Thursday, January 13, 2011


And so I’ve completed my first month in India. Still alive, blood pressure hovering around normal and looking forward to the next two months before heading to pastures new. My first month here has been a best of Rajasthan package really, other than a visit to Varanasi and some days spent in Delhi, mainly using it as a base for further exploration. To date India’s been a breeze to travel through. Sure, there have been cancelled trains or trains delayed for so long that they should have been cancelled but getting around has been wonderfully easy. The people are great, the food is wonderful, I just wish that it was warmer. The other day as I returned to the capital from a 10 day tour around some of Rajasthan’s jewels, Delhi experienced its coldest day in 42 years. Great. Christ it was cold - bone deep rather than skin deep.

One disappointment so far was Jaipur which I found to be not at all like what it says on the tin. Didn’t work for me at all there. Sure, the Palace of the Winds was eye-catching and the City Palace was suitably palatial but dull. Udaipur, however, was an unexpected treasure. Perhaps it was the difference in expectation, perhaps it was the fact that Udaipur offered the best room in the nicest guesthouse (the owner was a greedy, charmless arsehole though) after a night without sleep, whatever, it is a beautiful city with its immaculate lake setting and its genuinely stunning lakeside palace.

Jodhpur was also worth the two days I spent there, if for nothing else than its stunning Meherangarh Fort which absolutely towers above the old city. Much is made of the city’s blue walled buildings but they’re scarcely noticeable once you’re there, many of them painted in a whitewash that might look blue if you stare at it long enough. The second reason to love Jodhpur though was that fact that it served up the greatest samosas I’ve ever tasted and which I practically lived on for my two days there.

Right now I'm in Bharatpur and feeling like something of a celebrity. Being stared at the by the greater Indian population is a given from time to time, even in bigger cities like Delhi but it takes on a life of its own here in Bharatpur when, as I strolled into the city the other day to check out the fort it seemed as if I brought the bloody place to a standstill. Depending on your mood this can either be disconcerting or bloody good fun and for me, most of the time it's the latter.

No comments:

Post a Comment