Sunday, February 25, 2018

Udaipur, Venice of the East


Udaipur is known as the 'Venice of the East', the 'City of Lakes' and the 'Kashmir of Rajasthan' for good reason.  The city is almost 500 years old and surrounds five beautiful lakes.

The incredible city of Udaipur.

A nice lunch spot on Lake Pichola.

 Laundry in the lane.

Laundry at the lake.

Udaipur street art.

Lal Ghat.

I can see why it's called the 'Venice of the East'.

Whenever I walked past this woman, she would pat the stone seat beside her and say, "Sit. Sit."  I'd sit, she'd smile, we'd have a quick conversation in our respective languages, then hug and say good-bye.

City Palace.

Treed courtyard in the City Palace.

The King's love nest in the City Palace.

Every time we'd pass this guy he'd start singing 'Frere Jacques' in a big booming voice.

You can find cows pretty much everywhere in this country.

Udaipur is a beautiful city, rich in history and of course lovely people.

Next stop...Pushkar!



Friday, February 23, 2018

Bijapur


We left the town of Bundi and climbed aboard a local train bound for Bijapur.  We sat with a young family and enjoyed our morning with them.  The father spoke English quite well and was interested to know where we were from.  Everyone is excited when they hear the word Canada.  "Very cold!"  "So far away!" they say.

Mops and Pops on the train to Bijapur.

We bought some snacks to tide us over on our train journey.  When I had finished eating, I began to crumple up the newspaper with the remaining crispy bits inside.  With a smile, the father of the family motioned for me to give him the balled up newspaper.  I handed it to him and he unceremoniously threw it out the window!  LOL.

A little one watching the world go by.

An old one watching the world go by.

How many people can you fit in a tuk-tuk?  LOTS!

16th century Castle Bijaipur.  Our home for the night.

The castle grounds were kept beautifully.

Flowers were everywhere.

Castle Bijaipur.

Some of our tour group did yoga here one morning.

Chillin' by the pool. (Photo credit: Nataša Vukoman)

The owner's grandson in the castle's garden.

I love the village walks.  Everyone smiles and says hello.  Everybody wants their photo taken.

Indian women can carry anything on their heads.

Even the cows pose for photos.

Opium poppy fields.

Shhhhh...someone's sleeping.

This young mother shyly asked me for a photograph.

Dried cow patties are a major source of fuel.

Feet.

A teacher with her students.

Many of you know how much I love sleeping outdoors.  It is my favourite place to catch some shut-eye.  Imagine my delight when I learned we were going 'glamping' at Pangarh Lake Resort.  
(Photo credit: Nataša Vukoman) 

Heaven.

Wheat fields surrounded Pangarh Lake.

No matter where we are in India, the minute we step out onto any road, the village children come running.  "Photo!  Photo!" they call.

I took a bunch of photos and showed them.  Who doesn't like looking at images of themselves? 
(Photo Credit: Alexander Bons.)

Our evening stroll also included a herd of goats.

Not only was this woman a goatherd, but she was also carrying a huge bundle of saplings on her head while holding a kid.  And then she stopped and kindly let me take a photo of her!

Sunrise on Pangarh Lake.  I swear, India has the best sunrises and sunsets.

A pretty nice place to wait for breakfast to be served.

Our two nights in Bijapur passed all too quickly.

On our final morning, we jumped into taxis and roared off in the direction of Udaipur.  This city is often called 'The Venice of India'.  Can't wait!




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Blue City of Bundi


Before we travelled to the blue city of Bundi, our tour group went on a safari in Ranthambore National Park to look for the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger.  We piled into a huge jeep and drove off into the Indian countryside.

After an hour of bumping over dirt roads, our guide got a call saying there had been a tiger sighting.  Every jeep in the park drove at top speed and converged at the same spot.  We all waited with baited breath until we heard cries of, "There it is!"  Of course I couldn't see the tiger in the forest, no matter how hard someone tried to point it out to me.  But I did see it when it began to move!  There was a flash of orange and then it was gone.  What an exciting moment!

The tiger's head.  (Photo credit: Sandra Chapman)

The tiger's body.  (Photo credit: Sandra Chapman)

The next day we set off toward Bundi.  But first we made an impromptu stop along the way.

I took this photo out of our bus window.  I noticed a girl sitting on a wall.  Our tour guide noticed her too and instructed the bus driver to pull over to the side of the highway.  We all piled out as our guide ran across the highway to see if we could pay the family a visit.  The answer was an enthusiastic yes!

This smiling face greeted us on the other side of the wall. 

The next thing we knew, all the neighbours came running to get in on the action.

The grandmother invited all thirteen of us into her small living quarters to show us how she made butter.

The neighbours couldn't believe that we all crammed into the house and they had to see it for themselves.

Our tour leader (in blue and white) chatted with the women and children while tea was made.  Two of the girls asked to be taken to Canada with us.

Joe hung out with the men.

All too soon it was time to say good-bye and be on our way to Bundi.

We  arrived at our lovely hotel, dropped our bags and headed out for the afternoon's activities.

We went to see Bundi's step-well.

The steps reminded us of an M.C. Escher print.

Some of the women in our tour group had henna designs applied to their hands.

Gorgeous artistry.

 Then it was off to visit Bundi Palace, an ancient and crumbling castle overlooking the town.

'Peep-holes' were used by the royal women, who were hidden behind stone screens.

Beautiful bougainvillaea graced the palace grounds.

 Ceiling detail.

 One of the many murals in the Bundi palace.

 On our walk back to the hotel, we came across this cow in the middle of traffic.  Vehicles just swerved around it.  (I swear I have seen thousands of cows since arriving in India thirteen days ago!)

It has been a whirlwind of activity this past week.  We have seen and done so much in a very short amount of time.

Next stop, Bijaipur!