Hello 2014 !!

The last year was a wonderful adventure – lots of travel , the Big Fat Indian Wedding , changes , adjustments and of course spending great time with my new and old family ! I am super excited about 2014. My theme for this year is to stay positive and look at the brighter side of everything. I also made a promise to myself to stay calm and learn to believe !

Apart from the above , I have promised to do/be the following :

1. Be cool – patience , calmness & belief are key ingredients to a Happy 2014

2. Get fit – I have never been this unfit in my life and I have promised myself to take up running / walking again ( after almost a year long hiatus ).

3. Meditate – yoga & meditation will be a part of my weekly , if not daily routine.

4. Cook more – I love to cook & try new recipes and the fact that my Mr. Right is a foodie only helps ( I have an ever ready audience to showcase my ahem , skills to)

5. Paint more – Last year I took up painting and made only about 5 paintings and bought 3 wonderful pieces of art ( my 3rd acquisition is a beautiful original ‘Pichwai’ painting from Udaipur)

2014!!!!

6. Try to be a better home maker – be more organised , planned out and work harder towards being a better host and a better wife.

7. Work harder – This year I will be launching a website , it has always been my dream to start something of my own and work on something that I am passionate about so I am super kicked about being able to inch closer to my dream .

8. Eat healthier – after a year of binging and enjoying the good & sinful foods I have promised myself to eat healthier. My friend introduced me to the loose it app during our trip to Udaipur and I started working on the app already !

9. Click more – yes I promise to use my camera more ! Follow me on instagram : @aartickapoor

10. Save more – theme for this year , post a year of wedding expenses & lots of shopping will be to save more and work towards setting out a retirement plan so that I have it ready before I hit the dreaded 30’s !

11. Read more – Running a book club with a friend is a lot of fun ! Especially when the people who are part of it are as excited about meeting up and exchanging notes on books to read as we are ! So I have resolved to read 12 new books this year ! ( totally doable I guess , even if I am travelling). Follow the book club @btbbookclub and Bound Together Bombay (Facebook)

12. Plant more trees ! – Yes I think it is time to plant more trees people ! If we plant a tree every quarter thats 4 trees per person per year ! Maybe it will help reduce the harmful effects of global warming a little.

13. Learn more – I resolve to be more open minded about learning from people around me !

14. Travel more – needless to say I always have this one on my list and I will love to share my adventures through this blog !

15. Write more ! Yes I had a very inactive year last year and I promise to be an active blogger this year !

16. Last but not the least I want to learn a language – I did a bit of French in High School and started off with Spanish , but that did not really go anywhere. So I will sign up for a do it yourself program for Spanish / Italian and try and get the basics of the language in place in 2014 !

What are your resolutions for 2014 ?

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Udaipur Diaries : Devi Garh ( Lebua)

On our way back from Nathdwara where we had the most amazing darshan of lord Shree Nathji we were tired & hungry and realized that it was almost 2 pm . We suddenly spotted a sign that said 1 km to Lebua Devi Garh property ( I had read about this on Trip Advisor but given it’s on the outskirts of Udaipur we did not stay here) and decided that we must pay this beautiful property a visit.

If words can describe our experience then the key terms would be – Royal , Exclusive , Beautiful & Scenic.

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For non resident guests dining at the restaurant means a minimum billing per head and average food but in my opinion this property is definitely worth a visit ( you can only visit if you have a reservation for dining here) .

As we drove up the winding slope to the fort our driver mentioned that the movie Ek Lavya was shot at this scenic property – yes the Vidya Balan – Amitabh Bachchan starer movie that had us all oohing at the scenic beauty the locale has to offer.

Devi Garh Lebua Udaipur

We were informed at the reception that one would need to have atleast Rs 3000 worth of a bill ( plus taxes) to dine at the restaurant – hungry and tired we totally decided to stop here and enjoy the experience.

The Restaurant at Lebua

The restaurant is on the first floor and offers an indoors and outdoors dining option. Given it was around 2 pm and the sun was bright we decided to stick to the indoor option , though if you like the sun the view is wonderful from the terrace.

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We decided to try their non veg & veg Thalis so that we could taste flavors of Udaipur all together in one meal !

Our host was a chatty young girl who worked abroad before getting placed at this property and we were informed that the property tends to get very cold at night ( there is no facility for electric heating here even for the suites so if you enjoy low temperature and not too much heating this maybe a good option for you to try ) .

The first course comprised of Kebabs – vegetarian and non vegetarian ( the food was served in style and the Galoti kebab was great ! ) this was served along with some fried & roasted papad and pickles.

Galoti Kebab

The main course comprised of a Thali – the non vegetarian Thali had a bowl of Lal Maas & Chicken along with Ker Sangri ki Bhaji ( typical to the region of Mewar) , Corn Bhaji , Yellow dal , Jeera Rice , Roti , Dahi and the Vegetarian one had Paneer ki bhaji additional.

The Lal Maas was average ( having eaten it the previous day at Shiv Niwas , we used that as a benchmark) . The food was not spicy at all and was made keeping a non Indian patron in mind ( though Rajasthani food is essentially known to be spicy and this is not the right meal for one who would like to enjoy the true flavours of Mewar) .

The meal was followed by Gajjar ka Halwa for the Vegetarian Thali & Gulab Jamun for the Non veg Thali . I must admit that I really enjoyed the Gulab Jamun and it did redeem the meal for me especially since Rs 2500 for a Thali of average food is not really justified by even the best view especially when the staff is over chatty and a bit annoying because they hover around and don’t know when the guests would like to be left alone.

The thing that upset us most was that the bill arrived and we were charged a flat Rs 3000 + taxes for just the food and the drinks were charged for separately , something that had not been clarified by the staff at the reception. The difference in the amount was small yet the attitude of the staff especially the manager of the restaurant was upsetting who kept arguing and then realizing our point said ok for you I will just charge as per the menu + drinks included as per cost ! This too was done in a way that left us feeling obliged for an average meal & poor staff etiquette.

All in all our experience at Lebua was average due to the staffs attitude and average food but I would still recommend you to check it out for the view !

Food to try : Galoti Kebab & Gulab Jamun , good for people who don’t like spicy food.

Food to Skip : Laal Mass & Thali or atleast specify you like the food to be spicy.

Drinks : We ordered a glass of bubbly each and they served us from a pre opened ( from the day before !! ) bottle of Sula Brut & the lady attending our table did not know how to pour it and kept on chatting along even after pouring it , which in my opinion is a big no no when it comes to bubbly !

View : Fantastic view and beautiful property

Location : Outskirts of Udaipur , good for an older couple who wants to stay in the property and not really spend too much time sightseeing .

Value for Money : 2/5 because of average food and poor staff , which is a pity for such a beautiful property and such a good brand name.

#ineedaholiday

There comes a point in the year when your body is itching to take a break from the mundane and annoying Life that we lead. Some people have many such points in their year, yours truly being one such ‘gifted’ individual. I often joke that I “will work to travel” if life would give me the chance to.

I am a social and fun loving person, who is flexible with the quality of my holiday (can range from a backpacking trip with friends to a 7 star luxury stay) just as long as it’s a new place and I have my camera Jand good food of course!!! 

With the Financial year coming to a close this weekend, I think the time has come for me to plan the next trip. The last year was a kind year for the traveler in me. I managed 13 small trips – 3 of which were international and exceptional as it was, I hope to do at least 6 trips – of which at least 2 should be international and to new destinations. 

So far this year has been a boring one on the travel front 😦 by this time 2011 had me take 3 trips to Sri Lanka , Delhi and Indore and 2 of them were first time ever visits. 

I think my time to travel this year will begin with trip #1 to my favorite place in India – GOA. I did 2 trips to Goa last year and though my first ever visit to Goa was only in 2005, since then I have visited the city 8 times.

Goa in the 2nd week of April will be HOT but it will be a fun trip – my friend Avi is getting married to the love of her life J( yayyy) and we are all heading to the beach city to make it a memorable wedding. Given that it’s on the beach ( and given I missed Miss Malini’s FUNtastic Goa Wedding in Feb due to crazy work deadlines) I really am looking forward to it and have 20 days to whip myself into beach worthy shape.

I have been struggling with my recently gained 3-4 kgs and while I have managed to drop about half a kg since I last whined about it online I still have an easy 3.5 kgs to go. This calls for an extreme measure ( crazy running and working out) and control on my diet ( so difficult thanks to the wonderful foodies I have for friends !). 

Beach body or not – GOAAAAaaaaaa here I come, 20 days and counting down! 🙂 

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The Journey begins…

Confucius said – A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.That step can seem so easy afar , yet up close it seems like a leap of faith…Out from the warm embrace of routine and regularity,one must step into the Big Bad world…..Armed with dreams and hopes and drive and grit one can only hope to face up to what’s instore….and pray that only the best may happen….Fingers crossed 🙂