Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{ Rajasthan: land of kings & colors }

Camel Safari in the Thar Desert!
This is Papaya, my camel :)
Udaipur, "Venice of the East"
Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the BLUE city!
(hence the reason I'm wearing a blue kurta :))
Shopping outside the Golden Fort in Jaisalmer
Sunset over Lake Picchola in Udaipur
Traditional Rajasthani dupattas - I bought some like this :)
I bought a couple of turbans just like this!
5 days.
4 cities.
Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur.
The largest state in India.
The Land of Kings, the Land of Colours.
The Thar deseret.
Aravalli Mountains.
A 24-hour bus ride, A Camel Safari, the Lake Palace, Octopussy, party tuk-tuks, etc.


There is so much to say. It was splendid, exhausting, interesting, etc.
So many words to describe.
But I'll just tell you a little bit about our time there, and maybe I'll share a few photos ;)

We took a 12-hour train on Tuesday night to...
The "Venice of the East"

Udaipur, aka the city of lakes, happens to be the city where parts of James Bond's Octopussy was filmed! It was a magical city. Beautiful, ancient arches, the gorgeous Lake Picchola, the Taj Lake Palace, Monsoon Temple, the City Palace, etc. It was INCREDIBLE. One of my favorite cities by far.

On our way to the train station, we saw this fowl piece of braided hair hanging from the side of the rickshaw...disgusting! haha that's India for you!

Upon arrival in Udaipur, we saw this cute mom and daughter carving marble statues on the side of the street - Incredible India!

Beautiful beggars dressed up in the street for extra attention to tourists.

We grabbed a quick bite for breakfast as we dined with this beautiful view...

and headed out on the lake for a morning boat ride!

The Jag Mandir Lake Palace - a floating palace! Magical.

Downtown Udaipur - typical India :)

We love the royal Hati - as featured at the Udaipur City Palace.

There's the Lake Palace! Recognize it from Octopussy? :)

Jag Mandir...Incredible!

This is the swimming pool from Octopussy...

We pretended to be hotel guests and snuck into the tea room by the pool...it felt like we were living in a movie - literally.

Decorations for Diwali!
We took a cable car to the top of the mountain in Udaipur and saw the most incredible lake sunset - I loved it! 

I love this beautiful city of Udaipur! See the city palace there on the left, it is still owned and acts as a palace for the famed Singh family.

HAPPY DIWALI from the roof in Udaipur! :) 

A bumpin' party rickshaw on the way to the bus! 
After a very chilly (we forgot that the desert is very cold at night!!! uh oh) 7 hour bus ride, we arrived in Jodhpur at 4 am and took a tuk-tuk (i.e. an auto rickshaw) to a local guesthouse with our newly made Israeli friends (I have a new fancy for Israeli people :) Next stop - Israel and Jerusalem?!). The guesthouse was disgusting...too dirty, too dark. That was our first bad impression of a very dirty city. 

The Blue City. 
Our first views of the city were fowl - so dirty, so smelly.
{So maybe it was party because it was the night following the huge party celebration of Diwali? But still India! Com'on! Street sweepers??}
But, the Mehrangarh Fort helped to change our opinion a little bit :)
This gorgeous fort lines the edge of the city. 

Muslim boys in the streets of Jodhpur. 

Elephant roaming the streets of Jodhpur.

We ate lunch at this amazing restaurant On the Rocks! 

Mehrangarh fort. 

Love the Indian flags :)

THE BLUE CITY. I love this. Can you see the walls that line the old city and the fort? So magical. I love ancient history!

This is the Jodhpur city palace...it's half a hotel now and half a museum...darn, no kings in this city! 

Look at this woman's outfit! Typical Rajasthani :) 
After a long day, and no bus reservation, we went to the train station to catch the local 5-hour train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer only to find...a herd of Indians. The local train was packed. As Sarah said, and it's bad to say but...it looked like they were being taken to a concentration camp. Every square inch was packed full. We had lots of luggage too (I like to shop here in India, okay??) and there was no way we were going to cram ourselves in there for 5 hours...after a little uneasiness, we hired a taxi driver to take us...it didn't even cost too much (about $80)...thanks Anita-ji for watching out for us and taking the driver's number "just in case!" :)

We arrived in Jaisalmer at 3am only to sleep at our guesthouse for 4 hours before our camel safari.

Thar Desert.
The Golden City.
This was my favorite. I could have spent a week here. 

The Golden Fort.
And we were off for our 2 day, 1 night camel safari! 

Hi, this is Mr. Johnny, my first camel. 
Just trotting in the desert!
Our safari camel leather hats! :) (Good thing the camels didn't know :))

We stopped at a couple of villages of the Indian Rasput people...to say hi! Guess what? They had their own Hindu temple up on the hill! 

I love the look of these traditional Indian huts...
Desert melons :) refreshing! 
Check out those teeth!!
This is the second village...more civilized (kind of).
Beautiful village girl.
Lunch stop was about 3 hours...a nice break from the bump of the camel hump! Lunch was simple but super yummy :) "Rice", chapatti and vegetable.
Love you Sarah-ji! (She'll probably never read this...haha) We had fun together!
Camel kisses! 
Just an Indian beetle in the sand dunes...look at those tracks! 
Another Indian sunset from the dunes :)

Sleeping under the desert stars  - the most incredible stars I have ever seen!!!
I love this.

And back to Jaisalmer for some yummy Italian lunch and colorful shopping. 

Land of the Colours...
It really is a GOLDEN City!!!
Amazing! She was so young too.
The Fort.

I loved shopping in Rajasthan.
And...I'm proud of my very developed Chaco tan line!!! :)
After Jaisalmer, we got on a bus to Jaipur...it left at 5:15 pm. Well, our bus broke down in the middle of the night...we slept in the middle of nowhere in the cold desert on an old, smelly bus. We finally hopped on a new bus (a local bus so it made lots of stops!) and then it broke down so we waited for it to be fixed for 2 hours...and then, we were on our way again! We finally arrived in Jaipur at 5:00 pm the next day...a 24 HOUR bus ride! Can you believe it? We should have been in Jaipur at 6:30 am...well, we missed out on Jaipur but we're going back in December. We slept and ate dinner for about 5 hours before we took a 6 hour bus ride back to Delhi on Sunday night...we arrived Monday morning back in Delhi at about 5:00 am. What a trip. At least we were safe :) I'm glad it's over with though.

Rajasthan was amazing, I loved the vibrant colors and historic places...an adventure to remember!

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