The 'Real' Rajasthan

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, March 19, 2011

Like Udaipur, Bundi is also a town of narrow, winding lanes but it is much smaller and quieter with far less traffic, at least in the old part of town beneath the palace. As with all Indian towns it is a little scruffy but retains an old world charm. It is a traditional town with relatively few tourists and virtually no souvenir shops which is great. There are even more cows roaming the streets here than in Udaipur plus an assortment of pigs, goats and the odd camel. Many of the houses are painted an attractive pale blue and overlooking the whole town is a large, rambling palace and fort built high up on the hill side. We are staying at Braj Bhushanjee, a 250 year old haveli decorated with traditional wall paintings.

During our second day we met Rakesh, a jovial chap who gave us a tour in his rickshaw of the main sights around town, including the 46 metre deep Queen’s Baori or water tank decorated with stone carvings and home to a number of roosting bats, and then Sukh Mahal, a small palace where Rudyard Kipling lived for a while. Then we journeyed into the surrounding countryside passing through small villages, wheat fields and dry scrub before arriving at the top of an impressive gorge where a waterfall fell into a large plunge pool surrounded by a shady grove of trees. It was a beautiful spot and reminded us very much of pictures of Kakadu in Australia (where Crocodile Dundee was filmed). We spent a couple of hours here swimming, relaxing and eating the best samosas we have tried in India, which Rakesh bought for us from his favourite samosa shop in Bundi.

This weekend is Holi, a festival held all over India which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. In the evening the streets were jam packed with revellers and we went for a brief wander although the crowds and speeding motorbikes soon sent us back to the safety of our guesthouse! We also spent most of the next day cowardly hiding away in the haveli from where we could watch the paint throwing going on in the streets below without having to actually get splatted. The whole of India basically gets busy covering each other in coloured paints from head to toe. Apparently it takes a few days to get off your skin and clothes are permanently ruined so we decided against joining in. A bit wimpish I know but we only have a few items of clothing each so that’s our excuse! I also didn’t fancy getting groped by over-excited Indian men which apparently is a common occurrence to Western females during Holi! We actually met someone who took part and had her top ripped off!

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