

Best Moment: I truly can't come up with just one. Attending an Kashmiri wedding was a
once-in-a-lifetime experience. But being on the Ganges in Varanasi during sunrise had such a
fascinating appeal. And then there were all those spa treatments and absolute bliss in Bhopal. And I
can't forget about my time up at the Wildernest Resort...

Craziest Moment: Seeing a dead baby floating in the Ganges River in Varanasi (as babies are
seen as holy so they aren't burned first). We still don't know why rocks weren't tied to the baby so
that it sank. Another one was watching a shooting of a scene of a Bollywood movie and watching a cow
dressed in his marigold garlands run away from its handlers.

Smells: The smell of burning things; street food; urine (gross but true); spa-like smells; incense.

Sounds: Horns blaring; animals; prayer call; Diwali festivities (firecrackers, etc.); Bollywood music;
Kashmiri songs and music; fireworks and firecrackers; "Why not?" when you ask a question - that is
their way of saying 'yes'; birds and insects at night from my cottage at the Wildernest Resort; the
ocean in Goa.

Sights: Mountains in Kashmir; Delhi streets; Nagreen Lake in Srinigar; an Indian wedding; the
body of a dead baby in the Ganges River in Varanasi; cremations at two ghats in Varanasi; Sarnath -
the birthplace of Buddhism; Khajuraho temples; fort in Orchha (50 rupees); a rainforest; Candolim
Beach in Goa, cows on the beach; Chinese fishing nets.

Tastes: Daal; kofta; curries; masalas; grilled lamb; saag (spinach); dosas; momos; paneer; Kashmiri
apples and apple juice; palak paneer; naan; Italian food in Khajuraho! (pizza and pasta); lassis; beyond
amazing Mediterranean food at my hotel in Bhopal; sheesha (does that count as a 'taste'?); Goan fish
curry; tropical fruit in Goa; upma; some tasty sweets for Diwali; cheese-garlic naan (yum!); paneer
tikka pizza from Pizza Hut; uttapam; homemade (and excellent!) chocolate up in Ooty; Hide & Seek

Activities: Pre-sunrise boat ride in the Nagreen Lake to see the vegetable market; day-trek in the
mountains in Kashmir; a wedding and all of its events; Panna Tiger Reserve (500 rupees); many spa
treatments in Bhopal; seeing two Bollywood movies; Ayurvedic spa treatments; motorbike tour of

Purchases: A sari ($65); garnet necklace ($18); jade necklace ($20), sandstone earrings ($2);
silver ring ($2); Kashmiri wool shawl ($20); shirt with a Ganesh-like ellie on it ($.50); Kashmiri bag; a
silk duvet cover with pillow and cushion covers ($53) and an excellent quality pashmina ($39) in
Varanasi (city known for silk); a 'What Would Buddha Do?' book (under $4); a Kama Sutra book
(while in Khajuraho) - $1; a Ganesh pendant ($2.50); A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Namesake
(reproduced books sold on the street); lots of Ayurveda products; 7 Bollywood CDs.

Street Food: Curries; tandoori; fried puffs; ice cream; lassis; Kashmiri bread; fruit; peanuts with
onions, spices and lemon juice.

Western Companies Out Here: McDonald's; Ruby Tuesday; Domino's; Pizza Hut; Baskin
Robbins; Esprit; Marks & Spencer.

Other General Info...

Visa needed? Yes. I got this in San Francisco.

Type of currency? Indian rupee. $1 equals about 40 rupees.

Things India Is Known For: Bollywood; spices; Hinduism; yoga; Delhi Belly; holy cows; Taj
Mahal; monsoons; tigers.

Religion: Hindu is the major religion. The others include Islam, Christianity, Sikh, Buddhist,
Jainism and Parsi.

Language: There are at least 18 different languages in this country. The main one is Hindi. I also
experienced Malayalam when I was in Kerala.

Costs: $2800
October 20 - November 20, 2007
Man praying near the holy Ganges in Varanasi.
Local women on the Goan beach.
Me and my hennaed hands.