Bundi: Somewhere near the face of the sun
Trip Start May 17, 2012
18Trip End Jun 03, 2012
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Our Haveli really is wonderful. It’s an oasis in a noisy country. We woke up and had toast and coffee for breakfast. Mine with honey, Sara’s with cheese, of course. And also a fresh cut mango. Then we headed off for the Pankot Palace. Just kidding, that’s the scary place from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where they rip your heart out. This one is called Bundi Palace and they don’t eat your heart, but today, I think it boiled some parts of my brain! The walk up to the ticket counter was hot – but the hike up the black slate cart path 200 feet above the town just about finished us. I was medium rare and starting to sizzle. You have no idea how refreshing 105 in the shade can feel. But that’s enough about that. We’ll just leave it as the day was really hot
The main gate to the palace is overwhelming. It’s these giant elephant carvings above a towering portal, called the Hathi Pol. Our sweet explorer hats were just a part of the Indiana Jones setting. The main courtyard was crawling with monkeys and we almost got regulated by a particularly aggressive one in the stairwell. I didn’t think we’d get by that one without some baksheesh, or a big stick! After lots of stomping and yelling he finally got smart and let us come up the stairs. You walk into a beautiful throne room called the Ratan Doulat, that backs onto the courtyard below. The throne is all white marble and hanging in a perfectly carved pavilioned window seat.
A couple of guys hail us from across the wings and follow their directions through some more monkey caves into an open court with sweeping views of the town. This one has a beautiful pond/fountain in the middle that must be pretty nice during the rainy season, but it’s dry now, and probably filled with monkeys. One side of the court is a room filled with columns capped with fighting black elephants – which is very cool. So we brush off the older guy who is pretty annoying and kind of rude – although he does speak English which is a plus. We opt for the little guy who, on the downside doesn’t really speak any English and he does have a pretty bad stutter, but on the upside he has a giant monkey stick
We go up more stairs and see the queen’s palace with peepholes to look down below. We see another bedroom or two and the whole way we are beating off monkeys who keep peeking through doors and slamming boards around. One little guys was very annoyed with us. He got beat with the monkey stick.
We wandered around the palace for another 30 minutes or so and finally climbed to a cool breeze in a pavilion on top of a tower. Well, it wasn’t cool. It was probably a 110 degree breeze, but it’s a dry heat. Standing in the shade with even a hot breeze can give you shivers. Or maybe it’s the fever. Anyway, it was very nice up there and we spent 15 minutes or so up there cooling off and marveling at the blue city before us. We finally said goodbye to the Bundi Palace and wandered our way down the scorching hillside and decided the Bundi fort – another 30 minute hike above the palace – would have to wait for another day.
The rest of Friday we spent relaxing in our room, reading books, and working on the travel blog. Sara still can’t download her pictures, which is getting very frustrating for her, but she writes like the wind and we did get our Internet to work
But we started to get a little disoriented so we hired a tuk-tuk to the other side of town and walked along the Nawal Sagar lake. It’s mostly dry now, but still provides a nice foreground to the city, palace and fort. We also spent time watching a bunch of kids play cricket and ate some sort of Indian crisps I bought from a cart by the cricket pitch. Sara said I was an idiot for eating them.