Yes we were tourists too but it just felt that we’d had Bundi all to ourselves, apart from the people who live there of course!
Arriving in Udaipur was a bit of a shock to the system as the streets were packed with tourists. Not surprising really as our hotel was in the old town near to The City Palace and the lake. I thought the hotel would have more character but the view from our room more than made up for that and the food in the restaurant was some of the best of our holiday.
After wandering round we did what all visitors do, we went on a boat trip on Lake Pichola at sunset. The golden light on all the buildings was fantastic and the sunset didn’t disappoint. Cups of chai for 5 rupees were being handed out as you got off the boat. I love chai but it’s far too sugary for John.
Our second day in Udaipur was spent visiting The City Palace and what a place it is. OK it was pretty busy with tourists so I had to be patient at times and wait for a clear shot of the architecture but it wasn’t a problem. The mosaic work on the walls is amazing and the paintings are impressive. This time we’d had to pay to go in but it was worth it.
That evening we went to another must-do when in Udaipur – a show featuring traditional dances and puppets with a jaw-dropping finale. It’s hard to explain this but one of the dancers, an elderly woman started with one water carrier pot balanced on her head, then she would add another and dance around the stage between placing another one on her head. She had this fixed grin on her face or perhaps it was a grimace but it was so funny. It was very clever but also very bizarre. The show ended abruptly after that with the compere announcing this was the end of the show but none of the performers came back on stage so we all just made our way to the exit. Bit of a let down in a way. Good meal though at our hotel and yes we were still talking about what we’d seen. No web site on Udaipur includes this in the must-see list but don’t let that put you off!
The next day we headed out by car to Jodhpur with a stop en route at a Jain temple. More about this in my next blog.
After settling into our hotel in Delhi we decided to walk to Purana Qila Fort which wasn’t far away. Interesting walk as on one of the roads were lots of people sleeping on the pavement. We found later that Delhi is moving rough sleepers from the many underpasses where they set up mini communities, as a result they’ve moved their makeshift tents onto the pavements.
Our visit to the fort in the late afternoons didn’t disappoint, it was beautiful there and the setting sun made the stonework looked golden.
Purana Qila Fort in the late afternoon.
After eventually finding an auto rickshaw to take us around the city, first to see India Gate, we didn’t keep it for very long. John and I hopped out, walked across the road so I could take a picture of the War Memorial and when we came back our auto rickshaw had gone. Obviously he had got a better offer. It wasn’t long before another rickshaw turned up having sniffed out two stranded tourists!
Off next to this splendid Sikh temple with our new driver. Everyone who visits this most sacred place has to remove their shoes and have their head covered. I quite fancied my man in his yellow turban …It was surprisingly peaceful here despite the number of visitors and worshippers and a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Delhi.
Fortunately our rickshaw driver was still waiting for us outside the temple so off we went to Delhi’s most famous attraction, The Red Fort. All was well until our driver decided he wanted to charge us twice what he’d quoted. The situation was sorted when a local chap stopped to find out what the problem was and told the rickshaw driver and us what would be a reasonable amount for our ride. We paid up and the rickshaw quickly sped away. Two ‘lost’ in the space of an hour, not very clever.
Obviously it just wasn’t our day. John is very careful when it comes to looking after his money but it didn’t stop someone from taking his wallet as we queued for tickets to go into the fort. My credit card gone and the equivalent of £70 lost. Fortunately John still had his cards. It was a big blow and although we reported it straightaway to the police at the gates, they weren’t interested. Needless to say we didn’t enjoy our visit to the Red Fort especially as there are signs everywhere reminding tourists that pickpockets are operating here.
Having perked up after a couple of beers and a decent curry we decided to visit just one more of Delhi’s famous monuments. We were glad we did, Humayan’s Tomb is a vast site with plenty to see and lots to photograph. I needed a bit of a lift and this place certainly did that.
Our stay in Delhi had been a mixed experience. We’re not keen on big cities at the best of times although it’s nowhere near as manic as Dhaka it’s still very hectic, humid and dusty. Losing some money and my card had given us a jolt but we had lots of things to look forward to including our next stop, the two of Bundi which is not on the usual tourist trail.