THE BEST OF THE BEST

No country in the world can match the Indians when it comes to five-star hospitality. A fine example is the Leela Palace in Chennai where the dedication to customer service and fine food is unsurpassed. Kuldip and I enjoyed every moment of our five-night stay, and I recommend the Leela Palace unreservedly as the best place to stay in the Tamil Nadu capital. If, however, your accommodation budget doesn’t stretch that far, do yourself a favour by going there one night to eat in one of the hotel’s restaurants, which cater for all tastes and budgets. The “Spectra” restaurant, for example, is the only place in town where you can sample cuisines from around the world including Italy, Thailand and Japan (the sashimi is to die for!). Their “Street Foods” buffet on Wednesday nights tantalises the taste buds, as does Friday night’s seafood buffet fit for kings and queens. The choice at the buffet breakfast is the best of the best. The hotel’s “Cake Shop” is as impressive as any in the world. I put on a kilo just window shopping there! I also can’t speak highly enough about the Leela’s signature Indian and Chinese restaurants, “Jamavar” and “China XO” respectively. I can still taste the Lamb Biryani and dim sum … yum!! What’s also good to know is that all of the hotel’s food is prepared, cooked and baked on the premises. The hotel, therefore, employs an army of master chefs, chefs and pastry chefs, head-hunted the world over, who use the best-imported ingredients to produce some of the finest food I have ever tasted. I strongly suggest you visit the Leela Palace in Chennai if you possibly can. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll receive the warmest of warm welcomes when you get there too. When Kuldip and I weren’t eating or drinking martinis in the hotel’s awesome cocktail bar, “Library Blue”, we were either taking in the city sights or taking time out poolside. Not wanting us to go hungry on our last morning due to a very early flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka, the hotel bid us both farewell with a packed picnic brekky. Ahhh … the perfect end to a perfect stay.

The view from the hotel's "Spectra" restaurant.

The view from the hotel’s “Spectra” restaurant.

Enjoying myself in the hotel's "Jamavar" restaurant.

Enjoying myself in the hotel’s “Jamavar” restaurant.

With the Head Chef (L) and Master Dim Sum Chef at the hotel's "China XO" restaurant.

With the Head Chef (L) and Master Dim Sum Chef at the hotel’s “China XO” restaurant.

Martini time in the hotel's "Library Blue" bar.

Martini time in the hotel’s “Library Blue” bar.

Poolside plush #1

Poolside plush #1

Poolside plush #2

Poolside plush #2

Our perfect picnic breakfast.

Our perfect picnic breakfast.

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A PART-ING OF THE WAYS

Today, the hard-working residents’ association of our apartment complex, Multitech Towers, held a path (paart) to bless the building. A path is a Sikh prayer session that comprises a priest, or giani (ghee-arr-nee) reading from the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Following the readings, musicians, or ragis (raa-ghee) play music and sing hymns. According to tradition, before the part ended a giani handed out a morsel of Kara Parshad (kara pash-ard) to everyone there. This blessing is offered to all visitors to every Gurdwara around the world. Kara Parshad is a dark, sweet paste made from equal parts flour, ghee (clarified butter), water and raw sugar, and I like it. A part like this, usually, lasts around two, or so hours. A buffet meal always follows. 

All residents today thanked heaven for the part because it pressured the developer of the complex to fit windows and paint the walls in the community room on the ground floor. The area, however, is still far from finished, but it looked good today as a temporary Sikh place of worship called a Gurdwara.

Completion of the entire Multitech Tower complex is way behind schedule too. It’s being built according to Indian Standard Time. That is; it’s already four years overdue and looks like being another four, at least, till its finished. I suggested to one of the association committee members that we should stage a part every Sunday in an area that is unfinished. Maybe that’s the only way we’ll get towers C and D, plus the swimming pool, gymnasium and underground car parks completed. God’s helping-hand wouldn’t go amiss either. Heaven knows; we need all the help we can get!

Us two at the part

Us two at the part

The boys on one side ...

The boys on one side …

The girls on the other

The girls on the other

The giani reading from the Guru Granth Sahib

The giani reading from the Guru Granth Sahib

The Ragis

The Ragis

Handing out the Kara Parshad

Handing out the Kara Parshad

The langar begins

The buffet begins