|There she was, our first Bengal Tiger sighting in Bandhavgarh National Park. We couldn’t have asked for a better vantage point. Safari luck prevailed one more time! See the link here.|
Today’s photos are a compilation of photos we’d taken in our travels in India, before the lockdown. Included will be the link for each post on which the photo appeared. Photos will be divided for both February 2020 in yesterday’s post here and March 2020 in today’s post on New Year’s Day.
|Perfection! A local artist we met at the resort shared his painting with us. See the post here.|
Thank you to so many of our family/friends/readers for all of the well-wishes for our safe and successful travels and the New Year to come. Your kindness, generosity, and loving comments warmed our hearts, in more ways than we can count.
|This baby elephant was being prepped for humans to ride him in search of tigers. Riding an elephant is a custom in India, but as most of our readers know, we wouldn’t ride one. See the post here.|
It was an uneventful New Year’s Eve for us. We streamed a few TV series, including Netflix’s “A Million Little Things” which has proved to be very entertaining. We stayed awake until midnight as the New Year was rung in here in India, but more due to the noise in the hotel than on a celebratory note.
|A gaur crossing the road. “The gaur (/ɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature individuals by 2016. It declined by more than 70% during the last three generations, and is extinct in Sri Lanka and probably also in Bangladesh. In a well-protected area, it is stable and rebuilding.” See the post here.|
If we each slept three hours, it’s stretching it. My Fitbit showed I’d slept for six hours, but only due to the fact I lay there quietly trying to fall asleep amid the noise. We understood the loud music and cheering on New Year’s Eve and made no fuss about that. However, the worst part was loud noises from the rooms on either side and above us. It was unbelievable.
|As only a small section of Ravla Khempur, also known as the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for the 2012 movie filmed on site. See the post here.|
It consisted of banging, clicking, yelling, cell phones beeping and vibrating, and the frequent sound of the door banging every five minutes from the suite next door. Each time we dozed off after 2:00 am, we were startled awake by one outrageous noise or another.
|Us, in an old vehicle, referred to as a Willy/Jeep at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. See the post here.|
Tom called the front desk twice during the night, to ask them to tell the guests in the one room to turn off their “notifications” and the other room to un-engage the deadbolt lock preventing the door from fully closing, for whoever’s convenience, so they wouldn’t have to use their key card to go in and out. Most likely, they were leaving the room to smoke in the stairwell.
|The entrance to the Raaj Bagh Restaurant in Udaipur, which facilitates guests of the hotel and is located across the street. See the post here.|
This morning Tom had to send his breakfast back. The omelet was uncooked in the middle and the bacon was so crispy, it was like dry jerky, impossible to chew. The re-order arrived quickly and was prepared as it should have been. Then, at 10:40 the cleaner arrived, cleaned the bathroom and the toilet, and then hand washed our coffee mugs and glasses.
Tom’s tiger video from Bandhavgarh National Park with more safari luck. See the post here.
Ridiculous! Tom re-washed everything carefully in hot soapy water. Who cleans their bathroom/toilet and then washes dishes or glasses without changing their gloves and/or washing their hands thoroughly? We have mentioned this to management many times and have continued to watch the cleaner to ensure it’s done correctly. Today, again, it fell through the cracks. Frustrating.
|This blind priest prays in this position all day, standing outside the Eklingi Temple. As a functioning temple, no photos are allowed. Silver was used in embellishing the interior and it was stunning. See the post here.|
This is something to consider when staying in hotels during Covid-19 and beyond, washing the glasses, spoons, and cups yourself, let alone disinfecting the room, the phone, the door handles, the remote, and surfaces.
|In Chennai, this temple is described: “Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati that is Arulmigu Kapleeswar and Karpagambal respectively, the temple should be on the top position of your list of temples to visit.” The skill and years of artful work to carve these colorful figures are mind-boggling. See the post here.|
Oh, dear, the next 10 days can’t come soon enough. Yesterday I went through all of my clothing and removed items that no longer fit me after my recent weight loss. I’m left with very little, but once we’re situated in South Africa, I can try out a few local shops for anything I may need. Fitting into clothes made in SA has been tricky in the past since everything is suitable for either tiny pre-teens or mature adults, much shorter than me.
|At the Ideal Beach Resort in Mahabalipuram (try to pronounce that!) for a few days. We had sundowners on the beach at night. See the post here.|
If I end up having to wear what I have on hand, so be it. Jeans and nice tee-shirts are acceptable at any of the venues in Marloth Park and that, I can manage. The same applies to Tom who has fewer items to unload. As for the upcoming booked cruises at the end of 2021, we’ll see how that rolls out before I start thinking about appropriate “cruise wear.” Most likely, those cruises will be canceled.
|“Krishna’s Butterball (also known as Vaan Irai Kal and Krishna’s Gigantic Butterball) is a gigantic granite boulder that rests on a short incline in the historical coastal resort town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu state of India. Since it is part of the Group of Monuments at Mamallapuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built during 7th- and 8th-century CE as Hindu religious monuments by the Pallava dynasty, it is a popular tourist attraction. It is listed as a protected national monument by the Archeological Survey of India. It is best viewed at sunrise from northwest to southeast or at sundown from northeast to southwest when the panorama is bathed in magical golden hues.” Our guide explained that at one time, centuries ago, the locals tried to move this boulder using elephants but it wouldn’t budge. See the post here.|
Now, as we begin to think about sanitation when flying, with the Mumbai Airport closed for all flights except for a few such as ours, which was booked before the closure. There will be fewer passengers at the airport compared to how many there would have been otherwise. If we can actually board that flight, we’ll feel relatively comfortable with Emirates Airlines, one of the highest-rated airlines for Covid-19 safety.
|Lakshmi was so sweet and welcoming. I patted her thick trunk and looked deep into her eye. More here: “This Ganesh Chaturthi, you can visit the extraordinary Manakula Vinayagar Temple situated approximately 400 metres away from the Bay of Bengal in White Town, Pondicherry. Read on to know why devotees, photo fanatics, and experience seekers flock to this special temple of Lord Ganesha.” See the post here.|
As for the upcoming 16-hour layover in Dubai, UAE, we have no idea what to expect. In any case, we’ll make a point of finding a secluded spot for us to wait during the long period, getting up once an hour to walk and move about, as far away from others as possible.
In this post here, on March 13, 2020, we described why we stopped our private tour with three more weeks remaining. Hence, began our lockdown.
There are numerous photos from the posts in February and March 2020 that weren’t included yesterday or today. Please feel free to peruse our archives for many more.
|“Buffaloes are believed to have domesticated around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley and thrive best in the areas of moderate rainfall as they require plenty of water for their daily bath. Indian buffaloes are considered to be an important source of milk today. They yield nearly three times as milk as cows. Interestingly, 47.22 million milch buffaloes produce 55 percent of milk, which is more than half of the total milk produced in the country. Whereas, 57 million cows contribute only 45 percent of the total milk yield.” See the post here.|
We hope you had/have a pleasant and safe New Year’s Eve and restful and peaceful New Year’s Day. May this New Year bring all of us a new perspective on our health, well-being, and the future to come.
Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2020:
|Last New Year’s Day we posted “The year in review photos” which included this view from our veranda while in Falmouth, England. For the year-ago post, please click here.|