30 April 2014

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Still battling with the soaring temperatures here as its been over 40 degrees; maybe as high as 45 degrees; therefore its been a struggle to do a great deal here in the blue painted city of Jodhpur.  I'm not exactly sure why many of the old buildings are painted this light shade of below except for the reason of tradition,  one of the possible reasons is the Indian caste of Brahmins took to painting their houses blue and alot of them live in Jodhpur, apparently mosquitos aren't attracted to the colour so that is a bonus.  Beneath that is the portrait of an old gentlemen who insisted I stop and took his portrait so I obliged.
That was on my way up to the Mehrangarh fort that looks over the city perched on a 300 meter high hill commanding views over the city.  Lastly not far from the fort was Jaswant Thada a white marble memorial to a famous Maharaja.



Next stop is Jaisalmer for a camel trek, then Delhi for some cricket, then i'll head further north upto Himchal Pradesh, where it shall be cooler and I can stop complaining about the temperature.

27 April 2014

Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Been in Udaipur a few days and have seen the numerous sights, including the palaces.  Udaipur is an old city and has been seat of the local royal family or maharajahs for hundreds of years.  The main City Palace and its grounds is the largest in Rajasthan and I explored round the palace museum that shows off the traditional rooms and courtyards, it was quite labyrinth with passages winding up and down to the living quarters or entertainment halls.
Perhaps what came to my mind when I thought of Udaipur is the famous Lake Palace though, built in 1754 and used as the summer time palace.  More recently made famous as the backdrop to scenes in the James Bond film Octopussy, hence why many restaurants show this film every night.  Nowadays the palace is a very exclusive and expensive hotel, so I could not get a closer look at it on its tiny island on the lake.
Another slightly different tourist attraction is the collection of vintage and classic cars that have been owned by the royal family here over the past several decades.  With another James Bond link in here as there was a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom that was also used in the film Octopussy.  Among other cars were huge classic Cadillacs, Fords and a couple of Mercedez, great to see and many of them still run, one of the older Rolls Royce cars had been entered into a classic car presentation over in California a couple of years ago.
Finally here is 3 happy local guys on a little street stall near the park preparing what I had for lunch after visiting the cars, they were making Aloo Paratha (potato stuffed fried breads) served with curd and curry, probably one of my favourite Indian breakfast/lunch meals.

24 April 2014

Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India

I stopped for a day in Chittorgarh (or just Chittor) to see the remains of the old fort, palaces and temples set up above the town.  I have to admit I did not get to see all of it as the fort walls run for about 6km along the hills above the town and there are numerous temples spread along the fort looking down to the town.
This was probably the highlight though; the tower of victory or  Jaya Stambha; that is 37m tall with stairs winding round inside I climbed to the top for the view down above all the fort and down to the town.
Here I was looking out from the tower across other temples and gardens, you can see the fort wall running off into the distance.
Here is one of the temples with amazing detail in, but too be honest I can't remember the name of it, it was a good afternoon wandering round though.

23 April 2014

Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Only about 100km is Bundi, I say only 100km but it still took some 5 hours on a backside numbing local bus yesterday, but I did arrive in the afternoon, found some food and got up early to go up to the palace on the hillside above the busy village.
Dating back to the 16th century the palace sits above the village and you can see the walls running down and up the hillside the other side and then along encasing the village.
So here is the palace a huge place; some of it is rather neglected with bats living in the old rooms, but inside this section there are still alot of the murials preserved, telling stories of the Hindu gods.
After seeing the palace further up on the hill is also the old fort, quite a steep climb and you know its going to be interesting when the ticket man told me to "pick up a rock to throw incase any monkeys come near".  The fort is totally neglected but that gave some good exploring around it on the hillside and good views, and none of the monkeys came too close.  Here is a view back down from the palace.

21 April 2014

Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Made it up to Rajasthan, but I should explain how first... My train from Goa to Mumbai was going to be 10 hours late the other night, so I got a different train but this was unreserved seating and it was full so i was sat on the floor all night.  But I got to Mumbai; got some needed rest and got another train ticket for the following day to get me to Ajmer, near Pushkar.
So this is the scene around the lake in Pushkar, its a holy little village and many locals come to go in the lake and surrounding temples.
There are Ghats all around the lake, which refer to the sets of steps leading down into the water and nearby temples/buildings I think.  Most of which are painted pale blue in Pushkar giving a tranquil look, and it was quite relaxing being in a smaller village after the noise of Mumbai the other day.

16 April 2014

Palolem, Goa, India

Just a quick update, have had a relaxing week back in Goa after down south, was going to stay abit longer but its time to get on the road. Im on a sleeper train tomorrow night to mumbai, then il carry on to Ahmedabad or Udaipur, so will update next week where I get to start my journey up north through Rajasthan. 

7 April 2014

Varkala, Kerala, India

Have spent some time this week staying up on the cliffs along Varkala beach, nice breeze blows in off the sea so that helps lower the temperature still been hot though.  Has even been a thundershower or two, plenty of lightening, so that meant the power was off for sometime. Here is just a couple of snaps along the beach and cliffs.

Up the road towards town is the local Hindu temple.  So quite a few people told us there was a festival this week, but there was no definitive answer on what this festival was called, how long it went on for (maybe 2 days maybe 10 days) and what it was for.  That said they had put up plenty of lights all around the temple to good effect and was also saw some local dancing.

1 April 2014

Alleppey (Alappuzha) Backwaters, Kerala, India

The local bus brought me down out of the hills to the coastal town of Alleppey, one of the highlights of Kerala, famous for its numerous waters/backwaters the stretch down the coast to Kollam.  I have to admit there were plenty of options for boat tours, including several thousand rupee houseboats complete with chef; bedrooms; aircon; tv and so on that travel all the way down the coast, no doubt it would be lovely but I chose a much more economical tour on a ferry with some indian families.
All around the waterways there are small villages where the locals live, so I got a glimpse of this as the boat wound through the rivers and across the lake.