Feeling hot, hot, hot!

Trip Start May 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 03, 2012

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Thursday, May 24, 2012

(C) Today is going to be a great day! I wake up and sit at the desk in the window looking out at the rising sun reflecting on the shimmering white Lake Palace Hotel and the area around Hanuman Ghat on the northwest side of Lake Pichola.  The Monsoon Palace stands like a beacon atop the nearest Aravalli hilltop.  The Fateh Prakash may not be the nicest hotel overall in Udaipur, but our room has the best views – period.

We have breakfast at our usual table in the Paantya Restaurant, and this morning, we are joined by who appear to be the maharaja and his wife who are entertaining a Russian, possibly an oligarch?  It's hard to tell, but we think they’re making plans to build some hotel resort where they can send busloads of Russian tourists.  They all have lassis, so I’m thinking the Russian guy will probably spend the afternoon in the bathroom.

We check out and walk down the hill to meet Ajay, who is taking us to Chittor this morning.  He is there, of course, with giant smile on his face and car all washed and clean.  Backpacks all loaded up, we depart Udaipur the way we came, through a complete bramble of streets and cows and rickshaws and bikes.  Although now it doesn’t seem nearly so intimidating.  I think I’m getting used to this.

Just outside of Udaipur is southern gate is a giant zinc smelter.  Makes us laugh about the movie Borat where he sings about how great Kazakhstan’s potassium is – far better than other country’s potassium.  It kind of smells near this smelter – my guess is some kind of toxic emissions.  Look out, is this place run by Union Carbide?

There is a LOT of farmland in India.  We pass thousands of acres of cultivated landscapes on our way to Chittor.  Much of it in small plots, with a lot of vegetables and from what I see, very little actual farm equipment which means it’s cultivated by hand.  Sara and I comment how amazing India’s ag sector would be if they invested some capital in it.  They’d go from being just self-sufficient in food, to a big world exporter.  They certainly have the farmland for it.  It may be true that you can’t look anywhere in India without seeing people, but there are big stretches of open land.

Chittor is hot.  We get to the top of the fort and it’s about 110 degrees.  Maybe hotter.  I’m pretty sure one of the guard’s is cooking his lunch on a rock!  We are gung-ho at our first stop, the Palace of Rana Khumba.  Most of this main palace has fallen down, but it’s got an amazing view over the blue city of Chittor and some interesting towers.  Sara discovers a hatch of puppies in one building so we have to stop and see what they’re doing.  One of them cautiously approaches, but the guard puppy gets very distressed and starts giving Sara the what-for.  It’s too hot for these kinds of arguments, so we find Ajay and move on.  The next several stops are hindu temples.

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