Sugarcane juice is a popular drink on the streets of India. It's the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. When I was in Calcutta I was mesmerized as I watched vendors, like the one above, extract juice by pushing raw sugar cane through a traditional wheel press. The old-school juicer looks like a whirling pin wheel as the vendor pushes the cane through. The vendor passes the cane through the press at least a half dozen or so times, extracting every bit of juice and the wheel gets harder to turn as the cane dries out. The final cup of sugarcane juice gets served with ginger or lime. Make sure you ask them to hold the ice.
I've seen tons of flower markets, but nothing quite like the Mallick Ghat Flower Market in Calcutta. Located on the banks of the Hooghly River, just beneath the Howrah Bridge, you'll find men stringing together brilliantly colored petals. Large mounds of frangipani and bright orange garlands of marigolds are lined up on the streets and are bought to be used as temple offerings or in Hindu weddings. The market has been operating for more than 125 years and around 2,000 growers come here each day to sell their flowers.
Wandering the stalls of the markets in Kolkata. When you aren't dodging the market touts, bartering for cheerful bangles is a delight. (And dont miss heaven-in-your-mouth Kati rolls across the street at Nizam.)
The freshest blooms along muddiest streets - Kolkata's wholesale 'phoolbajaar' or flower market is right next to river Hooghly. In the beginning, the sellers sat on the Mallick Ghat. Nowadays, they have taken over several back-alleys and set up small shops. Mornings are the best and the craziest time to walk through the area. Most, vanish by noon, leaving behind a heady scent of seasonal specialties.
While traveling around India I learned to expect the unexpected. Every turn delivered a surprise. When I was in Calcutta, a traffic jam forced my guide and I to abandon our tax ride to the Marble Palace. As we stumbled out the cab door we found ourselves amidst a frenetic fruit auction. My guide, who grew up in Calcutta, told me she'd heard rumors of this fruit market but had never been able to find it. She thought it was just a myth. The fruit vendors—all men—seemed just as startled to see two women running past the piles of oranges and bunches of bananas.
The market was so frenetic that became swept up in the hustle and eventually reached a dead end. Our only choice was to turn around and run the citrus gauntlet again. Vendors waved slices of oranges in our face and we finally stopped and agreed to have a taste, which brought about cheers from the fruit hawkers. I was so amazed that...
The views from your suite—of the Kanchenjunga Mountains, the hills of Sikkim, or the Rung Dung River—might make it hard to leave, but it’s worth it to learn about every stage of tea-making on a tour of the fields and factory. A tasting reveals the ways a tea’s flavor is affected by where and how it’s grown, harvested, and processed.
See more agritourism hotels:
Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia
Dalabelos in Crete
Los Poblanos in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Finca Rosa Blanca in Costa Rica
Estancia Nipebo Aike in El Calafate, Argentina
Villa Campestri in Florence
At the foot of a great mystical rock where gurus have meditated, in the heart of a colorful Rajasthan village, sits Rawla Narlai, the 17th century villa used as a hunting lodge by the Maharaja of Jodhpur. It's now a charming boutique hotel, with cozy rooms opening onto a courtyard surrounded by cascading bougainvillea.
The Rawla Narlai sits within the ancient Aravalli Hills mountain range, said to be the oldest mountains on the planet. The Rawla (which means villa) is a tranquil haven midway between the cities of Jodhpur and Udaipur.
Walk through a massive stone arch into a courtyard bordered with a restaurant and a small Hindu temple, and a view of that auspicious granite rock.
Each distinct guest room is the perfect combination of historical and contemporary. Modern conveniences blend seamlessly with relics of the past.
Rooms open onto inner cloisters and curtained verandas, furnished...
I saw these colorful sari's hung out to dry in a home in the Blue City in Jodhpur. The Blue City neighborhood is a must see when visiting Jodhpur.
Around the Ganges, the streets and alley-ways of Varanasi are packed with sellers of anything you can imagine. I passed this flower market on the way back to my hotel, and loved the bright red wall behind the man and his flowers. The text above him was regarding the temple inside the building.
Dawn in Varanasi lights up the bathers and worshipers along the storied Ghats. It's a flashlight on the stairs that lead to cleansing and devotion. I joined a boat ride at sunrise to be a member of the audience to Varanasi's morning rituals.
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of that, I expected the place to be crowded with locals enjoying a day off. It was indeed crowded so much so I could barely walk. I returned the next day thinking it would be better and it was but it was still packed with people. I did manage to see the place but not quite in the way that I wanted to experience a holy site. So, I hopped in a taxi and went down the road to Tarn Taran Sahib. There, I found a place of religious tranquility and a golden temple that was just as beautiful albeit on a smaller scale. Sikh devotees were out and about but there was not a throng of people. It was just the place I was looking for!
These are pots of powdered paint displayed in Mysore Market. This market is one of my favorite places in India because of the beautiful fruit and vegetable stalls, friendly vendors, and the air of vibrancy and decay that makes India feel both old and new all at once. It is also where I overcame my shyness as a foreigner by learning the age old art of haggling.
I lived in Mysore for four months and worked as a volunteer at a free medical clinic on the outskirts of the city. I lived in a house with three other volunteers at the clinic and we would share shopping duties. We chose shopping at the market instead of the modern price fixed grocery stores. At the market food was fresher, the prices were better, and the atmosphere timeless. Scenes like this made the heat and hassle of living in India minor inconveniences.