So I have been flying solo today around Bundi as Joe was feeling a bit under the weather. After nearly missing our train stop last night, (with Joe being able to shake me and remove my alarm going off phone from my security pocket without me stirring!), I had a bit of lie in this morning so didn’t set off for my days sight seeing until 10.
I headed straight up towards the palace and the fort, which are Bundi’s main attractions. I decided against going into the palace as I’m a bit palaced out, and although it sounded ok in the guide book, it also sounded like a smaller version of palaces we’ve visited recently. Instead I went into the gardens which featured a room of superb murals and then took the 20 minute trek up to the fort, which proved well worth the visit.
The path up was semi overgrown and this was a feature that was carried into the fort. The place hasn’t been made tourist friendly like so much of Rajasthan and so exploring it involved climbing over fallen trees and negotiating the vegetation. I spent a good hour exploring it, and did feel rather like Indiana Jones (I may have made a video haha). I was completely alone up there for most of the time with a couple arriving about 40 minutes in.
On the walk back down, I came across a rather large male monkey coming up the narrow path. Now these are no nice, tame, cute monkeys, and I promptly doubled back up the path realizing why the couple had rather large bamboo sticks with them. Finding what can only be described as a large twig, I set off back down the path (my Indiana Jones bravo long forgotten) and have to say it’s the most threatened I’ve felt in India! Monkeys on both sides of this path, that had seemingly appeared from no where!
Upon a safe arrival down, I chatted with the couple who were British and very friendly and we went for a wander of the markets before getting some lunch by the lake. This afternoon I set off by myself (I’m meeting up with the Brits for dinner shortly) in search of a step-well that the rough guide said was the best in Rajasthan and a lake with monuments a bit North of the city.
There is little to say about the well other than it is the worst 70 rupees I’ve spent in India, completely terrible. On the flip side my wander up to find an old summer palace (where some of the jungle book was written) was very nice with the lake covered in waterlilys. Joe had recommended a hunting lodge north of the lake that a brochure in the cafe he went for breakfast said was good, so I started wandering round. A couple of guys on a motorbike pulled over to offer me a lift; I jumped on.
I don’t think I found the lodge. I saw a decent temple and some nice images of local life in the villages, but nothing resembling a lodge! I did realise that I was a fair way out of town though, so for the first time in my life I tried hitch hiking. Stuck my thumb out as a motorbike was approaching and the guy duly pulled over and said jump on! The man was called Veejay and he was a local teacher and shop owner in Bundi. He gave me a lift back into the market and I jumped off. I know hitch hiking used to be a lot more common and I can see why people enjoyed it, even after only a short 5km ride!
Tomorrow we continue onwards via state buses to Pushkar, a tiny traveller orientated town, that also hosts a massive yearly camel trade festival that starts next week, so we’ll see a bit of the build up I imagine. We’re going for a few days to chill and prepare for the final big cities of Rajasthan!