Since Mandawa we have been to Khimsar Fort, Jodhpur, Rohet Garh, and now Udaipur. Rajasthan is a non-stop kalaidascope (?) of colourful impressions - the women wear startlingly bright saris, the men often all in white, including their large turbans. Camels everywhere, the landscape greener than I expected but it is like this after the rains I'm told. Khimsar Fort was at one time a gorgeous old castle in the middle of an utterly flat plain with a large village around its skirts. However, regretably the fort has be over-developed and the new build hotel (although of good quality) rather swamps the beautiful original castle. There is a collection of old cars including an old Rolls Royce. Fabulous swimming pool and a full size snooker table which looks flat but isn't.
The fortress at Jodhpur is one of the most impressive structures it has been my pleasure to see - jaw dropping, and we spent the good part of a day looking around. So, so Indian - the audio tour was excellent in content but all the numbered stops were out of sequence and no sign posts so one spent one's time going up and down floors looking for the next number. What a place though!
Rohet Garh was a haven of tranquility - old buildings surrounding a large, mature garden with peacocks, parakeets and chipmonks, not to mention a very naughty Labrador who chewed up the cushions in the flower beds. The Germans always got to the swimming pool in the morning before us!
Leaving the plain behind we entered some absolutely beautiful hills to visit the temples at Ranakpur. Again astonishing huge Jain temples built in marble. Highly carved in fine detail - voluptous sexy Indian women writhing around pillars, huge marble elephants, ceilings that only a mathematician could have invented, and touches of the Karma Sutra in the reliefs. No leather and no photos of the Gods themselves allowed. Fabulous place but a couple of large Langur monkeys slammed one of our car doors on Jeremy's toes!
Arriving quite late in Udaipur our hotel lay in an old part of town and in the sweltering heat our team skills and patience we tested once again in forging our way through narrow streets full of people, motor-bikes, rickshaws and holy cows.. It was worth it - our hotel the Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel overlooks the lake and is full of character! Emerging onto the roof terrace you are confronted by black night and a shinging Lake Palace lit up and reflected in the tranquil waters. Magical!
Must go and visit the city palace......
Bye for now. After this we will visit some off-the-beaten-track places in Rajasthan before the final leg down to Bombay......
Steve (miss you Seraphina, Katie, Ellie, Tara, Snowy, Willow and the goldfish too (whose names I have a silly mind-block on!)