Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Indian Summary Part 2

I omitted the Jain Temple in Part 1. We visited it on the way between Udaipur and Jodhpur.

The complex is said to be the most beautiful in India and is at Ranakpur. It is the most incredible place. Quite large. I have many pictures and will do an item on it by itself at some point.

From Jodhpur to Jaipur – the rose pink city. It has a terrific amber-coloured fortress on the hill above the town. We were originally going up on elephants, but our guide wisely decided to use jeeps. The elly’s were definitely exploited and I don’t think any of us would have liked to use them, quite apart from the queues etc. The fortress had very rich royal apartments. It was quite a marathon to tour it, so our guide, sensibly transferred the afternoon’s schedule to the next day, when we visited the Palace of Winds and City Palace and then a most extraordinary Observatory built in the 17th century. They had an amazing amount of knowledge about the stars and time and all sorts. As we were tired by then and as the guide was not very easy to understand, I found I couldn’t really follow it all, but there were all sorts of extraordinary objects spread about, that told the time or date or something or other. Also it was a hot afternoon with very little shade and we hadn’t had lunch!!!!

Next day we drove to Ranthambhore. This is a game reserve and a National Park. Our hotel was a few miles outside the Reserve. It consisted of a central building and ‘tents’ scattered about. The top was a tent, with guy ropes and things, but the walls were solid, with doors and windows. Inside was a large bed-sitting room, bathroom, loo dressing space etc. Outside a private sitting space, with 2 chaise-longue on one side and on the other a table and 2 chairs, so you could choose the degree of shade. On arrival we went on a game drive when we saw lots of deer and birds and the odd croc. There was great excitement later on because the warning sound of the monkeys was heard, so the tiger or tigress was about. As a result of an unsuccessful hunt for her/him we were late out and the drive back to the gate was done at great speed, which shook us all up to a considerable degree. Then we had to wait for a man to come and unlock the gate to let us out! Next morning, at 6.00, 10 of us (minus G and another couple) set off again and it was not long before we found the tigress and her 3 cubs. She had killed in the night (which was known to all the guides) and, having called her cubs, was leading them to their breakfast. That was major magic, but before long there were at least 9 vehicles following them, which we didn’t like. After that the tension was released and we visited pieces of water in a leisurely manner – turning off the engine and just watching and listening. Lots of birds and crocodiles and extra-ordinary beauty. We got back about 10.00 and had brunch. The rest of the day was at leisure, and we made the most of it. G lay for hours on a chaise longue. I sat by the pool and read and then joined G for tea on the other side of the ‘tent’.

The good done by this rest day was entirely undone by our trip to Agra. The roads in India a not good on the whole and this one was being turned into a duel carriageway which meant short stretches on one side or the other, or going round bridges being built or on original road etc in a ‘coach with cart springs! We left about 9.30, stopped once or twice at filling stations for the ‘conveniences’ and once for lunch in a lovely restaurant with gardens all around. At about 4.00 we reached Fatehpur Sikri – the Ghost city. Some of the group desperately wanted to leave it out, but the rest of us could not bare to miss it. As we were rather late, so had to do a bit of whistle-stop tour, but got a good idea of it. Then on again, reaching Agra about 6.30 or 7.0. It was a marathon but the sight of the Taj Mahal just visible in the gloom and smog from our balconies made up for it!

Next day we visited the 1st modern wonder on the world and were not disappointed. More details at a later date so you will have to wait. Next day we saw the Agra Fort, which played an important part in the Indian Mutiny and in which the builder of the Taj was held in house arrest and looked over at his beautiful creation.

Then we started the haul home. We left about 10.30 and headed for Delhi. The road was much better and we thought we were doing very well until we reached the outskirts of Delhi. It then took us over an hour to get to the hotel. We only had 1 ½ hours before setting out for a dinner given by Cox and Kings, Cricketers Agents. Due to a confusion, we went to the wrong restaurant, so it was another 1 ½ hours before we got to the right place. There was a serious sense of humour failure, but the place was very good, the food was good, C and K gave the drink (unlike all other included meals) and the three men from C and K really listened to our comments etc. And so back to the hotel, a night’s sleep, and then off to the Airport and on our way to London.
Next I will do some detail about something yet to be decided.


Elizabethd said...

How vwery interesting. What an experience your holiday must have been.
Did Teddy enjoy it too?

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Good grief Withy that is a major trip you have been on - just as well you decided not to come up to Scotland this weekend - you must be shattered.

What a fabulous trip though - looking forward to more stories.