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Jaisalmer Under The Million Stars

Under the colorful Jaisalmeri Umbrella - the best way to protect from heat or the rain :) #monsoonmagic

How often do we get to escape the smoldering heat of the day by cooling it under the million stars at night!Not very often,many would say,but to us under our colorful Chhatri which was part of Suryagarh hospitality,were the villages of secretive Thar we were wanting to explore.Alongside were the camels in sync with each other walking ahead and waiting to take us for a ride.

To read previous posts on Suryagarh:
Jodhpur to Jaisalmer Along the Way
Suryagarh Jaisalmer:The luxury of Timelessness

The camel with an attitude

The sky shines bright,while you take me for a ride

"We then,sat on our camels and witnessed a journey solely in the breezy darkness of night,not knowing where our destiny took us.It almost felt like I was part of a caravan of the silk road.The Silk Road which is part of Jaisalmer's history where the goods where bought in by traders from Pakistan.

The path seemed endless,the cameras refused to work at full intensity,the camels almost touch each other by a gap,and this journey went on for another 45 minutes until we stopped by fluttering canopies in a beautiful light arrangement at night in the middle of nowhere.

                                                   There's a certain charm in folk music

The enthusiasm of the small kid took us by surprise.Aged may be not more than 12-13 years he had a voice which clearly spoke volumes about the traditional folk music. Followed by his elder counterparts,we got a chance to listen to and quietly humble along with the 'new to our ears' music of Jaisalmer.

Traditional Community Eating : Kuboos et all

Influenced from the Middle East,yet so Indian

The camel herders of Jaisalmer traditionally eat as a community being served under the same plate.Each of them then eat their potions out of the same plates out of the bare hands.Which is what we did exactly,together and oh the food was heavenly!

While I take a quickie nap...zzzz

There are plenty of options if you are vegetarian but for me being a non-vegetarian was a boon because the meat what you get in this part of Jaisalmer,I haven't tasted anywhere else.For vegetarians,the serving consisted of Kuboos(fermented dough which can last for a couple of weeks),rice topping with palak and corn,kumudia - the local berries made in gravy and the Kachumar salad.For non-vegetarians we had Kuboos,rabbit meat,quill meat and the appetizing gravy.

Kuboos is a popular kind of bread in the middle east,and that itself signifies what the trade brought in.That included food too.

Later in the night we proceeded to hunt for the chudails(witches),which unfortunately disappeared sensing competition by us bloggers who seemed to them more dangerous(ahem ahem).The next posts is about Chudails but before that lets end our posts by a mesmerizing sunset.

The 'then' hunting ground of Kings

I wonder what made the king hunt at such a pristine place
Isn't it romantic?

Due to the migratory birds coming in the lakes of Jaisalmer,in the old days,they were the hunting ground of the kings.Now,in the red tinge of sunset,the folks from Suryagarh arranged a resting ground along with  wine,sushi, fruits and the music.

                                                What a delightful way to end our day!
                                              Follow bloggers who were part of the event
                                     @Shrinidhi @Nisha @Siddharth @Anuradha @Sankara

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Mount Rigi: Switzerland,PhotoEssay

She asked for my Swiss Pass. And then she disappeared. I almost could see her outside, and then I realized whoa the train is running. And she is collecting tickets from the run!

To read my previous posts on Switzerland: Click Here

I think this place is very popular with Indians. I can see them everywhere .So how it started is what I am going to tell you. We transferred from Einsiedeln to Arth-Goldau. Then we took another train from Arth - Goldnau to Vitznau. After which we walked to the valley station of Rigi Bahnen.After which we took the fabulous cog railways .Mount Rigi has more than 120 kms of marked paths and trails and breathtaking 360 degree panorama views and what better than taking you through a quick photo-essay.

View from Mount Rigi,Switzerland:A picture speaks a thousand words,isn't it?

On our return journey to Vitznau by the cogwheel we saw the beautiful scenery ahead.The Lake Lucern.Yes,that was where we were Boating to Lucerne today.

For Coffee Break At Rigi Go To Hotel Rigi Kaltbad

On my journey over the boat on the lake,the beautiful mountains said bye,I could almost feel my heart going away till I realized it’s going to stay as a view from Lucerne. The boat reached to the fountain of Lucerne. And next we talk about Lucerne.

The Cogwheel and The Cruise

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Home to four Ski Jumps since Summer of 2005,Einsiedeln was chosen as a place for both Amateurs and Trained Professionals for training and competitions alike. Costing around 10-12 million Francs to build the whole set-up, they have a beautiful view of the mountain twins Mythen, the village of Einsiedeln, Lake Sihl and Sihl Valley all literally at your feet.
                                                Switzerland All Posts: Click Here     

The Ski Suit of Simon Ammann(twice Olympic Champion)

 Along these mountains is where we have 150 kms of Cross country skiing where the territories are marked. Around the same area, about 10 minutes by car, we also have Alpine Skiing in the winters. In winters since the lake which we could see down after we got into the top is frozen, Skiing is also done there.

The view from the top

Ski Jumps - Technique and Awards

Watch this out, and just guess for a moment, how can this stop if It starts? It isn't sliding down the slant coaster but taking your Skies down effectively.

The Steep Angle

So since the angle which it makes is very very steep, when the participants jump, the water is outrun on the plastic so that they wouldn't burn themselves from mere friction. Apart from that the Skies are waxed and that makes it stay on the little bumps along the way which has to be cleaned from time to time. when the Skiers jump and land somewhere on the plastic, then he is done.

                                                           Three levels of Ski Jumps

There are also Ski slides of beginners who would want to learn. But the competitions too are held on the other slide. For that reason, the towers are built to the right where the judges sit and observe. There are two ways to compare - one that is done electronically and another which is measured by Judges .When they both come to a common judgment, the result is declared. On both side of the Ski Jump is the side walls made of glass .The speed on the in run is 91 kms/hr.

The Ski Jumpers have to be very slim and light weight, and they have to have a minimum BMI of 21 otherwise they cannot use the maximum length of the jump.

They also have to have s special shoe which is attached to the ski and that helps control the speed and direction. The Ski Suit is tight to the body keeping in mind that less air enters so we have a gap of about 2cms from the body to the bodysuit.

                                                                         The Tight Fit

There are long skies which are used.There is a very strong wide line at the bottom, after which if they land and fall before the line, they get deduction of points.

Did you know? Simon Ammann is a Swiss ski jumper and double Olympic Champion at both the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

Einsiedeln - Monastery Church

The pure water

The Way of St. James, St. James's Way, St. James's Path, or St. James's Trail is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great. Since the middle ages ,Einsiedeln has one of the Europe’s most important pilgrimage destinations and has always been an key stage on the trek along St. James Way. The pilgrims primary destination in Einsiedeln is the Gnadenkappelle(Lady Chapel) with its Black Madonna.

The grand monastery church

Build from 1719 to 1735,the gorgeous Baroque architecture is the highlight of the church.
At the basement of the Church is the cemetery of the monks. There are three organs in the church - one from 1740, the other one is with 4000 pipes and the third organ is the one which is played during masses.

Einsiedeln - Abbey Library

The Great Hall is the audience chamber and the only part of the Monastery that can be visited by the public. Treasures from the Monastery are exhibited here. Manuscripts and Books going back to the foundation of the Monastery in the 10th century can be found in the Abbey Library.

Einsiedeln - Finding Jesus

The Panorama (Crucifixion of Christ) is one of the last giant panoramas in existence. The circular painting is 100 metres long and 10 metres high and depicts the town of Jerusalem at the time of Christ and the scene of the Crucifixion. Standing at the Centre of the scenery the visitor is offered an impressive all year view.

Diorama Bethleham is said to the largest Christmas crib in the world which shows the Christmas story from the announcement made to the shepherds to the flight into Egypt.

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I woke up early next morning to be able to witness the outside view through which the little sunshine of dawn was trying to peek in through my room window. Off I went in search of the little unknown to me territory- I have had heard in the introductory speech that we have a pool and a spa and now I was the one waiting to avail one of those. 

The Masakali and Her dove @ Suryagarh
To know what accessories I wore,click here
For previous posts on Suryagarh,click here 

Just then I saw a gate by the center open, and I saw the peacocks were been directed to the dramatic stairs which paved way to the courtyard. There I was in the open space where the Shehnai reverberated with a sweet melody of Bhajans, in what seemed like a rhythmic wake up call. The beauty with which Suryagarh imbibes your needs and adds up their own flavors is personal which is unlike the usual Check - in Check out we do at many places.

The Shortcut from my room backdoor to the courtyard-  Those drama stairs

Suryagarh - Kaki and Turtles and White Pigeons

Wake me up!

What started as a Shehnai, never ceased to end. Then came 'Kaki' - the melodious singer whose voice echoed in every corner of Suryagarh, behind the veil on her face which no body has seen yet. On being asked she said she sings for herself and with the money that she gets, she goes on shopping for herself.

                                           The Talented Kaki in the Suryagarh Premises

Then came Turtle by chance. Nisha who had picked up a Turtle before in one of her travels, told me to hold it calmly, the turtles have sharp teeth. Well I didn't know that the Turtles had such big teeth. Good lord if they had bitten me ! And then were the friendly white dove - The Masakali style. We all turn by turn got ourselves or rather gave our head her resting ground for a while. And she was happy to co-operate.

Someones got big sharp teeth...

Suryagarh - The Luxury of Timelessness
/*On a candid chat with Karan*/

The ever so eternal entry @ Suryagarh

All of us have a different way of defining Luxury.For some, luxury has connotations of a big screen plasma TV, but as for them luxury is the way you want it to be. Like your Chai in the morning. Like your cuppa Coffee which gives you peace. This is might not be what you always get at your home, but what you always wanted. As they talked to their guests - they understood that there are two important things people look generally in a vacation - the luxury of timelessness and experience of a place .So even if you would want your breakfast at 4 in the morning or by midnight, the time is precious to everyone and it is to their happiness that they serve you with much delight skipping on all together the constraint called time. Our day began with the very elaborate Halwai breakfast at ‘Nosh’ where we had the Samosas and the Pakodas and the Chat. The Chat specially is very popular with the Indians as well as people who come from abroad because we Indians, let’s admit it we love our Paranthas, Pakodas and Chat. And for those who come from overseas, that is a delectable new taste that grows on them. However, they do have other continental options as part of menu if you feel like having them.

Suryagarh - Offbeat Jaisalmer

The cows stare at us,as we explore the unmapped.

To be able to breathe into deep and then to be able to take into a little bit of not just the hotel experience but tied into the reality of land on which the place is set is what Suryagarh is all about. They understand that people come here for the fort and the dunes, it’s been spoken and talked about, they might as well do it. But they also want for the people who stay with them to be able to witness the unexplored part of Jaisalmer which they are primarily passionate about. This may not last forever - the culture, the traditions, the legends and they are beautiful. And Suryagarh preserves it and think good of the community which gave Jaisalmer so much. Their sequence of experience start by the sunrise where they take you to the forgotten part of the desert, to desert pastures and oasis, to settings which are biblical to the food which is off the charcoal grill to interaction with herdsmen ,to the vantage point of Sundowners ,to the celebratory dinner at the dunes at night ,to morning sunrise with 100 around peacocks, to the remote temple trails and Chudail trails and the people because of which Jaisalmer would be incomplete.

Suryagarh - The Start and the No-Struggle

                                        With Manvendra Singh Shekhawat, the former model
                                                To know what accessories I wore,click here

Manvendra Singh Shekhawat,the former Gladrags model and now the owner of Suryagarh, was an interesting subject to me. Why? Because why would anyone leave a glam life to live a life which meant being a owner of a resort - it must be a responsibility. Out of this curiosity, I asked him to which his reply was

The piece of land turned into a resort of choice

“We had this piece of land and in one of my crazy socialite parties, someone said very nasty about this project, so I came in to this place to explore. The initial plan was to build up a city hotel with a capacity of 170-180 rooms. Then we thought of fort style resort which would make more sense. This initiative at that time was a huge risk because Jaisalmer didn't have an airport. But at 23 ,you do not think much if it’s okay to do it. I was able to use a lot of my earlier contacts to get the word out. I was also lucky to get the right people. And this project is how I wanted it to be , now”. He looked quite happy and content with the progress and so were we with the experiences.

He also opened up to me to his stories of being able to wander in the wilderness with his friends, sleeping on a mattress on top of a car under canopies of stars. He smiled and said to many it might look lunatic, but here, it’s all safe. And we believed.

Another brainchild of Manvendra Singh Shekhawat,is I love Jaisalmer which has an aim of encouraging people to bring back belonging and responsibility for their own community and heritage. The NGO is also considering pilot projects wherein people would be at the forefront.The details are yet to release,but we are sure all ears to listen.

Suryagarh - The Personal Touch and Award Winning Spa

Beautiful means inside out at Rait.

They engage with their guests in a very similar way in their Asian Award Winning spa in the middle of Jaisalmer in the Suryagarh premises called 'Rait' (meaning Sand in English).The concept emerging from the Silk Route stories.

They believe that in those days, travelers/traders would go far in the wild and the ladies would stay at home. They were madly in love with each other and they would terribly miss each other and wait for the time when they would meet again .As the ladies stayed and the merchants came back to their loved ones who were famed for their beauty and men were very handsome, these gentlemen would bring back for their ladies the most beautiful elixirs they could find during their travel - whether it was dead sea mud or salt or frankincense. Similarly these ladies would smear themselves in what was traditionally and locally found such as Tulsi and Khuskhus and Rait which had silica and the healing powers of the sun. These therapies which are indigenous to the merchant and to that era are still being practiced in the spa with the elixirs and the frankincense.

The foundation of this spa ,is not just beauty but beyond beauty and that is why Rickie specialists have been trained and hired. I went through one of the Swedish message in the spa with the mildest of oil, because I am very sensitive to perfumes and I was happy to be the refreshed me again :)

Suryagarh - iMRS

Now this word as intelligent as it may sound, as intelligent it is. I didn't know if my constant wassapping or holding my phone can do damage to my veins .But certain things are proven like this one. IMRS is Intelligent Metallic Resonance System and what it does is aligns the flow of blood to how it must be - that is aligned to magnetic field of earth.

What is going on in today’s world is with all the radiation of cellular activity, the blood in not flowing as it must, rather sluggishly as proven by medicals. The blood in earlier days used to flow according to the magnetic axis of the earth.10 minutes in iMRS, aligns the blood flow, and its frequent application can make you feel all rejuvenated. To provide more nutrition to the body in the spa, they use nano-technology which is about 100 traces of minerals in the essential oil which changes the composition for deeper penetration.

Now, we had our breakfast and small little plays with the dove and the peacocks in the courtyard, lets move around Jaisalmer, shall we?The short video is ready and so are the stories...There we go.Next :)

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Rapperswil: Switzerland,Photos,Places

Roses are red,and so I am blue @ Rapperswil - Jona
To know what I wore click here

Situated on the upper end of lake Zurich, this city is a City of Roses or so it is called. The name of Rapperswil” is derived from a family which originated from “The Hamlet of the Ratprecht” (ratprechtsvilare) on the left bank of Lake Zurich. Founded in 1220,this place is just perfect for lazing around. May be because my hotel "Speer" was in the town just beside the lake where I could just walk in everywhere. We caught up Pre-Alpine Express(Pre Alpine is Alpine before Alpine) from St. Gallen to Rapperwil in the morning and here we were.

Previous Blog posts on Switzerland: Click Here

The routes in Switzerland are very scenic @ Rapperswil

Rapperswil - Why Rose is the Sign of Town

Roses as the coat of arms by Knights

The coat of arms was necessary as a distinct sign of identification in the late Middle Ages when knights wore armor with closed helmets. Friend or enemy had to be distinguished from the distance .It was important that the design on the coat of arms was simple, distinctly recognizable and bore a generally known meaning. Picture of animals and flowers were particularly appropriate.

Aha ! Beauty

The rose was preferred above all; it radiated the joy of life, happiness and love. The preferred colors were red and yellow.In 2007,Rapperswil merged with the neighboring community "Jona" and the old coat of arms with the roses also was included with the Blue Wavy Line

The town of Rapperswil - observe the wall art on homes

Did you know?

Since 2002, there is a contest to select a Rose Queen in Rspperswil - Jona. She is the ambassador of the City of Roses and represents the region around Rapperswil-Jona for a term of 2 years.

Rapperswil - Wooden Footbridge

The Marvel of Engineering from the Middle Ages

This bridge over the lake in the middle ages was regarded as a marvel of engineering, for thousands of years. That means the lake isn't very deep where the bridge is built and that was the reason why it was convenient to construct a wooden foot bridge exactly at this place. How was this built? First they rent oak piles into the bed of the lake, then only the longitudinal boards constructed on the piles and then they laid cross boards on the bridge .The cross boards were let loose, as there was no nail in the middle ages. That's why lot of people drowned here, because they were not able to swim. When the storm came, only the cross boards would be swept away not the whole bridge and that was medieval engineering. And so after the storm they have to gather the cross boards again and put it on the foot bridge again. Only 10 years back they found on the other side we already have a footbridge. About 3600 years ago was the age of wood , they have found the piles in the bed of the lake which is still there. There were 3 bridges along the distance of 1000 km over Lake Zurich.

Underneath the Lake

Rapperswil - Rose Garden

The tourist information Centre aimed in 1958 to plant more roses in the city of roses, so that the city of roses becomes actual city of roses. The rose garden has around 150 variety of roses. Another rose garden opened in 1984 is for visually impaired, with 2400 plants of 100 varieties of fragrance and labelled as Braille is there.

Cruising - Island of Ufenau

The place from where the cruise start

What would you think of me, if I say that I was so engrossed in the beauty of cruising in Lake Zurich that I even forgot to get down? When I was getting my pictures clicked, the saw my whole team down and waiting. So I ran,ran and finally could make it .Phew!

The Island of Ufenau

On the island of Ufenau you will find a farm and two churches: the church of St. Peter and Paul stands on the foundations of a Gallo-Roman Temple ,and the church of St.Martin can be traced back to the 7th century.We also have a small eating out option at the Island which serves delicious food and local wine.Try the fish,they are awesome.

Rapperswil : Eating Out

Dinner at Restaurant San Marco

Restaurant San Marco
Marktgasse 21
8640 Rapperswil
+41 55 211 22 24

Had Italian Ambiance with Mediterranean food.Though the ambiance was great,I didn't like the food as much.The deserts were yummy.

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