Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seven jyotirlings, Thirteen days

This summer (2013) we decided to drive around and try to see maximum number of Jyotirlings that we can see in 11 days. This post is just to capture what happened. Following were the jyotirlings that we covered as part of this trip.
  1. Ghrishneswar Temple near Aurangabad in Maharashtra
  2. Bhimshankar Temple, Maharashtra
  3. Trimbakeshwar Temple near Nashik, Maharashtra
  4. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
  5. Nageshwar Temple near Dwarka, Gujarat
  6. Omkareshwar near Indore, Madhya Pradesh
  7. Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Following is the itinerary that we followed.
  1. 06-April-2013 Left Bangalore, reached Pune for night stay
  2. 07-April-2013 Left Pune and reached Aurangabad, planned night stay in Aurangabad. In the after noon, visited Ghrishneshwar temple and Ellora Caves. Both are next to each other
  3. 08-April-2013 Drove to Bhimshankar, after darshan continued to Nashik and stayed night in Nashik
  4. 09-April-2013 Went to Trimbakeshwar. Darshan took longest here. Temple seems very popular with devotees so one must plan for couple of hours for darshan even on lean days. Continued driving to Ahmedabad for night stay
  5. 10-April-2013 Stay in Ahmedabad for relaxation.
  6. 11-April-2013 Drove to Sasan Gir stayed night
  7. 12-April-2013 Stayed in Sasan Gir for safari
  8. 13-April-2013 Left for Somnath Temple. Reached around 10am. This place looks most commercial of all the jyotirlings. Continued driving to Dwarka. Stayed night
  9. 14-April-2013 Did darshan at Nageshwar Temple and also visited Dwarkadhish and Bhet Dwarka
  10. 15-April-2013 Drove to Surat. We decided to drive to Indore via Surat because we got very bad opinion on direct national highway from Ahmedabad to Indore. We were sure that road to Indore from Surat via Dhule is good, so we decide to drive longer.
  11. 16-April-2013 Drove to Indore, reached night
  12. 17-April-2013 rest day
  13. 18-April-2013 Visited Omkareshwar in the morning and Mahakaleshwar in the evening.
Most of the route that we followed, roads were good. Detailed travelog for the journey would come up later at my other drive blog at Bimmer India.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Life, what can I say, is interesting

As I am driving around the country, I landed up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I generally would have waited to write this post till the end of the trip, but life turned so interesting today, that I had to do it now before I regained my composure.
I am staying in a no-service chain of a popular five-star hotel in the city and because of them being no service hotel, they don't have an in-house restaurant. There is another restaurant in the same building which is called Asia Kitchen.
I visited them yesterday and the food was really good quality. We were generally satisfied with the food and service. When I reached the hotel room and was generally looking at the bill, I realized that they had charged me Rs. 125/- for a bottle of water. That sounded little excessive to me because even in Bangalore five star hotels the bottled water was never that expensive. Also, this was no fancy water brand, it was regular Himalaya. Just to confirm, I looked at the water bottle, which is generally priced Rs. 20/-, was labeled Rs. 40/-.
So, when we decided to visit next evening again for dinner, we picked up a couple of water bottles from the vending machine in the hotel where it still cost Rs. 15- for half-liter bottle. Our decision made life really interesting. As we landed up at the restaurant and got a table, here is the conversation went on.

Waiter: Sir bottled water or regular water?
Me: We don't need water, we have our own.
Waiter: No sir, you either take bottled water or regular water, outside food item not allowed.
Me: What? you won't allow me to bring my own water, I can't drink regular water and your water is priced Rs. 125/-
Waiter: No sir, that is our policy
Me: Please let me know if you won't allow to drink our water, then we can leave and go somewhere else.
Waiter: (mumbles something...)
Me: Can you confirm with your manager? Let us know and we will leave if you don't want us.
Waiter: Ok.
At this time the waiter leaves and in a few minutes, the manager comes to our table.
Manager: Sir, it seems you have got the bottles from the hotel vending machine, it is Ok. 
Me: How can you recognize that these are from the hotel vending machine? I could have brought it from anywhere. How can refuse somebody to bring their own water? At this time my wife chimes in that one many have special needs for water e.g. boiled water etc. and they may bring their own water.
Manager: Sir, we are just following what the owners have decided for us.
Me: I get that, but can you give feedback to your owners that they are marking up water too high, even higher than most five-star hotels.
Manager: Ok, sir I will do that and I apologize but you should understand that we are just employees and we don't decide on prices.
Me: Ok.
At this time life suddenly turns super interesting. There is a European couple in the table next to us who joins the conversation.
European Couple Husband: I think you should leave this restaurant.
Me: Maybe I will, but that is for me to decide.
European Couple Wife: They are running a restaurant and they need to make a profit.
Me: Yes, but not by marking up packaged drinking water.
ECH: I think you should leave this restaurant.
Me: (ignores)
At this time the hotel staff is feeling very nervous, the manager is already apologizing to us and another employee goes to their table and starts apologizing to them.
ECW: I think you should never visit Europe?
Me: I am not in Europe, am I?
Now I am furious, I almost want to do some physical damage somewhere, but in the name of "Incredible India" and " Khushbu Gujarat Ki" I decide to keep quiet and not continue the conversation anymore with hotel staff or guests.