Memories of India: Part Three

Claire Armstrong

The road to Rajasthan…

We were very excited about Rajasthan – the exotic desert state in North-western India, rich in history and home to some of the most beautiful cities, palaces and temples in India.

Pretty much as soon as we arrived there, we found an internet café to email home again:

“Soon we were back in the car and off to Jaipur.  It was a very long journey, and pretty much all down one straight road.  Basically as soon as we entered Rajasthan, the landscape instantly changed to near-desert, the clothes were suddenly different – men wearing cloth wrapped round their heads and so on… and there were camels everywhere.  And the road, which was in a terrible state, was in the process of being rebuilt.  And I’m not kidding, it was HOT.  I reckon it must have been at least mid-40s – I really don’t envy those people working on the road.

We drove past loads of interesting little villages and markets, brightly-dressed women carrying impossibly big baskets on their heads (no hands), people pumping water from wells (makes you really think about your own water consumption), camels pulling cart-loads full of people…”

Our hotel was beautiful there – gorgeous archways around a cool, shady courtyard, which was a relief in the desert heat.

The hotel in Jaipur

We didn’t have long in Jaipur, but we managed to see the Pink Palace and Amber Fort, and saw lots of decorated elephants, which were as beautiful as the architecture!

The Pink Palace, Jaipur
Jaipur’s Amber Fort
The Amber Fort with elephants bathing…
and a beautifully decorated elephant

Next stop was Jodhpur, the stunning blue city – so called because the buildings are almost all painted in a lovely cornflower blue… the ones inside the city walls, anyway).

I really loved it there – Jaipur had been hard work, with none of us feeling very well and it being so hectic and busy.  But Jodhpur was not just beautiful but quite peaceful too.  And the blue buildings were just gorgeous.  We stayed in a room that had a little terrace overlooking the whole walled city, and we sat out in the evening, listening to the call to prayer – quite an experience.

Jodhpur, the “Blue City”, by night and the call to prayer from our rooftop terrace
Our hotel courtyard the next morning in the sun

The first day we were there, we walked up a very big climb to see Mehrangarh Fort – easily as beautiful as the Amber Fort in Jaipur, and with a stunning view over the town itself.

At the start of our climb up to the fort, I was quite taken with this cute building, in the trademark blue of Jodhpur!
Jodhpur, as seen from Mehrangarh Fort…
and the fabulous interior of the fort.

I was very sad to leave Jodhpur, but we had places to be, so we had to get back into the car to head back to Delhi.  We broke up the journey with a very pleasant afternoon wandering around the Mandore Gardens, admiring the many Hindu temples and watching the monkeys playing in the trees.  There was lots of shade, so although we were there at the hottest part of the day, we managed to hide from the worst of it.

Mandore Gardens, Jodhpur – monkeys…
temples and shade!

Once back in Delhi, we said goodbye to our driver and stayed another night in a hotel. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the little mountain train up into the foothills of the Himalayas, where I had a rather closer encounter with a monkey…

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2 thoughts on “Memories of India: Part Three

  1. Reminds me of a similar journey with car and driver back in the ’90s. Rajasthan is so different from other parts of India! We were lucky enough to spend some time in the desert too.
    And the blue houses are (or used to be) those belonging to Brahmin families. Such a beautiful colour …

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