Have you ever been to India?
I recently passed through this beautiful country to attend the marriage of a dear friend. The celebration was held at the magnificent Chomu Palace Hotel, a heritage palace in Jaipur (the City of Palaces), and it was certainly a wedding to remember.
Getting to India was challenging, but I made it there in one piece:
– It was a pretty long round-trip. I took 7 flights, 4 buses, and traveled 48 hours without sleep each way.
– I only received my tourist visa the day before I had to leave, so I tried to book a lower-priced flight at the last minute. I ended up booking a flight departing from Newark (New Jersey, USA), and round-trip bus tickets between Montreal and Newark. Well, I quickly realized that the least expensive option isn’t always the best option.
– When my bus arrived at the US border, there was an unusually long line-up (a 7-hour wait), so I called in a favor to get a ride from the border to the airport in Montreal.
– While I was waiting near the border, I encountered another passenger in a similar predicament. Patrick was scheduled to fly from Newark later that day for a grandiose trip around the world. He was stressed out, but determined to make it to Newark, so I gave him a free ride to the Montreal airport.
– Only one (really expensive) flight was available between Montreal and Newark that afternoon, so I booked it. It blew my budget, but I wouldn’t have missed my friend’s wedding for the world.
– On the bright side, I got to see my favorite pro hockey player at the airport – Lars Eller! He also happened to be flying to Newark that day. I guess it was a karmic reward for my good deed earlier in the day. (Keep an eye out for Eller. This impressive Thor-like center has a very bright future ahead of him…and perhaps a Stanley Cup this season.)
– There was a lot of turbulence during my United Airlines flight to New Delhi, but the return flights with Air India and Lufthansa were smooth and relaxing.
Here are a couple of photos and a video of my trip to Jaipur:
Driving in India can drive you crazy.
In this video you will hear, and see what it was like to drive in Jaipur, India. Constant honking, traffic, disorder, and livestock everywhere…yet this was the most peaceful street I saw in Jaipur. The traffic lights and signs were merely suggestions.
WATCH MY VIDEO: Driving in Jaipur, India.
I heard constant honking while driving from the airport to the hotel. The drivers didn’t respect the car lanes, so they used car horns to warn the other drivers when they were too close to each other. The streets were packed with trucks, vans, motorcycles, rickshaws, pedestrians, and livestock.
It was completely normal to see cows sitting, and walking in the streets…even during heavy traffic.
The Chomu Palace Hotel was certainly a sight for sore eyes after a 48-hour long trip.
The 300-year-old heritage property was well maintained, and the service was excellent. The Property Manager even gave us a tour of the property.
It was the perfect location for an intimate Hindu wedding.
My friend booked the entire Palace to celebrate her wedding with her family and friends. Colorful, romantic, and luxurious would be the best way to describe the setting for her destination wedding.
When I arrived, I was surprised to learn that the wedding celebrations would take place all day and all night long, for 2 days straight. The marathon definitely tested my endurance, but I was delighted to be a part of such a special occasion.
The Chomu Palace was filled with stunning artwork and sculptures.
I was impressed by the silver elephant figurines….
…and completely blown away by the real elephant the groom rode into the Palace!
Of course, there was lots of dancing, and entertainment.
An hour before the first dinner, I was asked to learn and perform a choreography to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce. (Yes, my jaw dropped.)
I tried my best to pull off a G-rated version for the bride and groom’s family, which I think was well received. After all, we were there to have a good time.
Did I mention there was fireworks?
Lots of fireworks! And beautiful decor, singers, dancers, glamorous outfits and jewelry, traditional ceremonies, vibrant banquets, and quality time with family members. The family wedding planners did an excellent job of planning and executing such an elaborate event in a very short period of time.
Check out the intricate, and beautiful henna on the hands and feet of the bride.
It took several hours to complete.
The food was great, and there were so many options to choose from.
We quickly realized that the vegetarian food in North America pales in comparison to the vegetarian dishes prepared in India.
I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t get any vaccines prior to my trip because it wasn’t necessary. I simply avoided street food, and I only drank bottled water.
I really enjoyed the jalebi fried dessert which was served with various custards.
My favorite treat was the barfi dessert. This silverleaf-coated fudge was one of many parting gifts for guests.
Once everything was said and done, we had a chance to hang out at this quiet pool, and soak in the sun.
Check out the Maria Tiramisu in India Pinterest Board for more photos from my trip to India.
Are you planning to travel to India sometime soon? If you’ve been to India before, do you have any suggestions for first time travelers?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. Namaste.
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