How is Iruttukadai Halwa made

The tiger show starts at six in the morning

The tiger show starts at six in the morning
India Travel 76 JANUARY 31, 2010 MESSAGES Sunset cocktail on the 34th floor MUMBAI The party scene in India has a new point of contact: the open-air bar Aer has just opened on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai. The lights of the chaotic metropolis blink beneath you while you sip a sweet cocktail. www.fourseasons.com Lucky route with Relais & Châteaux DELHI The Relais & Châteaux hotel group is expanding its presence in India. The Sher Bagh Hotel in Rajasthan and the Neeleshwar Heritage in Kerala are now part of the renowned association. Since Relais & Châteaux now has five locations on the subcontinent, tourists keen to enjoy can travel a “Route du Bonheur” and stay primarily in accommodations with the R&C logo. www.relaischateaux.com Big safari at a low price DELHI The German tour specialist E-Columbus has launched a safari through the national parks of Rajasthan. On the eight-day tour, which is specifically aimed at India beginners, you can observe big cats and hundreds of species of birds. You can also visit Jaipur, Delhi and of course the Taj Mahal. The trip takes place on dates in May, August and September and costs from 929 euros / person. www.e-kolumbus.de loners: tigers prefer soft sand paths BY STEFANIE RIGUTTO (TEXT) AND ELISABETH REAL (PHOTOS) Former palace is hotel of the year JODHPUR The palace hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace, the jewel in the portfolio of the luxury group Taj Hotels, was designed by Gallivanter's Guide named Hotel of the Year. The “wow factor” is greatest at this hotel, explained the editor of the newsletter. The palace previously served as the headquarters of the Jodhpur royal family and now has 64 rooms and suites. www.tajhotels.com BOOK TIP From village boy to chauffeur in Delhi, from murderer to philosopher and entrepreneur: Balram Halwai - the “white tiger”, as he calls himself - leaves every station. The first-person narration is a critical, unadorned look at an India without colorful saris, but with cockroaches, prostitutes and modern slave drivers. You can learn more about life in India from Aravind Adiga's novel than from any travel guide. Aravind Adiga: “The White Tiger”, Verlag CH Beck, CHF 35.90 INSIDER Sharp India highlights by author Bruno Ziauddin: with tropical charm and a view of the elephant herd on the opposite bank from the private terrace: the Hotel Lake Palace in the Periyar Wildlife Resort is one of the most enchanting places in Kerala - and affordable. www.lakepalacethekkady.com q In the far south of Tamil Nadu is the Tirunelveli provincial nest (okay: 400,000 inhabitants and 2000 years of history). Here you can find the best halva in all of India, oh well: from all of Asia. In the dark shop. It is so legendary that it has already been immortalized in Tamil pop songs. Only open after sunset, hence the name. Iruttukadai Halwa, Madurai Road, Tirunelveli Junction. q A lamb curry from my aunt Jawahar Nisha for breakfast. After that you are guaranteed to be awake. Bruno Ziauddin's new book has just been published by Rowohlt: “Curry Connection - How I got five aunts, 34 cousins ​​and a new name” PHOTO: MARCEL KOCH q Colonial glamor, a butler Vibhav calls himself a naturalist - but he wears clothes. The 33-year-old is a trained wildlife specialist and guides us through the Kanha National Park in central India. His sand-colored hat shows what this safari should be about: the head of the Royal Bengal Tiger is emblazoned on it. The steps of our jeep are also shaped like a tiger's paw. It's six in the morning, we're waiting with four other jeeps for the rangers to let us into the tiger reserve. The park rangers stand around in groups and joke. It's bitterly cold, there are blankets on our knees. Finally, the barrier opens. We suck in the fresh wind with relish, after the smog from Delhi it seems like pure oxygen. Getting out of the jeep is forbidden, emphasizes Vibhav and tells a horror story as a deterrent, which is about a tiger, a tourist and a lot of blood. The sun rises slowly and bathes the meadows in warm light. After just a few hundred meters, langur monkeys are sitting on the street, they jump from tree to tree, nibble on leaves, hug and have fun. The gray-beige animals have a beautiful face, dark eyes and a long tail, which they keep straight as a pin when they run. The path goes up and down, over stones, through streams - you get pretty shaken. Vibhav sounds the alarm and points to the ground: a paw print. "A female," he whispers. The tracks are fresh. The tigers, according to Vibhav, would like to run on the street because of the sand. "It's pleasant on her soft paws." We make the next stop at a pile of excrement, which is carefully analyzed (“not a tiger, but a bear”, says Vibhav). A herd of axis deer, slender, red-brown creatures with white spots, grazes in a meadow - the ideal food for tigers. Over 20,000 axis deer live in the park, the tigers do not have to go hungry. Wild boars dig in the ground next to them, and the tiger does not disdain them either. Only: where is the jungle monarch? Footprints and feces are just two of the features that can be used to track down a tiger. The most reliable means On safari: tourists wait in jeeps for the shy big cat PHOTO: JUNIORS are the alarm cries of the langurs, also known as the “guardians of the jungle”. Now they sound: rough, dark tones. Kanha National Park is considered to be one of the best places in India to spot tigers. When the 2000 square kilometer park was declared a reserve in the 1970s, only a few dozen tigers lived here. Today there are 86, minus the one-year-old animal that was killed by a rival a few months ago - which was worth the top headline for the local newspaper. Kanha is the only park in India that offers the tiger show. Sitting on elephants, Mahouds, elephant trainers, comb through the thicket, follow in the footsteps of the majestic animals and inform the jeeps by radio when they have seen a tiger and determine where it is going so that the tourists can watch it. If the tiger settles down to rest near a street, the Mahouds ship the tourists to the elephants in order to bring them very close to the animal - the tiger show. The tiger show starts at six in the morning. In rural central India, you can enjoy the relaxed life, eat heavenly - and track down big cats. Some of the children call us “potato dough”, others cry. The park's landscape is varied, the dense forest “riddled” with grass - a work of man. Before Kanha became a national park, there were villages here. Today you can still see the outlines of the lower rice fields in some places. The people of these villages were resettled in the buffer zone, for example in the village of Samnapur, where the Chitvan Lodge for tourists has also been located for two years. The twelve rooms are pretty, with large glass windows - should a tiger get lost here. The highlight of the resort, however, is head chef Manjay. You thought the Indian around the corner from you could cook well? What we were presented with at the Chitvan Lodge puts pretty much everything in terms of vegetarian cuisine in the darkest shade. The vegetables from the hotel's large garden are seasoned and prepared in such a sophisticated way that the desire for a hearty beef burger (a rarity in the land where the cow is sacred) is forgotten. Deep-fried okra, cream cheese with an exotic tomato sauce, spicy cauliflower, an erfri Village school on the edge of the national park: «We don't take Europe until the 9th grade through» Samnapur residents: «These people are even more shy than the tigers» Chitvan Lodge: Chef Manjay prepares ingeniously seasoned vegetable skewers for potato salad with onions, coriander and lime juice - it's a pleasure! Every day Manjay serves a different flatbread, sometimes naan, sometimes chappati, sometimes roti. The Chitvan Lodge is not just a hotel: the director Ashwani Agarwal, son of a Gandhi social worker from Delhi, has combined a very private aid project with his dream of living in the country. Sustainability is his favorite word. "Everything that is needed here should be made here," he says. It starts with the bricks that are manufactured in the backyard, to the food, to the solar oven, which is used to cook rice, for example. He only employs people from the village and trains them right away. Anyway, the whole of Samnapur benefits from the lodge: It was only with the hotel generator that electricity came to these remote spots in the middle of nowhere. The director wants to show us «Goris» (whites) the 1200-soul village and takes us to the school, which is only a few steps away from the lodge. "The government provides uniforms, books and lunch free of charge," says the school principal. We are skeptical and remember the book "The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga, in which the Indian author scoffs at principals who sell the uniforms in markets. However, this school seems to be a prime example. A world map hangs on the wall in the 8th grade room. The teacher asks who knows where Switzerland is. The students look perplexed. "Switzerland, where the clocks come from!" Whispering. The teacher excuses: “You are very shy. And we won't take Europe until the 9th grade anyway. " The houses in Samnapur are bright blue, one farmer draws water from the well, others have oxen pound the rice. Some children laughingly call us “potato dough”, others start crying in shock when they see us. The village has a small temple, a concrete road, a kiosk and a small bar. 85 percent of the people here are “tribals”, people who have been relocated from the park. Even though it was decades ago, they are poorly integrated, many men are drunk all day - they have never learned how to work fields or gardens. In the mud hut of such a family it is pitch dark, a single light bulb hangs from the ceiling. It took three years, says the hotel manager, for these people to gain enough confidence that they would let him into the house with guests. “They're even more shy than the tigers,” he laughs. The female who killed a Mahoud tiger three years ago - still no one has jumped in front of our lenses. Safari in India, as Vibhav warned us, is very different from in Africa. While vast steppes await on the black continent with large herds of animals and lions in packs, here you drive through dense forest - and the tigers are still loners. Now the most reliable features are sounding, the alarm cries of the langurs. We jump up when we see the elephants, five in number, trotting out of the thicket onto the meadow. And between the gray animals: a tiger. The Mahouds steer the elephants with bare feet, their animals are called Himalaya, full moon, son of heaven or goddess of the forest. The oldest, rather wrinkled, is 60 years old. They've been doing tiger tracking since five in the morning. They follow the tiger, which has stopped about 300 meters away. Vihav nudges us excitedly: "There are two more coming, their young," he says. The three tigers stroll one behind the other towards the street at a distance of ten meters. They casually put one paw in front of the next, without hurrying, the gray company doesn't seem to bother them. They cross the street about a hundred meters away. "It's the female who killed a Mahoud three years ago," says Vibhav. One of the three tigers stops on the road, looks in our direction - and continues into the thicket. A downer, that the tiger show is impossible, but at least: three tigers! Most of all, Vibhab himself is happy: "A load falls off my shoulders that you have seen tigers after all," he says with a smile on his face. The trip was supported by Enchanting India and Swiss