11 MAY 2016 - INDIA
Namaste folks once again, from a very very hot India! It is important to note that when we travel to India for the cricket it will be during their winter, and temperatures will be very pleasant and certainly nowhere near what we are experiencing now.
Since we last spoke I have visited Wild Flower Hall and the Cecil Oberoi in Shimla, but sadly the heat haze was such that it made photographing the views from Wild Flower Hall a no go. Suffice to say, when we visit the area during our cricket tour you will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of Shimla and both Oberoi properties. The Cecil Oberoi is just over 6,000 ft above sea level (the same as Johannesburg) and Wild Flower Hall, also an Oberoi property, sits approximately 8,000 ft above sea level. So any form of strenuous exercise is not recommended! Instead we would encourage a lovely gentle walk from the Cecil into the small town of Shimla (guided walks are available), or a leisurely walk around the forest property of Wild Flower Hall.
After visiting Shimla I flew to Delhi for a two-night stay. What a lovely city New Delhi is! Lots of open spaces, parks, trees, lawns and of course the wonderful Houses of Parliament buildings, Gandhi’s monument and lots of fabulous restaurants and hotels to choose from.
Old Delhi must be experienced by rickshaw! What an experience awaits you! We will travel by rickshaw – a bicycle attached to a seat-for-two, pedalled by an enthusiastic young fellow – through old narrow streets, some so narrow that if you stretch out your arms to either side you could touch both walls of the street! The noise, activity and various wonderful aromas all make for an amazing “hodge podge" of what is Old Delhi. Shopping? Yes indeed – enjoy the lively Kahn Market and famous Connaught Place: an underground shopping mall covering about an acre of land one floor below the streets.
The stadium is lovely and has been much improved since the advent of the IPL, and, should Delhi get a test match, I know the seats we will be given access to will be the best in the house.
So after Delhi I travelled 5 hours by train to a tiger sanctuary called Ranthambore. (Don’t panic! We have quicker ways of getting you there than by train. Although the journey I experienced was very pleasant.) Accommodation at the sanctuary is extremely comfortable and there is the choice of Vanyavilas (Oberoi) or Sher Bagh (privately owned.) Both are 5-star luxury tented camps and 5 minutes’ drive from the entrance to the concession, where I saw a tiger and a very rare sloth bear! Also, for "birdies" it is a bird lover’s paradise. So again, depending on where the tests are to be played, this beautiful sanctuary may well feature on our agenda.
Obviously we can't possibly see everything that this lovely country has to offer, but to find new adventures in India that we haven’t yet experienced during our worldwide cricket tours, is the challenge that I have accepted.
The Indian people have made my trip fun and enjoyable once again – the bright colours of the clothing worn by the ladies in Rajistan is also a pleasure to behold. I look forward to you discovering their wonderful country and way of life.
So now it's off to Mumbai to see what exciting things I can find that will add spice to your itineraries, should Mumbai be awarded a test match.
Until the next time
This article headline appeared on page 8 of the Saturday morning Hindustani Times. Sorry guys but this facility is not available in SA or the UK!
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Date: Wed, 11 May 2016