The Brijrama Palace is a luxurious heritage hotel on the ghats (high embankments with steps leading into the river) in Varanasi. More than 200 years old, it’s been open since 2016, after 18 years of restoration. It is beautiful and opulently furnished with antiques and 18th-century art. Located on the Darbhanga Ghat, the only way to get there is by boat. Following a fascinating hour-long drive from the airport to the Mahishasura Assi Ghat, we took our first trip on the sacred Ganges. Luckily for us, once at the Brijrama, it’s the only hotel on the ghats with an elevator (the first in India). When we arrived, we were met by a priest who anointed our foreheads and gave us each a traditional marigold garland.
If you must consume alcohol and eat steak nightly, this is not the place for you. Since the Ganges is a holy river, there is no alcohol or meat served in facilities along its waters. Several kilometers inland you can eat and drink whatever.
This is one of the best ways to experience India as it has been for thousands of years and we were happy to forego cocktails, wine, and meat. From a culinary standpoint, the elegant restaurant Darbhanga at the Brijrama was wonderful and we really enjoyed our dinner of the traditional vegetarian Banarsari Thaali. It was actually more like a feast, delicious – I wish I knew what everything was. Read the rest of this entry
Spoiler alert – we did not see a tiger. As disappointing as that was, our visit to Ranthambhore National Park was a wonderful experience.
The weather was beautiful, clear, low humidity, blue skies, and cool. The scenery was so much more varied than I imagined. We traveled through dense forest and open fields, around huge lakes, along sandstone cliffs, forded rivers and saw more types of vegetation than I will ever sort out.
Birds were plentiful and we saw many of the species we see in south Florida as well as bright blue flycatchers and huge owls. There were plenty of spotted deer, and huge Sambar deer, both good prey for the 60 tigers and 80+ leopards that inhabit the Park. Marsh Crocodiles and monitor lizards reminded us of our American Crocs and iguanas. On our third drive, we spent a long time waiting in hopes of seeing a tiger because the deer and the monkeys were all sounding their warning calls repeatedly. I just know the big cats could see us . . . even if we didn’t see them. Read the rest of this entry