Holidays for Couples Holidays for Couples Apr-Sep 2017 - Page 47

india // asia “Rajasthan is a land of vibrant colour, regal palaces and magnificent forts... its colours no more evident than on the streets of Jodhpur” Opposite page: (Left) Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. (Top right) For obvious reasons, Jodhpur is also known as ‘the blue city‘. (Bottom right) Once a palace , the imposing Mehrangarh Fort is now a museum. This page: (Top) A man smokes a hookah. (Right) Dancers entertain onlookers in front of the Mehrangarh Fort a pre-dinner G&T. It also affords a dramatic view of the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest and most spectacular in India. With foundations dating back to 1459, it sits atop a 125m-high cliff-edged hill. Rudyard Kipling wrote of it, “the work of angels, fairies and giants... built by Titans and coloured by the morning sun…” It’s a fitting description. Leaving Jodhpur we headed south-east for the three-hour drive to our next destination, the luxury tented camp, Chhatra Sagar (chhatrasagar.com). In the late 19th century, a powerful nobleman decided to dam a seasonal stream flowing through his estate. By the early 20th century it was a lush green oasis and the waterway was lined with a temporary tented camp where visiting dignitaries would gather for high teas and exotic dinners. A century later, the nobleman’s great- grandchildren have once again turned this oasis into a sanctuary for travellers looking for a unique experience. Forget camping, this is glamping at its best. Eleven luxury tents sit alongside the dam, sharing the same magical view across the water. Each tent is hand-stitched, the interiors block-printed in traditional floral motifs and filled with locally produced furniture. They’re insanely spacious, with a large bathroom and private outdoor seating area from which to view the golden sunrise. Great-grandsons, Harsh, Raj and Nandi, are wonderful hosts who take their guests birdwatching in the surrounding wetlands and to visit the local village. Morphing into maître d’, sommelier and waiters at mealtimes (serving excellent home-cooked food and surprisingly good Indian wine), they made our short stay at Chhatra Sagar truly memorable. And after the chaos and noise of Old Delhi and Jodhpur, this one-night stop in the countryside, where we were able to bond with fellow travellers on similar journeys, was a tonic to the soul. Driving in India is not for the faint-hearted. Barrelling down the new highway for three hours to our next destination, the village of Chanoud, we passed dozens of trucks labouring under heavy loads, motor bikes carrying three or four people, and even a shepherd, casually walking his herd of goats holidaysforcouples.travel 45