Despite 15+ hours of air travel with a stopover in Doha, Qatar I was wide awake when I landed in Mumbai at 2:30A. I did get a number of three hour “naps” during the flight, thanks to the flat bed seats, bedding and a pair of pajamas, gifted by Qatar Airlines
It was after 4A when I finally arrived at the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai. By that time I had already made acquaintance with half the group that I would be traveling with – a fun, intelligent and lively group of Texans who, like myself had been to India before under the tutelage of one incomparable guide, Vishal. In fact, many had come on the trip specifically because Vishal would again be the guide – couldn’t agree more!
Vishal wasn’t the only familiar welcome sight in returning to India – I had stayed at the Taj Palace Hotel on the first stop of a tour of the Northern section of India a few years ago. Plans to visit more of India were pandemic delayed, but now I was back and there were many warm welcome reminders. First there was the rangoli on my room foyer floor pictured at the top. Rangoli is decoration drawn on the floor or the entrances of homes and is thought to bring good luck, prosperity on the house and in the family, and to welcome guests. A new rangoli appeared each day of my stay:
i am not an architect , but the angles and planes of the hotel’s interior also was a reminder of my previous stay- I am still mesmerized by it:
The last two photos are of the infamous grand staircase leading up to the iconic dome. The massive, 240-foot high central dome still serves as the official daytime triangulation point for ships of the Indian Navy. Here it is from poolside:
Even the hallways were beautiful, as is evident by this pic showing the main floor access to a number of the Taj’s fine restaurants. It also has sentimental significance to me:
One element I was not familiar with was the renowned Afternoon Tea at the Sea Lounge. Wearing my most frilly blouse, I secured a window seat that not only offered great view of the Gateway to India, but also would offer great post sunset views with help from my camera’s telephoto lens:
The real prize was indulging in the Maharaja Afternoon tea. This is the description:
A Royal Charlie selection of mouthwatering savouries and sweet delicacies treasured by the Princely States of India. Indulge in it with Villa Sandi Asolo Prosecco Superiore Brut NV
And what a repast it was:
The selections by the chef were amazing – savory dishes like Sheer Khurma, Dahi Ke Kebab, Nimona Tiki, Biryani, tamarind, chutney and yogurt adorned Sev Puri, Dahivada, Bhel Puri and Pani Puri, crispy Pakora and many varieties of sweets.
I paired this seemingly endless offering with a delicious Elder Berries Tea:
Fruity and sweet tisane made with apple, elderberry, rosehip peels, blackberries, raspberry, hibiscus and sour cherry pieces
There was no way I could eat all the selections and a sweet couple next to me were very happy to take some samples. All in all a delicious way to begin my second visit to India. A few days are to be spent in Mumbai, and then off to the South.
Lots to come!