The so-called “Sun City” Jodhpur

P1030410
When we arrived in Jodhpur we did not have any clue on what to expect. We had just chosen the city, as it was written in capital letters on our map, and because it was on the way on our route up North. When we arrived in the city we were immediately glad that we had put the city on our itinerary. The big market by the old clock tower was swarming with people. Some were selling, some buying, others fixing things and some, like us, were there for the sake of observing. Since our expectations had been low, we were quite impressed of what the city had to offer. We attended a dance show, got our shoes fixed at the market and had dinner on a rooftop with good view of the fortress above the city. It was a city well worth visiting, on the way between Udaipur and Pushkar.

Forts and temples in the outback of Rajasthan

P1030387
Since we had grown tired by overcrowded trains with noisy and snoring people, we decided to hire a taxi for a week. As long as we agreed to not stay longer than two nights in the cities we visited, the travel agency we booked through did not ask for money for the drivers accommodation. Gas and food the driver also had to provide for himself, and we were the ones in charge, who decided where and when to stop. On the way from Udaipur to Jodhpur, we decided to take to major stops.

The first one was in Krumbalgarh, which is known for its big 15th century built fortress. It took us quite a long time to reach the top by foot, but it was well worth the walk when we came to the top. Here we had a spectacular view of the long stretching fortress walls, which reminded us of the Great Wall of China, and we also enjoyed watching the many monkeys at close hold, until they started chasing us away.
P1030367
P1030374
P1030380
The second stop was in Ranakpur, where the famous marble Jain temple is located. After being at the architectural masterpiece of the Krumbalgarh Fort, the Renakpur temples were not that impressing, but we found a painted elephant, which we were quite amused of. The park area around the temple also had a good atmosphere, and was a nice place to stop for a chai break, before we drove 5 hours non-stop to Jodhpur.
P1030395

Udaipur “The romantic city”

DSC_0293
Udaipur is known as the romantic city of India, and is also the place where the James Bond movie Octapussy was filmed. This movie was shown in many of the hotels, guest houses and rooftop restaurants along the Lake Pichola, which is also the place you can see the famous Lake Palace (picture above).

 

The life in Udaipur was easy to get used to, and we spent as long as a week doing hindicourses, practicing yoga on a rooftop, making tailormade shirts and suits and walked along the beutiful promenade by the Lake. 
DSC_0268_2
DSC_0251_2
P1030219
P1030313
The first six days were spent at an extremely cheap guesthouse (“Jag Niwas” at 100Rupees/10NOK) pp a night. Towards the end our stay, we decided to pamper ourself with good meals and a hotelroom nicer that any of us had previously stayed in. It seemed like the market for accomodation and restaurants was pretty good here. Also the city is full of culture and historical buildings such as the City Palace and the many temples hidden away in the narrow streets. Udaipur is a beautiful city and the perfect place for harnessing chi. It is a destination we could recommend all fellow travelers to stay longer in, when visiting India.
P1030353 (1)
Above is a picture of the room we rented at a pound a night, quite cheap even for India

Ahmedabad, a city with no tourists

P1030149
As we had gotten a bit tired of long train rides, and hot and humid nights, we decided to fly for the first time since we got to India. The flight was scheduled for 11.20 from Kochi to Ahmedabad, but did not leave the ground before nearly an hour later. With a brief stop in Mumbai, the plane reached Ahmedabad in the evening, so we were struck by the northern cold night temperature as we left the plane.

As adventurous as we were, we had not booked a hotel in advance, something we highly came to regret. Because of the annual “international” kite festival, most of the hotels were fully booked, and we had to go for a hotel recommended by the rickshaw driver (which is not very smart, as the drivers usually get an allowance added to your hotel bill). It was one of the most expensive hotels we had stayed at, and certainly one of the worst, but we were too tired to keep looking and settled for what we were offered. Since several posters and books had boosted about the “huge” kite festival that was happening right by our hotel, we decided to dress up in traditional Indian outfits, and check it out. 

DSC_0236
 DSC_0247

A soon as we left the doors, people gave us fascinated looks, and soon as many as thirty people were accompanying us to get pictures and autographs. When we and our tail of locals reached the festival area, we were surrounded by people took pictures and wanted to shake our hands. It became clear to us that foreigners in Indian clothes was a big fascination to the locals, but for us it became too much. Just minutes of being at the festival area, we had to retreat to our hotel, desperately trying to force our way through the gathering crowd. It might sound very extreme, but this was the reality in Ahmedabad. Even though the kite festival is recommended by Lonely Planet, it did not seem to great to us the short time we spent there.

 

Ahmedabad is probably not among our favorite cities in India, but it had been cultural experience that will be hard to forget.  The same evening, we jumped on the next night train heading north to Udaipur, which was a whole other experience. 
P1030187

Mountaintrip to Munnar

P1030019
130 Kilometers East of Kochi, you can find the mountain city of Munnar. As a part of a package deal, we went for a two day trip together with two Danish and and Australian. On the way, we got to see some elephants taking their morning bath and lots of monkeys and tea plantations. Even though it was very cold at an altitude of nearly 1800 meters, the climate was very comfortable with clean air and cold nights, which we had been yearning after ever since we got to India.

DSC_0137

The high speed and the many curves gave us quite a sick stomach and enough near death experiences for a day, but as soon as we got to the hill top station, it was all forgotten because of the sight that met us. With the spectacular view there were bright green tea plants as far as the eye could see. We also got to stop to see how the tea was harvested and produced, and to get a taste of a freshly made cup of chai (the most popular tea in India).

P1030035
After the long trip we arrived at the guest house where we were supposed to spend the night. The host stood ready and welcomed us one by one, before she served us a local speciality that was prepared for dinner. We found the dish very delicious, until a comment from Elise ruined our appetite: ”you know that it is chicken intestines we are eating, right?”. The dish was then neatly seta side, and we were showed to our room for the night.
The next morning we got up early to take a ride on the nearby elephants, before we headed back to Kochi. 
DSC_0029
DSC_0125