Delhi and Rajasthan

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Where I stayed
Desert Boys Guesthouse

Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We arrived in Delhi in the luxury of business class seats on our flight from Hong Kong. We were upgraded because of a problem on our RTW ticket and Paul and I made the most of it - lots of space in your own electronic reclining seat, yummy canapes, champagne etc. etc. The air hostesses addressed us as Miss Parkinson and Mr Brown all the time, it was fantastic!! - how the other half live.

Once in Delhi we slept then met up with our friends, Martin and Annie (who we travelled with in Indonesia and Malaysia earlier in the year) for a quick tour of the mad city of New Delhi. Lots of cows (and their poo), motorised tricycles, hippies, Indian people trying to sell you things - mayhem!! We escaped to the New Tibetan Colony for the afternoon (much quieter but the polluted river wasn't very picturesque).

We left Delhi last Wednesday night and took the overnight sleeper bus to Pushkar. Pushkar is a small holy town in Rajasthan and has a nice lake (although it's a bit green) in the centre. The hotel we stayed in had a swimming pool - a welcome restbite from the heat (about 45 degrees) and our room was just over a pound - good value. As Pushkar is a holy town, there are quite a few rules (no kissing or embracing, no meat, no fish, no eggs, no alcohol etc.) but there seemed to be a lot going on in town so it wasn't a boring place (and we managed to get a few sneaky cold beers). We saw a wedding ceremony passing through the town, accompanied by their own band with the groom on his princely, bejewelled horse and the bride covered in a beautiful sari. Paul and I also had a walk round the lake which was great until we were mithered by a priest wanting to give a 'prayer bracelet' (a piece of thread) and asking for a donation. The other people were just enjoying washing themselves and cooling down in the 'ghat' (lake) - the girls in full sari style dress and the little boys in their underwear, some were also praying and wailing with their arms above their heads - all very interesting.

After 2 nights in Pushkar we headed to Jodphur - the blue city with a really well preserved 'golden' fort. The local bus we took was hot and sweaty but cheap and good to see local Indian people on. In the old town of Jodphur (within the walls) many of the house are painted blue (Blue for Brahmins and for keeping away insects) which adds a lovely character to the city especially when you view it from a rooftop with the fort in the background. Annie, Martin, Paul and I wandered through the narrow cobblestone streets where everyone said Namaste or Hello to us, very friendly people. We enjoyed a few chais (sweet milky tea, sometimes with cardamon and other spices in) and took in some of the atmosphere. The next day we explored the fort (dating back well over 500 years) with it's intricate carving and wide cobblestone walls. The heat of Rajasthan was beginning to take it's toll on us so we decided to move on to Jaisalmer the next day.

Jaisalmer is the gold city right on the edge of the Thar desert. It's fort dominates the desrt like surroundings but the fort is not as well preserved as the one in Jodphur, maybe this is because there are lots of guesthouses and restaurants inside the fort?? We checked into the Desert Boys guesthouse and bagged a fantastic old style room with sari curtains, and brightly coloured cushions on the bed (very nice). The next day Annie, Martin, Francois, Marie, Paul and I headed off into the desert for some Camel action. We took a jeep for 2 hours then rode on Camel back through the desert - some parts had beautiful sanddunes with no vegetation just a few gazelles running through. Most of the desert had some plants, lots of goats and a few villages here and there which we visited. We were lucky enough to see a wedding ceremony but because everyone wanted their picture taken we were sometimes a bit hassled. The 6 of us camped out under the stars and the moon, enjoying a few beers and a good vegetable curry with chapatis, poppadoms and pulao rice. We had some fun on our 'Camel Safari' but we'll be glad to escape the heat of Rajasthan and head up to the mountains in the north and visit Dharamsala and a few other towns.
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