Hotel – 2 : Chennai [ Hotel Golden Tower ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 12 , 2012           01. 30 A.M.

Two days back on July 10 , 2012 , I posted my first blog about Hotels & Hospitality . Today I am posting my second blog in this category . First one was about a Udaipur hotel and this is about a hotel in Chennai .

Last year I visited Tirupati and was there for three days . I was there on November 21 , 22 & 23 , 2011 . On November 24 , 2011 I reached Chennai by Garudeshwar Express and checked into Hotel Golden Tower .

Chennai in India

Chennai in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location of Hotel Golden Tower

Location of Hotel Golden Tower

Exterior View - Hotel Golden Tower

Exterior View – Hotel Golden Tower

Hotel Golden Tower is less than 1 km. from Chennai Central Railway Station . Location of this hotel is so convenient that if you have light luggage , you can drag your trolley bags and could walk to the hotel . Egmore Railway Station is just little far away but still quite approachable .

Its location is major attraction of this 2 Star property . Its rooms are spacious and full of natural light . Air conditioned rooms were nicely painted and are not claustrophobic , which I hate .

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

Study table near bed was conveniently placed . It was big and had a huge table lamp . Room had multiple sockets for charging your mobiles and laptops , which is so necessary today and which many hotel rooms lack or they simply don’t care .

Bathroom is rightly positioned in one corner of the room and is quite spacious and well – lit . Wardrobe is huge and clean . Naphthalene balls were thrown inside the wardrobe for nice smell .

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

It has wonderful multi cuisine veg restaurant at the ground floor . 24 hour Travel desk is also very efficient and helping .

Only negative point of this excellent hotel is its room service , which is not very efficient . May be language problem is a reason . Same was the case with reception . But I am willing to give them benefit of doubt because of the huge language barrier .

I stayed there for just 1 day and on November 25 , 2011 left for Vaitheeswarankoil and Puducherry . I had decided that after my return I will check into another hotel . But when I returned on November 29 , 2011 , I again chose Hotel Golden Tower and stayed there for 2 more days . I think its location and its restaurant could be the major reason for me to again stay in this hotel .

If you are willing to stay in a budget hotel in Chennai , which is centrally located , then Hotel Golden Tower is highly recommended by me .

My rating for this hotel is 3 Star out of 5 .

Address : 78 , E. V. R. Periyar High Road Periyamet , Chennai – 600 003

Website : http://www.goldentowerchennai.com

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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Hotel – 1 : Udaipur [ Hotel Akshay Niwas ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 10 , 2012           11.15 P.M.

I have always admired two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors of my country . They are Ms. Anupama Chopra and Mr. Vir Sanghvi .

Ms. Anupama Chopra is a film journalist , who writes her movie review columns in Hindustan Times and India Today . She also writes for international papers like ; The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times , Variety and Sight & Sound and she also writes and anchors her well – known TV shows ” Picture This “ on NDTV 24 x 7  and ” The Front Row “ on Star World channel .

Mr. Vir Sanghvi is a political journalist , writes his column about Food & Culinary and Hotel & Hospitality in Sunday Brunch of Hindustan Times and also presents his famous shows ” A Matter of Taste “ on Discovery channel and ” Custom Made for Vir Sanghvi “ on NDTV Good Times . His other two successful TV shows are ” Foodistan “ for NDTV Good Times and ” Achievers Club “ on Star World .

Wow , what a life man ! They both have authored several books also . And they are globe – trotting celebrities . It’s a life worth living when you are get paid to live in 5 / 7 star hotels . You are offered best of cuisines on platter and instead of you paying the bill , you are offered money in lieu of tasting that exotic food . You interview mightiest of stars in swanky hotels and demand and get remuneration for it . God , this is the life I fancy !!

I always wanted to be like them . I wanted to do what they have done and would love to write on several subjects as they do .

Therefore I started writing , though tentatively , my travel diaries . Then slowly I wrote few blogs on Food & Culinary also . This is my first blog on Hotel & Hospitality . I have clubbed these three topics in a category called Vidur’s Random Musings on my blog space . I know these blogs are very amateurish , but as I have stated earlier , I am simply trying to emulate the above mentioned two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors .

I am a wanderer . Initially when I started travelling , I used to stay in ordinary , cheap hotels . So there is nothing to write about them . I can say without hesitation that my first stay in a decent hotel was when I visited Udaipur on October 04 , 2010 .

I was called to train Dev Patel for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel by the production team .

Stars of ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “ were staying in Udaivilas Palace Hotel and the director and his team members were staying at Hotel Trident . I have posted photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel and Hotel Trident in my blog ” Vidur’s Travel Diary : Udaipur ” .

I was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel , which is very close to these iconic hotels of Udaipur . Its exterior is like typical havelis of Rajasthan . If you don’t know that this is a hotel then you might confuse it with a residence of a wealthy Rajasthani family .

Reception area and the lobby of this 4 storied Akshay Niwas Hotel are also very spacious , airy and sunlit .

The Lobby

The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

When I entered my room on the 3rd floor , I found it exceptionally spacious . Some hotel rooms are so claustrophobic that you feel suffocated in them . But not here . Spacious room , huge windows , equally huge bathroom and a room to keep my bags and baggage , wow , I felt nice .

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

While going through the above posted photos , you can feel that the sun-kissed room is airy and full of light .

The bathroom is adorned with anti – skid tiles and is more spacious than the hall of some of the flats of Mumbai .

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

One plus point which I would like to mention is that the room has many plug sockets , so that you can charge your multiple mobile phones and can also work on your laptop simultaneously . Some hotel rooms don’t have enough sockets and you have to struggle to recharge your mobiles and laptops , specially when you don’t have enough time . But not here . They have taken extra care .

If you open the windows , you can feel the aroma of fresh and pure wind coming from Aravali Hills . If you decide to switch of the air conditioner and just open the windows , fresh wind and enough sunlight will force you to think that you are in another world .

It is a feeling which is unimaginable in Mumbai .

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View from My Hotel Room

View from My Hotel Room

View of Udaipur from My Room's Window

View of Udaipur from My Room’s Window

Maintenance of the hotel is praiseworthy . Room service is prompt and quick and food is delicious .

Staff is courteous and well – behaved .

If you are not going for star hotels and looking for budget hotel in Udaipur , this Akshay Niwas Hotel is highly recommended by me .

I would love to give it 4 star out of 5 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 2 : Tirupati


CHENNAI – TAMIL NADU – INDIA            NOVEMBER 25 , 2011              07.00 A.M.

First of all I must express regret that I am writing my Travel Diary after a long time . My last Travel Diary was about my Udaipur visit in October 10 , 2010 . After that I did visit few places but could not write anything . On November 20 , 2011 , when I started my journey to Tirupati for pilgrimage and vacation , I thought that it is right time to start writing Travel Diaries again . With my wife and son , I started my journey for Tirupati from Mumbai on November 20th and reached Renigunta on 21st afternoon . I stared clicking photographs and tried to post blog from Tirupati but insufficient network coverage failed my attempts every time . I resigned to my fate and gave up .

On November 24th , when I reached Chennai , I decided to complete and post my blog about Tirupati visit . Sitting in my room in Hotel Golden Tower , I am remembering things about Tirupati visit and writing this blog .

Tirupati is a small town in Andhra Pradesh . It is just 4 hours drive away from Chennai . It has nothing except the world-famous Balaji temple . Though it is not known to many that the famous temple is not in Tirupati town but at Tirumala Hills .One can reach Tirupati by air and train . It has two stations ; Renigunta and Tirupati .

Tirupati Raiway Station

There are several hotels for spartan or luxurious stay. And then you can hire a cab for Tirumala Hills . Buses are also available in plenty .

I took a cab from my hotel and started my journey on 22nd November , early morning . A giant idol of Shri Garud ji welcomes devotees at the gate of Tirumala Hills . After that climb to the hills starts .

Idol of Shri Garud Ji

When you climb the hill after crossing the idol of Shri Garud ji , you drive through lush green and verdant forest . Watching sunrise while driving is always pleasure .

Sun Rises at Tirumala Hills

Sun Rises at Tirumala Hills

Crossing lush green forest through zig – zag and extremely well maintained road , one reaches Tirumala .

Road to Tirumala

And suddenly the grand , heavenly gate of the temple appears in front of your eyes . Idols of Jay and Vijay , the mythical gate – keepers of Vaikunth , stand here also and gret you .

Gate of Tirupati Balaji Temple ; Jay & Vijay stand as Guard

And after crossing the gate one reaches the temple , which stands tall and magnificent .

With My Wife : Shri Balaji Temple in the Background

Since cameras are not allowed in the campus , I could not click photos inside the temple . After visiting the deity , I stood near the queue – gate and clicked one more and last photo .

Pathway to the Gate , Where Queue Starts

I drove back to Tirupati and to my horror found that I forgot the Mannat , for which I came . It was regarding my dead mother . So next day < that is on November 23 , 2011 , I again went for second Darshanam and completed the Mannat .

I have visited Tirupati 4 times , but only on this visit I went for Darshanam second time . So it comes to 4 visits to the town and 5 Darshanams . On November 24 , when I started for Chennai , I looked back at the town and decided that I would be visiting the shrine soon . Suddenly few lines of famous Hindi poet Agyeya occurred to my mind :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय
VIDUR

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 1 : Udaipur [ B ]


I posted my blog about Udaipur trip from Udaipur. Next day I returned to Mumbai and immersed in hectic life style. I wanted to post the second part of my blog  immediately but was unable to do so because of various factors, specially my busy schedule. Since I am through with various pending works , so I decided to complete the blog today. After visiting City Palace and the famous Pichola Lake and Fateh Sagar Lake, I decide to visit other famous places on the outskirts of Udaipur. First visit was to SAHELION KI BADI :

1 – The Entrance of Sahelion Ki Badi;

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2 – The Fountain & Swimming Pool inside Sahelion Ki Badi:

=============================================== 3 – The lotus Pond of Sahelion Ki Badi :

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After Sahelion Ki Badi, it was the turn of MOTI MAGRI. It is a grand memorial of Maharana Pratap, built on the top of a hill.

1 – A Bird’s View of Moti Magri – Maharana Pratap Memorial :

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2 – The Statue of Maharana Pratap at the Memorial :

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It is sacrilege to be in Udaipur and not to visit Haldighati, the famous battleground of the war between Maharana Pratap and the forces of Akbar. I was dyeing for the pilgrimage but my work schedule in Udaipur was not permitting me. One day my session with Dev Patel got cancelled and I got this golden opportunity to visit Haldighati. I hired a cab and rushed to Haldighati. When I reached the famous pass, I had goosebumps. I became numb. Apart from Panipat and Khanwa, Haldighati is the third most famous battleground in Indian History and here I was entering there, right there ;

1 – The Pass of the Haldighati Battlefield :

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2 – Anther View of the same Haldighati Pass :

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3 – Gate of Rakta Talai, where actual battle took place :

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4 – Another View of Rakta Talai :

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5 – The Entrance of Chetak Samadhi :

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6- Replica of Haldighati at Moti Magri :

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After visiting Haldighati, I went into trance. I felt as if  in my previous birth, I was also there in the army of Maharana Pratap. I could feel the place. I have just one humble suggestion that the place should have been preserved in its pristine form and not as the modern park, which I got to see. But anyway, I am still dazed.

Vidur

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

http://www.vidur.co.in

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 1 : Udaipur [ A ]


I always fancied Mr. Vir Sanghvi‘s flair for writing on the topics as varied as politics, food, wine and travel. It would be asinine for me to compare myself with legendary Vir Sanghvi, but I do have some flair for writing on politics and films. Though I always fancied and wanted to write on Travel and Food also. But I did not want to start my travel writing on some pleasure trip. I wanted to write about a visit , about a trip which is worthwhile. And I found an opportunity now. I was called to Udaipur to train Dev Patel of  ” Slumdog Millionaire ” fame as  dialogue coach by the team of a British film, ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “. The film being directed by Mr. John Madden, who incidentally directed ” Shakespeare in Love “, is a comedy based in Rajasthan. I can’t disclose more about the film at this juncture. I will write a separate blog on my this international foray, later on.

Maharana Pratap by Raja Ravi Varma ((1848 CE -...

Image via Wikipedia - Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

I took 11.00 AM flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai on October 04, 2010 and landed at Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur at 12.15 PM. I was thrilled, as Udaipur is the part of Mewar, kingdom of Sisodia Rajputs. It is the clan which gave birth to warriors like Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sanga and Maharana Pratap. This clan is known by the names of  queens like Maharani Padmini and Maharani [ later on Saint Poetess ] like Meera Bai. It is the land of  Jaimal and Patta and of Panna Dhai, who sacrificed her own son for the safety of the crown prince Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap. It is the land of Haldighati. I got goose bumps when I landed at the Maharana Pratap Airport of Udaipur. I was received at the airport by Casting Director Seher Latif and was driven straightaway to Udaivilas Palace Hotel.

UDAIVILAS PALACE HOTEL :

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I had read about this hotel in the column – Rude Travel , of Vir Singhvi, a weekly column which he writes in the Sunday edition of Hindustan Times – Cafe. I was anticipating the grandeur but what I saw , left me awestruck and numb. Udaivilas Palace Hotel is simply beyond words. When I came out my car and started walking inside, the entrance, the courtyard, the lobby and the elegant galleries leading towards the suites left me speechless. There were several people continuously working for the upkeep. No wonder Udaivilas is so immaculately maintained. I have special place in my heart for the staff of this hotel. They are courtessy personified, very polite and humble. I have some really bad experience with the snooty staff of some of the lesser known hotels. But I will always remember warm smile and polite namaste with folded hands of the staff of Udaivilas Palace Hotel. Their dresses are also elegantly done. I don’t have enough money to stay here on my own. But if ever I have my coffers full by any chance, I shall come with my family and stay here for at least one night. It is an earnest wish. I am putting some photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel here :

1 – Main Entrance of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :

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2 – The Courtyard of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :

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3 – The Courtyard – One More View

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4 – The Corridors Leading Towards Suites :

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5 – A Suite of Udaivilas Palace Hotel

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Udaipur – The City :

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This last capital of Mewar was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559. It is surrounded by Aravalli Hills and adorned by several natural and man – made lakes. It is because of this that Udaipur is known as the Venice of the East. Its largest lake Fateh Sagar looks like this :

CITY PALACE :

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Udaipur/Rajasthan/India City Palace

Image via Wikipedia

Ferguson has described City Palace as the largest in Rajputana.  Situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, it is not a uniformed structure. It is a cluster of buildings, made by every ruler as per his needs, whims and fancies since 1571. Nevertheless it is a spectacle to watch. On one side there is the magnificent view of Udaipur city and on the other side there is beautiful Lake Pichola.

The exterior of the Palace ;

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The Manak Mahal :

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The Khush Mahal :

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It is not possible to write the complete account of Udaipur in one blog. So I am concluding it today and shall write another blog about other places of Udaipur and about immortal Haldighati. In the last I am putting a photo of Mor Chouk of City Palace. This is the same peacock, which Dev Anand shows to the tourists in his film ” Guide “.

Vidur

Udaipur – Rajasthan – India

http://www.vidur.co.in

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