Sunday, 25 November 2007

Day 186 - Jaipur

Well, as you might have seen in the comments, by complete surprise, Erik and Tjeerd who I cycled with in Iran, were in Udaipur at the same time as me. I knew they were in the south of India heading north, but not having a map I didnt know exactly where they were. So I asked around for the Mona Lisa Hotel and soon found them in their room and like me were leaving the following morning and heading for Ajmer.

So the following morning they came over to my Guest House and we had breakfast overlooking the lake before setting off. The good thing about riding with others is that you can all get lost together. We set of on a small main road heading for a big temple at Ranakpur, but there were lots of roadworks and diversions. We kept checking with people that we were going the right way but after 65k I knew we were wrong and a passing motorcyclist confirmed it. We had overshot the turning onto a little road, but couldn't understand where. We retraced and went on a diversion we had missed by taking the nice new road instead and at last we found it. It was well worth the effort as the road was excellent, very small and nice and scenic ending in a wonderful descent along the side of a steep valley to Ranakpur. We reached there just before dark and found accommodation at the temple, a 7 x 7 cell with flagstones and white washed walks and that was it, not even a bed, but it was just right for us.

The following morning we had the place to ourselves, probably because you couldn't go in untill 12, so we had to make do with the 3 smaller temples by the big one. We then set off and the next 70k were still on tiny single track roads through little villages full of colourful people, women in their saris and the men with big turbans. I was never quite sure if the road would just end as there was little traffic as it climbed into the mountains and changed from tarmac to gravel and back. Eventually we reached the main road, then we had a 50k bash to Bhim and a basic hotel infested with mosquitos.

The next day we went for the easy life and went straight along the main road into Ajmer. Most of the hotels were full and we spent about 1 1/2 hours looking for a room which was a bad place to have a problem as Erik was ill and needed to go to bed. Once we had sorted out the room it was time for me to go and meet Judith and Andre at the clock tower and for once our meeting arrangements were spot on. They joined us in our hotel which meant a reunion of the 5 cyclists.
The following day we went to the nearby Pushkar Camel festival, but for me it was a real let down. There were supposed to be about 50,000 camels there, but most had gone home, but there were at least 50,000 people and the place was packed. People come from miles around and it was at least full of colour and people full of character, oh and a cow with 5 legs! I think I would rather have seen it under normal circumstances (photo).

Erik, Tjeerd and I had breakfast at a little food stall near the hotel. As I sat on a bench with my back to the wall I felt something touching my back. I moved to see what it was and a rat went scurrying off, much to the ammusement of the locals. We decided that 5 cyclists together in the busy traffic wasnt a good idea so we split up and I cycled with Judith and Andre and we all met up again in Dudu, a shortish ride so a good sociable evening. Being a Saturday there were weddings in the town, which once again means making as much noise as possible with terrible sounding bands, firecrackers and fireworks. As we went in search of something to eat in the evening we passed one of the weddings and were immediately latched onto by the kids and teenagers who followed us around town in hysterical fashion. Erik and Tjeerd taught us a nice simple dice game with a really original name....Dice. Much to my annoyance Judith one the first 2 games and really let me know about it.

Today we made our way along the main road again in Jaipur where we will spend a few days, not an exciting route in, but it still amazes me to see lorries coming towards us on a 3 lane dual carriageway.

1 comment:

Caff said...

I'm assuming that India is not as safe as some of the other countries you have cycled through judging by the amount of padlocks you are now having to put on your bike!! Also, your bike is now looking rather battered - are you not looking after it properly?!! :-)