Alot of miles, alot of rain..

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
Trip End Sep 14, 2010

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All over the place..

Flag of India  , Rājasthān,
Monday, September 28, 2009

Bundi.. the sleepy town.. we went here after Udaipur, its a great place to relax and get away from it all for a couple of days, its a quiet little town which is kind of on route to Agra, we stopped here for a couple of days. The town shuts down at 10pm the doors and gates to the houses lock as we were to discover, much to our hotel owners disappointment we couldnt seem to get in before 10pm despite the fact that for the past 3 weeks all we have done is get to bed by 9pm in the busy, bustling places, and here we are in the quietest place so far and we manage to come in late every night.

We met some Israelis which we got on really well with and had dinner together before we knew it it was gone 11.30pm and we had to knock the door to get back into our hotel.. it was like coming home late and waking your parents up.. so strange..

Anyway Bundi was a great place to stop off, its not very big and there is not a lot to do there, there is no power between 12pm and 6pm and its hot as hell but it has this amazing ruined palace which after seeing some pretty pristine palaces was a refreshing change to find this decaying building with such character and charm it beat the swanky palaces by miles.. it just had that feel of history and we spent hours there just wondering the many floors and exploring the corridoors..

When we were there we were mobbed by a group of about 250 school children who just happened to be there at the same time and us just happening to be the only foreigners in the place at that time.. it was out of this world, they screamed with excitement at the sight of us, and we had to shake each one of thier hands, it was all "hello, whats your name"  or "how do you do" they had such a fascination with us, we got dragged off into group photos for about half an hour and they were so funny, I have never seen so many kids and had so many pictures taken of me and that wasnt the end of it, they all left and suddenly the ruined palace was quiet and we were the only people there that is until we went outside and up the pathway towards the other side of the palace where again we met the group of kids and all those that had missed their candid camera moment before made up for it again.. even the teachers wanted photos of us with them.. it was mayhem but brilliant at the same time..

The palace is an amazing place, really eery and each level has a different feel, it was built in 13th century and has only recently been maintained but its not in a fit state, the paintings are decaying and the floors crumbling but its so amazing to be in there the pictures dont really show it but you can get the idea.

At the back of the palace about 1/2 mile up on the hill is the abandoned fort which looked out on the small town, up here live about 400 monkeys who arent afraid of you but you should be of them.. little buggers.. but they didnt do us any harm apart from when they kind of charged towards us to scare us (which they did) Im sure they were laughing at our stupidity..

Once back into the town we met the friends we' d made they said this great place for dinner, well thats what they said, it was the worst meal we have had.. I dont even know if it was edable but we swallowed it down rather than chewed as that just made it worse, Im sure my curry was made maybe a week earlier and reheated a few times before I had it.. thank god we didnt get ill off it though.. they loved the food so we couldnt really say anything seeing as this was also the restaurant in their hotel.. hmmmm nice..

The next day we left Bundi to make our way to the National Park in Ranthambhore, its about 3 hours train ride out of Agra so a good stop before hitting another hectic city, plus there is the hope of tigers there.. to get there we had to stop in a town called Kota for a night as no trains go direct from bundi.. all I will say about Kota is if you ever go to India DO NOT STOP HERE, it is vile, its like, well imagine, the worst place you have ever been and times that by a thousand and you might get close.. Its pretty grim and the room we had.. which they even added "luxury tax" too is certainly not luxury, poo up the toilet on the outside, stains on the sheets, some sort of crazy paint on the walls probably to hide the stains of God only knows what.. it was pretty foul but it was a bed for the night, although we had to go get food which was nice but the restaurant according to the guide book clean.. was bad, very bad, a mouse was perched just behind adams shoulder at one point and ants made a trail across the table and up the walls which again had suspect stains.. but the food was good and again we didnt get ill, this is India though and ants and mice are pretty norm I guess..

Anyway after our interesting and oh so luxurious evening in Kota we arrived in Ranthambhore the next afternoon, we checked in to our hotel which was pretty luxurious, even had hot water!! and a tellie!!  We then had to go queue for our safari tickets. the way it works is there are 2 safaris a day, one at 2pm and one at 7am.. we tried for the 2pm one.. it was chaos, they dont really queue in India, they fight and shout, push and shove but no queue we had to jostle for position and when we finally got the window all the tickets were sold out.. nice... so again we came back 2 hours later and queued again to get tickets for the next mornings safari.. the safaris are in open top trucks seating 15 people per truck, we got our tickets and had a night looking forward to the possibility of seeing a wild tiger in the massive jungle.. so next morning were up early, 6am to get our truck.. and.,.... Monsoon decided to come back just for the day.. so kind.. it poured it down.. we waited in the rain for 2 hours just incase it let up enough to go out but no.. it got heavier and heavier.. unbelievably the trucks were still going but there was no way we could bear sitting for 4 hours in the rain looking at trees as all the animals are much more sensible and take cover.. unlike some of the other tourists who did go out only to return having seen a peacock and a rabbit and were soaked to the bone.. we however were tucked up in our room watching crap movies all day.. so not a complete waste we saw animal planet on tv so some wildlife and there were cows and pigs in the streets so not a total loss.. it rained like this for 3 days... hmmm no safari for us..

So it was on to Agra to see the Taj, but oh no it was still raining when we got there. The streets by the station were flooded so bad, we had to put our feet up in the rickshaw for water overflowing in and this isnt clean water, I  mean its full of shit, literally.. nice.. Anyway the plan was to do one night in chaotic agra, see the taj and move on.. but the rain forced us to stay, and good job we did as the day we went to the Taj at dawn it was amazing.. the clouds were a bit moody to begin with but it brightened up and we saw it in its full glory and before the bus loads of crazy americans arrived too.. although we found a couple there dressed for a safari or for the ramblers association and just could not resist a sly picture... (note the walk to the taj is flat, not exactly a trek to get there, why the sticks?)

It really is an amazing monument and something that must be seen, but thats all Agra is really it was pretty horrible round the edges, and we saw some pretty horrible things one of which we witnessed up close, was a puppy, it followed us for no reason, we ignore the dogs because otherwise this is what happens, the silly thing followed us across a main road without us realising and it ran out and got hit.. it was awful but it survived and limped off but it was ok, and 99% of the dogs have the same limp so Im sure its fine.. they are pretty tough these dogs but there is nowhere to take them, no vets no house, they are wild and treated that way although you do see random acts of kindness from mostly the street people who feed them and take care of them in a way even though they are struggling for food themselves..

We left agra that night after the Taj to make our way to Varanasi, the Ganges the burning Ghats.. it was an overnight train.. of which Ill tell you about next time..


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