When reading the travel report: click at a picture and it will be increased. After clicking the photos can also be viewed as a slideshow. If you see a link, like: Namasté click on the link and it will be opened. When referring to the map of Rajasthan, the map can be accessed by clicking on the link: Map of Rajasthan. The film clips that are included in the travelogue are HD recordings. The clips can be opened and viewed in a separate window.
Day 8: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Around 8:30 we leave direction Jodhpur. The drive to Jodhpur will take a few hours but we don´t mind. Travelling by private car is very comfortable and there is always plenty to see when you look outside the car window. We make a stopover in Pokharan. In this town is a small fort that we visit. It is a nice stop. In the fort is a little museum. There are some local tourists. They want a picture from us with them. Photographers as we are, we cooperate. Early afternoon we arrive in Jodhpur.
Our hotel is the Niralidhani- Resort. The name sounds exotic but the hotel is a disappointment. Not at all what we are looking for. The hotel is not close to the old city ( 10 (!) Km distance). It is a big hotel with many noisy local tourists as guests. Outside in the garden is a big buffet for more than a hundred guests with life entertainment by various artists. There is even half a circus with a shooting gallery and a camel ride.
It also starts to rain a little. We notice that the people are not used to all that water and actually don´t know how to handle it. The sewer system runs over. Large puddles. One big mess.
When the rain stops we take a car ride to the central square of the old city. First we eat some pancakes on a rooftop, then we stroll through the city. Nice to be here again, but it takes some orientation. Markets, slums, studios and a lot of people. We end our walking tour in a lovely coffee shop we found near the central square; they even serve real cappuccino. Delicious! We have diner in a rooftop restaurant we remember from our previous visit here a few years ago.
The restaurant has changed from an simple restaurant in to a fancy restaurant. The eating is great and we treat ourselves to a delicious meal with half a litre of wine!
It is very noisy on the terrace! On our terrace they play a kind of shrill jazz music. Behind us loud Indian music and you hear the noise of honking tuk tuks and the Muslim call for prayer. Occasionally we hear the sound of fireworks. It is the wedding period. Unbelievable! We have a beautiful view on the lighted fort, the lights of the city and the illuminated clock tower called ”little Big Ben”. In short, a 100% Incredible India experience!
After dinner we take a tuk tuk back to the hotel. We give the driver an address card of our hotel but he drives us to a totally different hotel. It appears that the driver can´t read and there are two hotels with the same name. Quite confusing but after some extra stops to ask for the right direction we finally arrive at our hotel. The driver was a really nice guy.
Back in the hotel we walk around in the garden. The party is really going on there; all the attractions are in full business . We have dirty feet. We honestly don´t know in how many cow patties we stepped today! Well, fortunately we have (cold) water in the room.
Day 9: Sunday, November 14, 2010
At 9 am we drive to the old city. We first stop by the memorial for a maharaja near the fort of Jodhpur. Impressive building on a hill with a beautiful view at the fort and the environment. After our visit to the mausoleum we are dropped off at the fort. From here on we will walk so we give Kuldeep the rest of the day off.
The fort is very busy. There is a long queue. Because we’ve visited the fort earlier we decide to skip a visit for now. Instead we walk from the fort on the hill through the small alleys down to the centre of the "blue city". We walk trough handicraft quarters where the workers young and old work for little money. They make a large variety of products like baskets, furniture and ice cream sticks.
Day 10: Monday, November 15, 2010
Although this hotel is not our first choice, there is still enough to enjoy. Like: Goal, breakfast with toast and jam. Location: a big empty room with dirty doilies on the table and lots of staff. Staff member number 1 asks what you want, tea and coffee. Number 2 brings cups, another sugar, and stresses that it's SUGAR (visible cubes in a jar). Then someone else delivers 2 thermos jugs and leaves again. Hot water is brought separately. Someone is trying to open the pouch Nescafe but is not successful so he turns away with his head and opens it with his teeth. He spits the part of the pouch left in his mouth on the floor of the restaurant. Then someone asks whether you want milk. When we answer: no thank you, he promptly brings some milk, and is very surprised that we don´t use it in the coffee and tea.
We will leave the description of the episode of the toast and jam to everyone's imagination.
After breakfast we leave for Kumbalgarh; Map of Rajasthan. Nice ride, but quite dangerous. The people here pass when they feel like it.
Back in the hotel we have access to internet; a very slow connection but it´s enough to check and send email. We have an very tasty evening buffet. The staff, in large numbers, does everything to make us feel at home. A number of staff members is openly staring at our direction while we are eating. Each bite into our mouths is followed. At home you would find that annoying but here it is funny.
Day 11: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Today is a wonderful day. At 9 a.m. we visit the fort of Kumbalgarh. The gate of the fort is just 1 km from the hotel . Surrounded by thirteen mountain peaks Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second most important fortress in Rajasthan (Chittorgarh was more important in early ages; we will visit this fort later in our journey). Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Maharaja Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The fortifications of the fort are extended to a length of 36 kilometres. The enormous complex of the Fort has many palaces, temples and gardens.
Day 12: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
We depart early in the morning with good weather. The ride is nice trough a rural area on narrow roads. We come across groups of people walking together with big fagots on their heads accompanied by livestock. At one of our stops it suddenly becomes very dark! And yes, a little later it starts to rain. A huge storm bursts loose. The whole ride, the rain is pouring down from the sky. A pitty, because we don´t see much of the beautiful landscape this way.
The second part of the ride today is on a main road. We have a break at a road restaurant for coffee. A man with a large patio umbrella picks us at the car for a dry transfer to the restaurant.
We arrive at Pushkar. The whole area is prepared for the fair. Many roads are closed so it takes us 1.5 hours before we finally arrive at the tent camp where we will spent the night. We skip our lunch (included) because it is already late and we want to go as soon as possible and as long as possible to the fair. We rush to the entrance of the camp where there is a collecting point for free transport by jeep straight to the fairground. Up to the camels! This is really great. What a beautiful sight all the shepherds in their camps with their families and herds of camels.
During the Pushkar fair there are not enough hotel rooms available to offer all visitors shelter. Therefore, they have set up several tent camps at the edge of the village. We sleep in one of those camps in a luxury tent with bathroom. In the camp is also breakfast, lunch and dinner served. For transportation to the fair is provided. Well organized all. At dinner it turns out that the table next to us is occupied by two other people from Holland who travel also with namasté. The food is very good and the four of us have a lot of fun chatting and exchanging experiences.
Day 13: Thursday, November 18, 2011
Lovely day today. We will really spent it well from start to finish!! The Pushkar fair is a unique experience. It is difficult to describe the whole event properly in words because you have to see, smell and experience it. If you ever have the change , take the opportunity to include it in your travel program. You won´t regret it.
Pushkar is indeed also a holy city for Hindus. Pilgrims come to Pushkar to bathe in the holy water of the lake. According to legend, the God Brahma and the devil Vajra Nabh had a fight long time ago. Brahma defeated the devil with a lotus flower. 3 petals of the flower fell in different parts of Pushkar creating 3 lakes. A dip in the waters of Pushkar and the worship of Brahma in the Brahma temple of Pushkar - the only one in the world - provides purification and salvation. A good Hindu should bathe here at least one time in his lifetime. In the city are many priests and holy men.
Day 14: Friday, November 19, 2010
At 7 a.m. the alarm rings and we get out of bed. After breakfast we leave for Chittaugarh. The weather is bright and the road is fine. Even on a beautiful four-lane asphalt road you occasionally see cows on the road; sleeping, passing or just wondering around very quietly. Also whole families with their livestock climb over the guardrail and cross the road while the cars in haste sometimes pass each other left and right (or both simultaneously ).
After lunch we leave for a walk to the village. When we arrive at the village we see a crowd of people gathering at a open field by a tent. There is clearly something to do there so we rush to the place. It appears that the provincial government has placed a large tent on the field. They do that every year so the people from all over the region can come and ask questions and solve problems directly to/with the representatives of the government. There is much interest. Many women also. In this area there are rarely foreigners. The people are therefore very curious about us. We get explanations from everyone with a smile. Finally, an employee of the hotel takes us by the hand. He introduces us to the provincial government. Interesting