India, United Kingdom · 19 Days · 56 Moments · November 2017

Temples, forts and elephants

28 November 2017

And we're back home! Of course, first thing we put the kettle on 😀 It's bloody cold here! What an amazing adventure, elephants, camels, temples, forts and just the normal chaos & noise on India's streets - India surprised and amazed us in so many ways!
Hello London!
Goodbye India! ✈️

27 November 2017

One ten-hour train journey later - exhausting, but at least we had a cabin all to ourselves! 🚂
One last breakfast in glorious sunshine and under an amazingly blue sky before we have to face London's wintery cold. Today we face a ten-hour train journey back to Delhi before we'll fly back home tomorrow. We're both excited for home and nostalgic to leave this crazy, wonderful country!

26 November 2017

Waving goodbye to India (since tomorrow we're basically spending 10 hours on a train and not a lot else) with a great meal at the recommended Indique rooftop restaurant with a nice view of the fort lit up at night!
Our final day in Jodhpur and our final fort, offering great views over the blue city - the audio guide was very entertaining and we learned a lot about the way the Maharanas used to live and rule
Arrived at our final guest house - very friendly owner and a large spacious room!
We had a hearty breakfast of omlette, chips, tomatoes, onions, baked beans and toast and left the wonderful desert camp (probably our holiday highlight) and our jeep driver from the day before picked us up at 11 and drove us the hour long journey back to Jodhpur for our final proper day!

25 November 2017

After getting back from our sunset safari we were treated to traditional Rajasthani music and dance - we were basically the only Westerners staying in the camp so it all felt very centered around us - they even asked if we wanted to eat first instead of starting the show! Tanja even had a little dance 😁💃 Afterwards we sat down to a nice meal and enjoyed the pretty fairy lights illuminating the campsite. We turned in around 9 and had to wrap ourselves up warm as the desert gets fairly cold, in huge contrast to the day!
Today we went on a camel sunset safari! Spectacular! Riding a camel is easier than it looks - but you're really high up!
Just arrived in our desert safari camp for a quiet getaway from the busy cities - it's very peaceful here and we can unwind in the sun before our last couple of days in India
A pleasant night in the budget LG Guest House in Jodhpur, feeling much better now after eating some Hobnobs and toast for breakfast :) Some fantastic views here across the Blue City

24 November 2017

We stopped off at Ranakhpur to visit the Jain temple there - you can see why this place was shortlisted for one of the modern seven wonders, it's built from marble and contains over 1,000 pillars stunningly carved with fine detail - very beautiful!
We set off from Mount Abu and were gripping our seats as Shankar (our driver) descended the twisty mountain road with the usual Indian approach to road safety when encountering a narrow hairpin bend - give the horn a quick blast and cross your fingers. We saw lots of monkeys on the way down and on the way to Ranakhpur we ran into a herd of ox being led up the road.

23 November 2017

We were still not feeling 100% today but we managed to enjoy Mt Abu a bit - the scary drive up the mountain road yesterday should not be for nothing! We visited the Dilwara temples, really beautiful Jain temples built in the 11th century! Stunning! Afterwards we had a little stroll around the peaceful Nakki lake. Then back to the hotel and eating plain rice (again!)...

21 November 2017

After both falling ill with a cold *and* stomach upset, we extended our stay in Udaipur and checked into the luxury 4 star Ramada Spa Hotel for one day - wish we could afford this kind of hotel all the time! 😮

20 November 2017

In the evening we went to the wonderful Rajasthani folk dance and puppet show 'Dharohar'. It was incredible, the dancers were balancing fire and dressed in beautiful colourful costumes. The highlight was the 71-year old lady who had not less than nine bowls on her head and was still able to dance gracefully!
The boat ride on lake Pichola was amazing and really beautiful!
Udaipur's city palace is really impressive and the royal family still lives in parts of it! We also learned at lot about the Maharana's bloody war legends.

19 November 2017

Today we were forced to relax - thanks to a case of "Delhi Belly". In the evening we and Sonia still went to the beautiful lakeside restaurant Ambrai - best atmosphere so far! Hopefully tomorrow we're fit again to discover beautiful Udaipur!

18 November 2017

We were quite early at the train station, so we sat down on the ground like the locals! Then followed another train journey, this time in the second class seater class! Not too bad: quite spacious and clean and the train was on time (almost).
This morning we strolled through the market and enjoyed watching it come to life! We bought some nice souvenirs and maybe even a gift or two. After a walk around the lake, we enjoyed a yummy and healthy vegetarian lunch. We're relaxing on the hostels roof-terrace now, before we have to say goodbye to Pushkar and face the 5 hour long train journey to Udaipur!

17 November 2017

One thing you have to get used to as a tourist is that Indians will ask you for a picture with you! It's lovely but can really take some time - we learned to avoid school children, because of you say yes to one child, the whole class wants a picture!
Wandering the bazaars of the village of Pushkar, this is so much more relaxed than the big cities we've been visiting until now, much more laid back and no pressure to make purchases - of course, relaxed is a relative term - and you still have to watch out for cattle and motorbikes honking their way up the narrow crowded streets. There are many temples in Pushkar, including one of the only Brahma temples in the world, and the lake is holy. But other than that, there's not much to do besides strolling through the market and eating nice food. A welcome change from the busy cities we've seen so far!
Time for lunch! Italian and Israeli food is very common around Pushkar so we opted for pizza and a falafel/hummus dish at the Out of the Blue rooftop restaurant and enjoyed spending some time soaking in the scenery, with the lake in front of us and monkeys could be seen making their way across the rooftops 🐒 Of course we also had some lassis, we just can't get enough of this yummy yoghurt drink! But the best thing about this place was the real Italian coffee!
After a short train journey and Ola ride, we have arrived at our hotel in Pushkar - hugely impressed, the nicest place we have stayed yet! Wonderfully decorated and we even got a free upgrade to a deluxe room!

16 November 2017

Ending our day in the busy but impressive Jaipur with a visit to this amazing Peacock Rooftop Restaurant. We were adventurous and spurned the Korma in favour of Murgh Methi which was delicious, followed by waffles and ice cream 🍦
Jaipur's Pink City is dominated by a huge bazaar with endless stalls selling jewellery and colourful clothes - Tanja tried on a dress but ended up opting for a pair of garnet earrings after a bit of haggling!
I don't think we'll ever get used to seeing so many animals wandering around the streets, in and out of the busy traffic. On virtually every street you will see a few dogs or cattle scavenging for scraps amongst the litter. Most amazing is to see how many monkeys live in the cities and on the streets (or rather roofs)!
Amber Fort was beautiful and probably eclipses both Agra Fort and Delhi's Red Fort in terms of beauty - the view was amazing and we made the most of our recent discovery of the Ola app for hailing a ride for a great price. It was a really hot day so we were mostly jumping from shade to shade! But we still walked up to the fort (it's really not that far!) instead of riding an elephant like many other tourists. Thanks to our trip to the elephant sanctuary we know better than to support this cruel practice!

15 November 2017

Checked in at Jaipur, a really nice guest house with a decent little room and a rooftop café with home-cooked food. It was late when we arrive but they still were able to whip up a couple of Thalis for us!
Time to catch the train to Jaipur! Executive Chair class gives you so much legroom and the toilets are better too!
Our hired auto-rickshaw driver for the day told us to call him Johnny as he rightly noted he is the spitting image of comedian Johnny Vegas 😂
The very large and impressive Agra Fort with a distant view of the Taj.
1 of the modern seven wonders ticked off, only 6 to go! It was simply breathtaking! We got talked into a professional photo shoot which actually turned out to be well worth it!

14 November 2017

Tonight we ate at Pinch of Spice, recommended by our guide book and tried the Korma - definitely nothing like the UK version. Very good food though, and the cinnamon mocktail was great for taking the spicy edge off!
Just wow! Can't put into words really how awesome it was to feed and touch these magnificent animals up close - they do great work at this elephant sanctuary, well worth a donation to work towards ending elephant captivity in India
Just checked in at the Grand Imperial in Agra, which we spontaneously upgraded to at the last minute for a welcome bit of luxury - definitely a place that lives up to its name
First train journey successfully complete! 2nd class cabins surprisingly roomy - just best to avoid the toilets 🤢

13 November 2017

All the food here is so tasty! We already had Nepalese, Mughal, Parsi, South Indian and Street food - amazing variety!
Final tourist attraction for the day was the impressive Humayan's Tomb which felt like a mini-Taj. The real one is coming on Wednesday!
We got a very interesting (and slightly eerie) introduction into Hare Krishna spirituality
It's a shame the Ba'hai Lotus Temple was closed so we could only observe it from afar
This Hindu temple was probably more impressive from the outside - still getting used to having to take off shoes before going inside
Stunning collection of monuments at the Qutab Complex

12 November 2017

This beautiful Sikh temple was stunning!
An old well that doesn't carry any water nowadays is now a popular hangout and photo shooting place for young Indians!
This old monument is a huge sun dial - and a good photo op as well 😉
The largest mosque in Delhi, every Friday nearly 25,000 come to pray here. The view from the tower was slightly impacted by all the pollution, but the climb helped us to walk off our huge lunch!
The red fort was very impressive, despite all the polluted air!
The streets of old Delhi are a colourful adventure!

11 November 2017

Tanja got some fingernail art courtesy of a market artist, and we actually bought one of his pieces
What a day! Whisked around Delhi by Sonia to experience some of the markets and sights - now ready to sleep for 10 hours.
It was a good flight but we didn't get that much sleep ...

10 November 2017

And we're ready to go! After busy and stressful weeks we really earned this holiday! 18 days of travel and adventure lays before us!