{X} Xenodocheinology: For the love of hotels

Have you ever experienced Xenodocheinology?

Part of the travel experience, for me, is choosing the hotel. Our travel philosophy is to utilize the maximum resources on sightseeing and shopping, and keeping a very limited budget for our hotel stay.

If you thought limited budget = seedy little hotel/backpacker’s hostels/soulless hotels, think again. A little research is all it takes to find charming places to lay your head down at the end of a day of hard sightseeing.

A few of my absolute favorites are

The courtyard @ Inn Seventh Heaven

The courtyard @ Inn Seventh Heaven

Inn Seventh Heaven, Pushkar – Comfortable rooms, beautiful color schemes, friendly staff, a quiet, green courtyard and a lovely roof terrace make this our go-to place at Pushkar. We’ve driven down here for a holiday on numerous occasions, only to stay at Inn Seventh Heaven again.

Infinity pool, Samode Palace

Samode Palace, Samode – Known as one of the best Palace Hotels in Rajasthan, Samode is a place you must visit at least once. To be sure, it does not fall into the budget category by any stretch of the imagination, but considering that you will be doing nothing much except staying at the palace and driving down to the quaint village at the bottom of the palace, this is one extravagance that is totally worth it!

The library @ Arya Niwas

The library @ Arya Niwas

Arya Niwas, Jaipur – Although it’s been called a soulless hotel for a busy executive, for some reason, I love this place. It’s where we stay every time we visit Jaipur, and we visit Jaipur quite frequently. The green lawns, where you can sit sipping a cold coffee in the evening, the restaurant, which serves some yummy food, and the bonzais in the corridor will make you fall in love with this place.

So, have you ever experienced xenodocheinology?

{W} The Kindness Revolution: Why worry?

“People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold.” ~ John Jay Chapman
OK, fess up! How often do you find yourself, brows furrowed, chewing your bottom lip, running through some crazy, made-up scenarios in your head? Or obsessing over something someone said to you, something that you forgot to do, or second-guessing a decision you took? At that moment, it seems like your life as you know it is over!

I’m also willing to bet that most of us have, at some time or the other, had this continuous loop playing in our head:

Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God what am I going to do how am I going to do it Oh My God my life is over!

This, generally, is the loop that plays in my head when I’ve left something for the last minute (and I do it often…and then I hyperventilate…) or when I can’t find my car keys and I’m already late for work…you get the drift, right?

I cannot count the number of times I have looked back at those moments of intense worry and laughed at myself for hyperventilating the way I did. And this brought me to an important realization:

If there is a solution that can be found to my problem, or if I can fix a particular situation I find myself in, it’s pointless to hyperventilate. All that worrying only increases stress levels and the time it takes to fix a problem. And if I come up against something that I can’t fix, what is the point of worrying? It won’t help me in any way!

on-worry-dalai-lama

So here’s a revolutionary act of kindness for you to adopt: Try to look forward a year or so and ask yourself: will this situation, problem, decision, really matter a year or two years from now? Will I even remember this situation that is causing me so much worry?

When you view things from this perspective, you realize that so many things that you focus your worry or your attention on…so many things that you think are vitally important…are really not…they’re just distractions. If you stop worrying about them, you free up time that you can use to focus on the things that really matter to you…that will make a difference to your life a year…two years…three or more years from now.

Are you ready to banish worry to the wayside? Will you join me in the kindness revolution?

Got any tips and strategies to share? Or maybe you have some questions, thoughts, or different opinions? Whatever the case – I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

{V} V for Victory

As I was curled up on the sofa engrossed in a book, I suddenly heard Pepo grumbling deep in her throat. Looking up, I saw her sitting on the window, absolutely alert, looking like she was ready to strike something. Curiousity spiked, I uncurled from the sofa and walked over to see what had her hackles raised. Out on the balcony, oblivious to the threatening cat behind a closed window, were these birds, strutting around, preening and grooming themselves. I grabbed Pepo and put her into another room, ran for my camera (the Sony H5) and fired off a few quick shots. This one is my favorite from that afternoon.

PS: No animals were harmed during the course of this photo shoot. Pepo is a house cat; she isn’t allowed outdoors unsupervised.

PPS: Pepo was my first cat; she died last January. This is a post from my photoblog, which I plan to discontinue due to lack of time. I will be transitioning all those posts and doing more photography-related posts right here.

{U} Travel Postcard #8: Under the Indian Sun

City Palace, Udaipur

The Indian summer makes outdoor eating a rather difficult proposition, except during the winter. And when the setting is such, within the City Palace at Udaipur, how can you pass up the chance to grab a quick bite under the umbrella, enjoying the  people and the ambiance around you?

Tell us about a memorable meal from your travels!

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{T} Travel Postcard #7: Tibetan Prayer Wheels

Tibetan-prayer-wheel

Traditionally, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Sanskrit on the outside of the wheel. Also sometimes depicted are Dakinis, Protectors and very often the 8 auspicious symbols Ashtamangala. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition based on the lineage texts regarding prayer wheels, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers. – Wikipedia.com

Every time I visit a monastery, I am struck by a few things: the cleanliness and aura of peacefulness; the gorgeous, brightly colored tangka paintings and murals adorning the walls; the larger-than-life statutes of the various avatars of Buddha, and the prayer wheel outside most monasteries.

Every time I walk around a monastery, running my hand along the prayer wheels, I feel a sense of peace and calm descend over me. Once, I even managed to work through a particular problem that had been plaguing me since a while. Monasteries, along with churches, often have this effect on me.

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