A Travellerspoint blog

Jodhpur to Narlai - Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Day 16 - Wednesday, 20 February 2013 - Jodhpur / Narlai

Left Jodhpur this morning at 8am in jeeps and visited the tribal hamlets of Bishnoi and Prajapats.


Bought two little pots from this guy for $4 AUD. Would have liked more but it was a bit difficult to fit them in the suitcase. 20130220_085958.jpg

We enjoyed interacting with this family. They couldn't speak English but that didn't seem to matter.


The Prajapats are weavers who weave dhurries, small rugs of cotton or camel hair. We bought a rug for our family room. Should look lovely. It will arrive in the middle of March. We had a few 'small world' incidents while we were in the India. After we agreed to buy the rug, the guy showed us how it would be packaged up to post by showing us one ready for postage. It was being sent to someone in our home town who we knew! Small world.


Travelled in the jeep for three hours and saw a lot of the country side as we bumped along. Everyone waves along the way, especially the children. Claire and Yogi were in our jeep. It was fun. My cold is worse today and everyone is coughing and spluttering on the bus. We are all infecting each other. Called into a magnificent oasis for lunch - in the middle of nowhere. Just lovely.


Then back to the bus for a couple of hours and arrived at Narlai, a village in the middle of nowhere, with a stunning hotel. (Surprise, surprise - this is becoming a habit, but a very nice one!) The hotel was a 17th century fortress which has been carefully restored and beautifully so. It reminded me of our hotel in Kushadasi, in Turkey which was an old castle turned into a hotel.

We had a suite of rooms, with a huge separate lounge room and an enormous bedroom and bathroom and large balcony on the top floor, overlooking the town and a view of the mountain .


Prior to dinner we all met downstaris at 7pm and were given a complimentary wine in the courtyard. Then the guys were given another turban and the ladies a flimsey shawl. Then we were loaded into bullock carts with cushions, two by two and travelled slowly under the stars to a 1100 year old step well, which was lit by candle light. It was so lovely. Then continued to semi circular seating around a bon fire, where we had dinner under the stars. A local band and dancers entertained us. A few of us got up and danced as well and Jamshed and Davindra let off fireworks. It was a very magical evening. Nursed a baby girl who belonged to one of the dancers. Then back to the hotel by jeep.

Sleeping in this bed was like being wrapped in cotton wool. Just lovely. What a simply superb, magical evening!

Posted by gaddingabout 22:38 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur/ narlai Comments (0)

Jodhpur - Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Day 15 - Tuesday, 19 February 2013 - Jodhpur

Slept in! Woke up at 7.45am, had a leisurely breakfast and arranged to meet Judy and Graeme at 10.15am to walk down to the bazaar. The walk was hair-raising. Narrow lanes, people everywhere, cattle, tuc tucs, motor bikes, cycles, cattle poo - utter chaos. We nearly got skittled a couple of times and also butted by a bull. Judy and I bought some bangles and scarves. A tout took us into his shop and showed us lovely pashminas for $200 AUD. Nearly bought a black and silver one, but really didn't need it, so I didn't buy it. Caught a tuc tuc back to the hotel and got ready for our visit to our desert camp.

1 1/2 hours and a wrong turn later we arrived at a fabulous camp in the desert. We boarded our camels and others hopped in carts being towed by camels and off we went into the desert for sunset. It was fun. I stayed on my camel the whole time because mounting and dismounting is a bit scarey. Once the sun had set, we rode back to the camp and had dinner in a fort like complex with no ceiling - just open to the stars. Lovely. There was a group singing local folk songs and girls dancing and some of us got up and danced with the girls.

Then the long bus trip back to Jodhpur. The narrow road was a bit hairy at night because people don't have lights on their vehicles and those who do, don't dim them and we were driving through the country with cattle and dogs and people all over the road.

A lot of people on the bus have caught a cold and are all at different stages of the infection. The coughing is almost musical! Early morning start tomorrow as the mineret next door will start up at 5am.

Received an email from our consulate in New Delhi to say there will be a general strike on 20 and 21 February and could affect petrol and banking. It's nice to know that Smart Traveller works.

Sorry no photos this blog. I needed my hands free for serious shopping this morning and camel riding this afternoon!

Posted by gaddingabout 00:16 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur Comments (0)

Pushkar to Jodhpur - Monday, 18 February 2013

Day 14 - Monday, 18 February 2013 - Pushkar / Jodhpur

Up at 5am, breakfast at 6 and on the bus at 7am for the 6hr drive to Jodhpur. Snoozed on the bus as all these early mornings are starting to catch up! But don't want to miss a thing. And then Claire announced that our driver Jamshed had taken a short cut and in about 4 1/2 hours we were in Jodhpur. Jodhpur is a very nice city. Out hotel is smack bang in the middle of the old city which meant the bus couldn't get through the narrow lanes to drop us off. So we were transferred to tuc tucs and off we went, speeding through the streets and narrow lanes to our beautiful hotel, the Raas.


We were welcomed with the dot on the forehead thing and a lovely warm spicey drink and proceeded to have an early lunch in an outdoor pavilion.


Our room is lovely - huge bed with a balcony looking straight at the Meherangarh Fort. It is huge. We are on the third floor and every now and then a smell comes wafting up. Upon inspection, we discovered a local dairy over our back fence so I guess you could say that it was a very earthy odour!


After lunch we hopped on our tuc tucs again and whizzed through the streets to join our bus and drive up to the fort. Set on a steep rocky outcrop, the colossal fort provides an outstanding vantage point over the colourful and vibrant market, one of the oldest in India. We spent a few hours there. It is huge and overlooks the blue houses of Jodhpur. It is very much like looking down on Athens.


This guy insisted on being in our photo!



Back to the tuc tucs and back to our hotel and I finally started my blog. Well actually, I logged on, filled out my profile and chose my name - now to find the time!

Trying to download some of today's photos on my face book page without much success. I have wasted hours. I'll try again tomorrow when the battery is fully charged.

Had room service and watched a DVD on India.

Posted by gaddingabout 23:48 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur / pushkar Comments (0)

Jaipur to Pushkar - Sunday, 17 February 2013

Day 13 - Sunday, 17 February 2013 - Jaipur / Pushkar

Sleep in this morning (hurrah!) - after our big night of being Indian princesses and left Jaipur at 9am for the three hour drive to Pushkar. Good road all the way with one toilet stop. Pushkar is a relatively small town with the only Brahman Temple in India. It is a totally vegetarian / no alcohol town and we had a vegetarian lunch at a totally ornate restaurant where I bought some Christmas tree decorations. Also had a mango lassie with my lunch. We then did a 1km walk through the town bazaar and bought some silk scarves and tote bags. The bazaar was the usual hysterical narrow street with cows, dogs, pigs, camels, cars, trucks, motor bikes, tuc tucs, kids, beggars, men and women and lots of alternative lifestylers with dreadlocks. This is the first time we have seen a lot more Westerners than Indians.


When we arrived at the Brahman Temple, no one wanted to go in as it meant we had to take our shoes off and leave all our bags outside. I hope Yogi wasn't too disappointed. We hopped on the bus and checked in to our hotel. It isn't the Rambagh Palace but is quite lovely just the same. The reception area is very Balinese and so are the rooms. Very nice.


There is a drumming display on this afternoon which is very loud but worth a look.

Nice group dinner and into bed for a very early start tomorrow!

Posted by gaddingabout 00:36 Archived in India Tagged jaipur / pushkar Comments (0)

Jaipur - Saturday, 16 February 2013

Day 12 - Saturday, 16 February 2013 - Jaipur

Up early again (that's all I seem to say!) And left the hotel by 7.30 am so that the queue for the elephant ride to the top of Amber Fort Palace wouldn't be too long. It had rained all night but stopped while we were driving to the fort. Stopped in the old city to take a photo of the beautiful Palace of the Winds and was immediately bombarded by hawkers and ended up buying a couple of pashminas.


Was bombarded again by hawkers while waiting in the queue for the elephant ride and bought some mirrors and bangles. Boarded the elephant and half way to the top it started to rain and we got soaked. It is not supposed to rain in Jaipur at this time of the year.


The fort was really nice but it was pouring rain and the marble floors were very slippery and everyone was wet and cold so we cut our visit short and went to the textile Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, looked at lovely fabric and watched them hand printing. JIll had a go and they gave her the stuff she had hand printed.


Instead of having our picnic lunch along the way, we came back to the hotel to dry off, warm up and ate our lunch in our room. Then seven of us went back up to Mahargath Fort and walked around the area and took lots of photos of Jaipur. The sun came out for a while and we were glad we decided to do the walk. So many pulled out.


(One moment of feeling nervous - when Phil, Yogi, David, Jane and Jack walked down to the other part of the fort, Judy, Ash and I were immediately surrounded by youths. IF they had turned nasty, we wouldn't have had a chance, but they just wanted to talk about cricket and Australia and have their photos taken with us. We were in a very remote area but it was all good.)

Back to the hotel to dress for our lovely dinner in the Palace Dining Room. We thought we were going to watch a sari and turban tying demonstration - turns out WE were wearing the saris and turbans to dinner and people were coming to dress us!!! What a thrill. All the girls came into our room and Phil went next door to Graeme and Judy's room where the men had their turbans tied. It was like a sleep over - everyone giggling and trying on clothes. It was so much fun and we all looked so nice. My sari was deep purple, lined with a gold border and the best thing of all - WE GET TO KEEP THEM!

Of course it didn't take as long for the guys to have their turbans tied, so they got stuck into the G and T's while they were waiting for us, so consequently they were all half blotto by the time we had our group photo taken!


Dinner in the palace dining room was lovely. We ate Indian food, not too hot, off gold plates, with gold cutlery and gold goblets. We had a bottle of Indian wine $60 and it was a very special evening. Everyone looked great.


Posted by gaddingabout 00:05 Archived in India Tagged jaipur Comments (0)

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