Posts Tagged With: jaipur

India… The good, the bad, and the downright evil

Well India has provided some of the best and some of the worst experiences of our lives. In some areas the scenery, people and food are among the prettiest, friendliest and tastiest (respectively) we have seen, met or had…in other areas …not the same story. Despite this we covered a lot of the country, saw a lot of sights, places, cities and have some insights that may prove useful to future travellers.

India certainly has a lot positive to be said about it and there are some must see items that make planning a trip very worthwhile. There are also some places that quite frankly are ruined by the people that you are forced to encounter along the way. Our trip was more low budget that some but higher budget than the typical backpacking style holiday.

We spent our money on the food, beer, accommodation and transport…choosing to pay that little bit more for the extra space and comfort and things like private bathrooms. That said…accommodation was generally about $20 a night for both of us and at its cheapest was $10. For not much extra (than our allowance) per day you could plan a very nice Indian sojourn and by paying the little bit extra can avoid some of the shonks that we hit along the way. You will be overpaying for what you get but the extra money takes away some of the headaches and surely that is worth a little more.

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Indian Must dos

With the beauty of hindsight this is where I would go to if I was to plan a short (2-3 week) holiday in India (in no particular order).

Agra – Taj Mahal and the fort…this one is obvious but they truly are that good. I suggest that 2-3 days is about the right amount of time here.

Amritsar – golden temple and the border show. Can be done in a one full day journey if time is tight but the people and food are so nice you will want to stay more.

Aurungabad – Ellora and Ajanta caves…absolutely stunning. Two days is about right. This was the surprise for me, had never heard of them but were the highlight of the trip.

Hampi – absolutely fantastic with so very much to see, need about 2 full days but will want more as the people and place are so good.

Jaipur – this has 3 forts, temples, a palace and all the old city walls and is again worthy of about 3-4 days depending on your schedule and timings. Jaipur is in Rajasthan and most of Rajasthan is pretty similar with forts and palaces etc. They are all different but are also very similar so if time is against you Jaipur would be my pick.

Ooty – the Indian blue mountains (Nilgiris) with a toy train ride to boot. Stunning scenery and clean by Indian standards.

Udaipur – we loved this place. The water and lakes make it very different to the other sights you tend to see. If you come in early in the morning you could see everything in a day and a bit so one overnight would be about right..add an extra night if you want to hit the fort and Jain temples which are a bit of a way out. We stayed for 6 days and enjoyed it all but most people will not have as much time.

The end.

My list would leave out 2 key ones on almost everyone else’s list and they are

Goa – a must for beach goers…we could have skipped it. It was nice and we had a good time but unless you are in dire need of sand and water it could be skipped.

Kerala – the cruise of the back waters was nice and a good treat. Our cruise was probably a bit long and one to two nights would be about right. There are afternoon cruises but you stay in the main channel with all the boat traffic.

Great if you have extra time

Now if you have a little more time available then these are my choices for good second tier spots with nice attractions, people etc

Darjeeling – tea fields, toy trains and the Himalayas on a clear day.
Hyderabad – an Indian city that is really trying to get it right.
Jaisalmer – desert, fort, safari. Nice if you have the time.
Jodhpur – nice place..very Rajasthan with forts and palaces.
Kanyakumari – the southernmost tip at the edge of 3 oceans
Mumbai – beautiful architecture, the gateway to India and Elephanta island.
Pondicherry – the French parts

Nice if you have LOTS of time

Mangalore – still the best food I have eaten in India (just not much to see)
Cochin – a nice afternoon but not too much to see
Trivandrum – good zoo and some nice architecture
Bangalore – not too much going on here

Don’t even bother

Bhubaneswar – caves and temples…not that fantastic and the experience is wrecked by the lying and cheating of what feels like almost everybody in the town. The worst that India has to offer.

I have left New Delhi off this list entirely because my experiences in New Delhi were entirely terrible. I came to Delhi 4 times (including transits) and had an atrocious experience each and every time. I may have been entirely unlucky…or it may well be the worst capital city on the planet, full of lying cheating scoundrels. Alas as New Delhi is a major transport hub you may just have to stop here to get to some of the nicer parts of India. Should you wish to do such a trip then I will let you form your own New Delhi opinion and would be happy to hear it.

I will leave the India topic with a few of my favourite moments…

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And my all time favourite moment…was…

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Farewell India…it has been an experience…

 

 

 

 

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End of Jaipur and all of Jodhpur

After the huge forts day we had a relatively calm day where we took care of some logistics and on the advice of the couple we spent the day with yesterday we joined them and tried out the movies. Jaipur has a very famous cinema and by all accounts watching a Bollywood flick with the locals is an experience not to be missed. They were right on all counts. The “Raj Mandir” cinema is famous in these parts. The film we saw was “Rambo Rajkumar” which according to the write up was “While the high-octane film is essentially a love story about PYAAR PYAAR PYAAR ya MAAR MAAR MAAR it has all the ingredients of an out-and-out masala potboiler.” If you can work out what that means you are better than I.

IMG_0368     Rajkumar

The cinema is quite frankly huge. Watching a Bollywood film amongst the locals is definitely a must do. I saw a Bollywood film on the plane over here and wondered why the entrance of the main characters was always in slow motion and took about 90 seconds. Now I know. The crowd goes wild. They cheer for the goodie, boo at the baddie and wolf whistle at the female star (who seems to always be in slow motion throughout). They sing along with the random acts of singing and dancing that appear without warning and when this combines with the pigeon constantly flying backwards and forwards to its nest in the corner of the screen it is a great time.

IMG_20131212_163922We left Jaipur (the pink city) at 3am and took the train to Jodhpur (the blue city). We checked into our haveli (private mansion) which is 400 meters from the gates to the Mehrangarh Fort. This fort was built in 1459 and has been under siege on numerous occasions and was never breached or taken. Our rooftop restaurant tables overlooked this. I must say I am loving this rooftop restaurant concept. Almost every place we stay at has had one and the idea of sitting on the roof at sunset with a cold beer and having a feed into the evening is one of the more pleasant ways to while away your time.

Hit the fort (and the palace inside) the next day along with the mausoleum on the other side. The ramparts of the fort are filled with a range of cannons from various would be invaders, that were the spoils from various conflicts over the centuries. For those keeping tally I walked up one side of the mountain, around the top of the mountain, down the other side to the clock tower, then around the bottom of the mountain to make it home.

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Jill (who has long been having a dig at me about my Gray hair) has been away from her products for an extended period. Shall we say that when you don’t dye your hair every few weeks that having gray hair is not an entirely one way street. So we stopped at the local shop and she bought some product and treated herself to a reddish tinge. This has not been seen in the full light of day yet but early signs are that this may be highly entertaining (carrotesque).

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We head to the Thar desert next when we are off to Jaisalmer (the golden city) where we will stay at the “desert moon guest house”.

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