Planes, Elephants & Chauffer-mobiles!

Trip Start Jan 06, 2008
Trip End Jul 13, 2008

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hi folks, here's my posted India blog (Jan 17-Feb 5)

India is another world. So many people, such a huge poverty divide and a distinctly crazy Indian way of life. Some of the most amazing and disturbing images I have ever seen. First up was Delhi, which wasn't quite the assault on the senses it would have been if I hadn't just recently been in Cairo, but still pretty nuts. 4 days here recuperating and planning my itinerary courtesy of Annabelle. Tara (Annabelle's niece) and I did a 7 day excursion with a driver. First to Agra and the Taj Mahal and then through the key cities in Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodphur and Udaipur). The Taj is the most incredible place and pictures do not do it justice. It is quite simply mesmerising. I spent 3 hrs there, just looking at it and taking piccies. Rajasthan's palaces and forts were also v cool but I was starting to get a bit fed up of seeing so many monuments. En route we stayed in some pretty cool places, the best of which was Samode Bagh, a resort with luxury tents, where the Maharajahs used to stay. Samode village was also a cool experience for it wasn't full of touts and hawkers, just real Indian people, going about their daily lives and being super wonderful and welcoming.

After our little galavant I left the Manwaring family briefly to go to Kajuraho, the site of the famous erotic temples. What a mission - 6 hrs by train, 4 hrs by public bus (which was just nuts - crammed into a rusty old bus with what felt like hundreds of Indian people and nowhere to sit for the first 2 hrs) and 2 hrs by mini-bus. But it was worth it - check out the pics for explicit Kama Sutra sculptures galore!!

Next I flew to Bangalore to stay with Annabelle, did a day trip to Mysore and some more temples (saw a Bollywood movie being filmed - check out the mpeg!!) and then on to her nephew's Jungle Retreat, where I did a Jungle Trek and saw wild elephants, but no Tigers :0( Finally back to Delhi.

I can't tell you how scared I was of going to India and I can't tell you how much I loved it. There is so much to see and I'll definately be back. The food was amazing and luckily I didn't get sick. And for any kitsch-lovers like me it's a visual feast of Ganesh posters, fancily-adorned Tuk Tuk's and crazily painted trucks (with brightly coloured tinsel hanging off the mirrors!)

Check out all my pics cos they tell the story better than I can.


Full itinerary was as follows:

Jan 23 - Agra, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort
Jan 24 - Fatehpur Sikhri, Jaipur
Jan 25 - Jaipur, Samod, Stay in Samod Palace
Jan 26 - Navalgargh, Mundavah, Jodpur. Stay with Noor Priya!!!
Jan 27 - Jodphur and generally hanging out with NP
Jan 28 - Udaipur, Stay in Lake Palace Hotel
Jan 29 - Ranakpur Temples, Long drive back to Delhi
Jan 30 - Train to Khajuraho, Erotic Temples
Jan 31 - Fly back to Delhi then on to Bangalore (with a really dodgy airline so hope that's gonna be OK).
Feb 1 to 3 - Annabelle's house, Jungle Retreat, Mysore temples
Feb 4 - Return to Delhi and drop dead with exhaustion!
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