Delhi is the last stop on this trip. We are staying over at a Weronika’s friend’s house in a rather posh are of Delhi. Her apartment is big, modern, and full of creature comforts. Thank you Jona! It s the perfect decompression chamber for us after our nine-plus months on the road.
We spent the last few days of our trip shopping, taking care of things before our return, and doing a bit of sightseeing. It was a nice and calm way to end an incredible trip.
We were on the edge of the Great Thar Desert. Jaisalmer is only 100 km away from the Pakistan border, and the landscape has changed dramatically. It is very dry here, and the town is not blue like a few of the prior cities, but golden, with the glow of the sun reflecting of the sandstone out of which everything is built here.
The real attraction here are the camels. We went on a two day camel safari into the dunes of the Thar Desert. It was one of the highlights of the trip. We fell in love with these gentle, lumbering giants who served as our transport as well as entertainment for two days. Sleeping under the open sky and waking up covered in sand was another experience which will stay lodged in our memories for a long time.
Another blue city. Old haveli mansions lining tiny bendi streets. A great clock tower standing proudly in the center of a bustling bazaar. An ancient fort overlooks it all. This is Rajastan.
Palaces on a lake. Palaces on the lake sure. Small windy streets among ancient houses. The James Bond classic Octopussy was filmed here, so there must be something special about the town.
We started enjoying the pace we have set in Bundi. We are now taking our dear old time sightseeing. Nothing is rushed, and we deem it perfectly OK to spend an entire day n the hotel. Of course we did manage to see the sights around town, including some temples and the palace. We also took a daytrip to the elaborate and jawdropping Jain temple of Ranakpur. Along the way we dropped in on the huge fortification of Kumbalgargh, which boasts the second longest wall n the world, after the great wall of China. Unfortunately, it was not in our budget to stay at the lake palace where James Bond enjoyed his martinis shaken, not stirred.
We are surrounded by men with massive mustaches, each bigger than the next. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but have never seen so many grand works of facial coif in one place before. Add on top of that colorful turbans in saffron, blue, or combining a full palette of colors. We arrived in Rajastan and everything changed. On top of that, people are not as annoying, and the incessant honking has calmed down a bit. On top of that, the weather has magically cooled off and it is not even raining! Is this still India?
We were in Bundi, a small town in Rajastan. It has a big ruined fort, a castle, beautiful pastel blue haveli houses, and an assortment of monkeys to add a little fun touch to an otherwise idyllic place. We decided to slow things down a bit and took our time seeing this town. We relaxed and lounged around more than usual. Mr. Sathi’s amazing saffron lassis were the icing on the cake.
Some called it the most beautful building ever built. Legend has it that the sun and the moon shed a tear when it was finished. No visit to India can be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal.
It was another hot day. We have gone as far as splurging on a room with AC. We put it off as long as we could have, but eventually we did have to come out of our room and go see the Taj Mahal. The heat made us regret it, and we did consder going back to the room. However, it would have been the epitome of laziness to not see the Taj Mahal, located half a kilometer away from our hotel, on account of the weather.
The Taj Mahal is quite an impressive structure. It is huge, white, and imposing. It is pleasant on the eye. The heat was pouring out of the sky and dripping down our faces and backs. Hiding in the shadows did not offer too much relief, so as soon as we saw this massive tombs from all angles we retreated back to the comfort of our air conditioned room.
We arrived in Agra, but before visiting the Taj Mahal, we took a daytrip. We went to the town of Fatephur Sikri, another ancient regional capital. We’ve spent the day walking around the magnificent red sandstone mosque and fort and chasing the “Hey mister, look in my store” boys away.