These are my favorite hotels and shops in India. These are secret so use them wisely.
Place to stay
Imperial Hotel is my favorite urban hotel in the world. It has 3,500 original prints, like this one of a Maharaja with the colonial Englishmen.
Most of the prints are of the most bucolic countryside.
Except for this one- the Uber of India past.
Biggest issue for me are the industrial hotel buffets- it’s just sugar for breakfast
Places to shop
Ahujasons have the most delightful selection of pashminas in the world. And the great thing is that it’s all fixed price. So you can look at the USD 3,500 one and understand why it costs that much, and then see the UD 500 and USD 300 ones and see what they’re worth. They’re all unique pieces made in Kashmir with hand embroidery beyond comprehension. I was lucky to get there during a 30% off sale. The men’s pashmina are amazing. A piece for everyone.
The other place is this wonderful antique textile dealer’s place. He specializes in phulkari- they embroider the entire surface and they’re beautiful .
Phulkari (Punjabi: ਫੁਲਕਾਰੀ) embroidery technique from the Punjab region (divided between India and Pakistan) literally means flower work, which was at one time used as the word for embroidery, but in time the word “Phulkari” became restricted to embroidered shawls and head scarfs. Simple and sparsely embroidered odini (head scarfs), dupatta and shawls, made for everyday use, are called Phulkaris, whereas garments that cover the entire body, made for special and ceremonial occasions like weddings and birth of a son, fully covered fabric is called Baghs (“garden”) and scattered work on the fabric is called “adha bagh” (half garden). This whole work is done with white or yellow silk floss on cotton khaddarh and starts from the center on the fabric called “chashm-e-bulbul” and spreads to the whole fabric.
I’ve been collecting them for a while and this guy had treasure. Absolute magic.
The other place you should go to is in the antique pashmina dealer at Haus Khaz Bazaar. If you’re into true treasure, go. If you just want quick and dirty, go to the other place.
Mukesh jewelry. Incredible pieces.
Where to eat
LMB in Jaipur. It’s been there for 70 years; it’s totally vegetarian and run by a Jain family. I remember going there 30 years ago and it’s just as amazing. But I have changed- I noted that of the 11 dishes, 5 bowls on the thali are full of sugar. The Indians are driving themselves into the world of diabetes, once cup of sugar tea at a time.
Indian Accent New Delhi
This is a cool place- a fusion Indian restaurant. They have one in New York that I want to visit too. I promised not to talk about this, but I have to tell the story. Half way through our meal a fist fight broke out in the corridor next to the table. I guess it’s just passion- waiters demanding great things of chefs and chefs beating the waiters for demanding anything of them. The lovely manager came over and said it’s never happened before; personally I’ve seen bar fights before but never a restaurant fight. But he assured me that if you go there he guarantees no fighting. You really should go- it’s a great place.
What to see
The Kiradu Temple of in the Thar desert.
This is a temple ruin which is miles from the Pakistani border. Took 2.5 hours to get there through the desert. It’s 12th century. Incredible work.
The Kiradu temples are located at about 35 km from Barmer and 157 km from Jaisalmer in a town situated in Thar desert in the Indian state of Rajasthan.There are five temples in all and most remarkable of them is Someshvara Temple .These temples feature impressive sculpture and a Solanki style of architecture. The temples are called ‘The Khajuraho of Rajasthan’ due to its erotic architecture.
There are many questions about India that seem impossible to answer, but I finally have the answer to this question. India now has some three lane roads which are very nice, but you will see a goods vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour in the fast lane and refusing to move. Even if the whole world is honking at him. Now I know why. Every truck driver has an assistant and every truck driver is drinking. So when the driver is sleeping it off he puts the assistant at the wheel. The assistant isn’t really good at driving yet, so the driver tells him stay in this lane and don’t move from 40 miles an hour. So this means the assistant never has to use the breaks or overtake anything because he’s the slowest thing in the lane. So that’s why Indian trucks live in the fast lane at 40 miles an hour.
Other pieces of India
Praying for money at the counter of a general store.
Me and my donkey