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Resort of the Month - Raj Palace

Posted on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 19:02 by easytours

One of the most fascinating Heritage establishments in Jaipur, the Raj Palace Hotel is a boutique Hotel with three dozen tastefully decorated rooms and suites. Extensive recent renovations have transformed this already charming heritage retreat to a unique combination of an opulent palace and a luxurious modern hotel, complete with the latest technology.

Formerly a Heritage Hotel, it has now been upgraded to a Grand Heritage Hotel. The Raj Palace offers a high standard of services and is located in the heart of the Pink City of Jaipur.

Unusual among Heritage Hotels, it has the distinction of being completely accessible by wheelchair, and 10 of its rooms are equipped with handicapped accessible bathrooms.

Kochi becoming an artist’s paradise

Posted on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 19:07 by easytours

With an amalgam of various cultures, Kochi is slowly transforming into the art capital of the state. The city, which is home to 20 art galleries, has become a rising star in India’s art scene.

Dinesh Shenoy, an artist based out of Mattancherry is one of the many artists who abide by this belief. "Kochi has always been open to so many cultures, communities and different types of art. The influences can still be seen in the work of the present day artists," says Shenoy. He now owns a gallery for his paintings, where he sells his works to foreigners and locals alike.

The art scene in Kochi has become more dynamic because of the varied people in the city who turn up for exhibitions, says Bahuleyan, another city-based artist. The 39-year-old artist, who has participated in international exhibitions, including those in Poland and Kuwait, believes that the appreciation for art is much better now. "What we now need to focus on is the marketing of art," he says.

Jayanth, director for Kerala Arts Gallery, believes there is a kind of democracy or equality in art. "From a schoolchild to a retiree, they all come to see, question and understand paintings. There is also a rise in a younger generation of artists, willing to experiment on canvas," says Jayanth.

Art lovers like Mia, a German tourist traveling through Kochi, feel that art in Kerala has something unique about it. "Maybe it's the rich cultural tradition, or the urge to not be type-casted. I feel that art, especially the paintings, are more poignant than their western counterparts. The artists’ stylization is also worth a study," she says.

Chennai Music and Dance Festival

Posted on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:04 by easytours

Chennai Music and Dance Festival is organized every year during mid-December to mid-January. Throughout the month, renowned artists schedule dance and music performances all over the city. Organized by various sabhas (organizations) in the city, the festival is intended to promote the classical music and classical dances of South India.

The festival began as a way to memorialize the anniversary of Madras Music Academy each December. Gradually, various organizations throughout Chennai joined in, making this one of the most lively and talent-filled festivals in all of India. The city truly comes alive during the festival it has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants.

Performances include vocal and instrumental music, as well as solo and group dances. Even upcoming artists get the chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music includes songs in various South Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada accompanied by flutes, veena (a large string instrument), goottuvadyam (similar to veena but without frets), nagaswaram (a pipe), thavil (a percussion instrument), mridangam (a drum), and even ghatam (a mud pot).

Indian Cuisine - Murg ki Kadi

Posted on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 18:26 by easytours

Murgi Ki KadiMurg ki
(An unusual Chicken preparation from the desert, with yogurt and spices).

Recipe by Sumit Sinha, Chef at Taj Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur Utensils: 
1 wok
1 iron griddle
1 small bowl
1 mixing bowl
1 transparent glass serving dish


Boneless chicken – 32 oz. cut into 1” cubes
Asafoetida – a pinch
Green chilies – 0.4 oz.
Cumin seeds – 0.2 oz.
Onion paste – 4 oz.
Coriander - 1 oz.
Garlic paste – 2 oz.
Oil – 6 oz.
Water – 600 ml.

The Yogurt Mixture:
Gram flour – 2 oz.
Yogurt – 16 oz.
Turmeric – 0.2 oz.
Red chili powder – 0.2 oz.
Salt – to taste
Water – 800 ml.

1. Roast half the cumin seeds on a hot iron griddle, cool, put in a grinder and powder.

2. Whisk the yogurt in a bowl; add gram
flour, red chilies, turmeric and salt and mix well. Add 800 ml of water and whisk again. Keep to one side.

3. In a wok heat 2 oz. of oil and cook the onions until soft and light pink in color. Remove wok from the fire and remove onions into a small bowl. Wash, clean and dry the wok for further use.

Jaipur - Chandlai Lake sees more birds this season

Posted on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 13:26 by easytours

Shivdaspura villagers in Jaipur have welcomed an abundance of feathered visitors this season as around 10,000 migratory birds have come to Chandlai Lake, about 3 km from the village.

According to the experts and birdwatchers, the number of winged guests from abroad includes some species who haven’t visited the lake in several years. Villagers have thronged the lake shores in order to watch the flocks swimming on the blue water.

More than 10 species of birds such as northern shoveler, common pochard, pintail, tufted duck, ruff, common redshank, common green shank, and common teal have been sighted this season. Nishant Shukla, a member of the bird watching group CORSER told the Times of India, "For the past two years species like tufted duck have not been seen here. It's a good sign that the lake has vegetation for these birds."

With many local birds migrating to the lake, the scene is a delight for birdwatchers. Some local birds such as osprey and woolly-necked stork have also migrated from various parts of India. Most of the birds are young female northern shovelers and have not attained their complete colors. While the bird watchers are delighted to see the number of migratory birds grow this year, they are worried for the future as there is not much effort by the government to conserve Chandlai Lake in Jaipur.

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