A Travellerspoint blog

February 2009

Pushkar 1 - 4 March 2009, plus Food and Drink item

Another overnight journey - but this is the last for some time. 1AC class on the train - which means a comfortable 4 birth cabin. Only problem ... arriving in Ajmer, which is a three quarter hour trip away from Pushkar, at 03h30 !!

There were just auto rickshaws outside the station and we eventually negotiated a ride with one. The driver said he knew where the hotel was, but of course he didn't - so we spent 15 minutes roaming round Pushkar trying to find the hotel or someone we could wake up to ask directions ...

Its a very holy place - a place of pilgimage to bathe in the sacred waters. The lake is surrounded by ghats (steps down to the lake from which people perform the bathing rituals), temples, etc. In principle its a beautiful spot but it has lost it a bit these days ... full of shops selling to tourists, cafes providing non Indian food to westerners, loads of westerners 'going Indian' ... It also is not helped much at the moment because three quarters of the lake has been drained and there is heavy digging machinery, trucks and tractors clearing out the mud! (Just one photo shows the unpretty image!)

Incidentally, its full vegetarian here (no eggs either) and no alcohol!

Still, we had a good hotel (with a pool!), which did very good breakfasts and good Indian food. We were woken in the morning by the noisy calls of wild peacocks and rose to see loads of them out of our window, plus monkeys in the tree opposite. We also had a very enjoyable day out, using the local bus, in Ajmer. On the final day we got ourselves blessed by the lake (necessary to visit the temples) - of course during the blessing the priest suggests that the blessing you will get is proportional to your donation(!) - visited some temples, and checked out the bazar and were lucky to see a large group of Indian visitors (who we assumed were from some Rajastani village where they still wear traditional gear) in spectacular gear (check out the photos) ...

Good time had overall.

Not particularly appropriate in the Pushkar entry, but ... ... Food and Drink:

Food There's an enormous variety of food (both snacks and meals to eat in India, in you like it spicey (and we are only likely to eat vegetarian for the 5 weeks we plan to be here), but I will just mention two "staples":

THALI: Actually named from the metal tray it is served on, its a meal (sometimes "all you can eat") with a few different curries, sauces, pickles and chutneys, plus some chappatis, popadum and rice, plus sometimes yoghourt and even sweet. It varies a lot between restaurants and between north and south India. Usually less than 1 Euro a meal.

MASSALA DOSA: A hearty snack from the south of India ... delicious crispy pancake made from chickpea/lentil flour, with a good dollop of spicey potato mush inside and served with sambal (hot sauce - in both senses) and coconut chutney - invariably delicious and sells at between 50 and 75 Eurocents!

Drinks Apart from copious quantities of mineral water, and apart from the usual soft drinks such as cake, fresh lemon soda is a very refreshing option nd available everywhere. Otherwise, lassi (a mixture of yoghourt and milk is delicious). The photo shows the guy pouring makhana (sweet lemony) lassis at the very popular Mishrilal (near clock tower) in Jodhpur. (0.25 Euros and absolutely delicious).

For a hot drink, the coffee in northern India is nearly always filtered (Nescafe) so tea is a better option. The locals drink "chai" (masala tea) which is tea, milk, (usually) sugar all heated up together with a pinch of spices (ginger, cardamom, pepper). I really like it here although I doubt that I will be drinking it like that outside India! Lindsey prefers tea bags in boiled water!

Alcoholic drinks are only really sold in high class restaurants and hotels and are expensive by Indian standards. We are generally limiting ourselves to one shared large beer a day (!), usually purchased from special small shops selling alcoholic drinks (which close promptly at 20h00). They are often called "English Wine Shop" for some reason. (Around 1 Euro for 660 ml from shop or 2-2.5 Euros per beer in a resto/hotel).

As you might gather, food and drink are incredibly cheap if you eat at decent restaurants where the locals do, and still extremely reasonable from most hotels.

Getting there  - First Class for once 1

Getting there - First Class for once 1


Getting there  - First Class for once 2

Getting there - First Class for once 2


Around Pushkar Lake 1

Around Pushkar Lake 1


Around Pushkar Lake 2

Around Pushkar Lake 2


Around Pushkar Lake 3

Around Pushkar Lake 3


Around Pushkar Lake 4

Around Pushkar Lake 4


Around Pushkar Lake 5

Around Pushkar Lake 5


Around Pushkar Lake 6

Around Pushkar Lake 6


Around Pushkar Lake 7 - Digging out the mud!

Around Pushkar Lake 7 - Digging out the mud!


Around Pushkar Town 1

Around Pushkar Town 1


Around Pushkar Town 2

Around Pushkar Town 2


Around Pushkar Town 3

Around Pushkar Town 3


Around Pushkar Town 4

Around Pushkar Town 4


Around Pushkar Town 5

Around Pushkar Town 5


Around Pushkar Town 6

Around Pushkar Town 6


Around Pushkar Town 7

Around Pushkar Town 7


Around Pushkar Town 7

Around Pushkar Town 7


Around Pushkar Town 8

Around Pushkar Town 8


Views from bedroom - Peacocks 1

Views from bedroom - Peacocks 1


Views from bedroom - Peacocks 2

Views from bedroom - Peacocks 2


Views from bedroom - Peahens and babies

Views from bedroom - Peahens and babies


Views from bedroom - Monkeys in tree opposite 2

Views from bedroom - Monkeys in tree opposite 2


Views from bedroom - Monkeys in tree opposite

Views from bedroom - Monkeys in tree opposite


Around the hotel - A pool !!!

Around the hotel - A pool !!!


Around hotel - Cheers! Coke of course - no alcohol

Around hotel - Cheers! Coke of course - no alcohol


Visitors in town 1

Visitors in town 1


Visitors in town 2

Visitors in town 2


Visitors in town 3

Visitors in town 3


Visitors in town 4

Visitors in town 4


Visitors in town 5

Visitors in town 5


Visitors in town 6

Visitors in town 6


Food and Drink Typical Resto - Hotel Priya Jodhpur

Food and Drink Typical Resto - Hotel Priya Jodhpur


Food and Drink - A typical Thali

Food and Drink - A typical Thali


Food and Drink - Thali - "More Sir?" !

Food and Drink - Thali - "More Sir?" !


Food and Drink - Massala Dosa - Snack

Food and Drink - Massala Dosa - Snack


Food and Drink - Chai (MasalaTea)

Food and Drink - Chai (MasalaTea)


Food and Drink - Makhana Lassi - Delicious!

Food and Drink - Makhana Lassi - Delicious!


Food and Drink - India's Best Selling Beer!

Food and Drink - India's Best Selling Beer!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Udaipur, 25 - 28 February, 2009

Jodhpur has a railway station and so does Udaipur, but its apparently impractical to go by train between the two ... so, it was an overnight bus! An experience ... because it was the first time we had experienced Indian sleeper boxes on buses! Below are ordinary seats, above are boxes for one on left and two on right of gangway. They are not too bad as they keep they give privacy and block out some of the noise, and we put our rucksacks in there too. However, the route was particularly bumpy, the driver had his hand on the multi tone horn much of the time and they also put on horrific Indian music at unbearably loud volume for some of the trip! An experience, but we would probably not choose to repeat it.

However, once installed in the hotel we were fine. The room was even better than previous ones and the hotel is located very close to Lake Pichola and the views from the roof are stunning.

Udaipur is a little less hectic than some of the other towns and we really enjoyed it here. There's colourful markets, the City Palace and the lakeside to explore ... the beautiful Lake Palace hotel is only accessible to paying guests now.

As we were in Udaipur for 4 days, we went on a day outing to Dungapur by local bus - its nearly 3 hours each way, then an auto rickshaw to the Udai Bilas Palace Hotel to get tickets for the Jana Mahal palace (which was the reason for the visit), then rickshaw up to Jana Mahal and back ... The Udai Palace Hotel would be a lovely place to stay if you could afford it - we just stopped for a lemon soda by the pool - and the Jana Mahal Palace is fabulous. It looks like very few people get there, but it really was something special.

Hotel Pichola Haveli Bedroom

Hotel Pichola Haveli Bedroom


View of temple from bedroom window

View of temple from bedroom window


Hotel roof restaurant - View of Pichola lake

Hotel roof restaurant - View of Pichola lake


Hotel roof restaurant - View of Pichola lake 2

Hotel roof restaurant - View of Pichola lake 2


Hotel roof restaurant - View of Lake Palace Hotel

Hotel roof restaurant - View of Lake Palace Hotel


Hotel roof restaurant - View of City Palace

Hotel roof restaurant - View of City Palace


Jagdish Temple - Petal sellers

Jagdish Temple - Petal sellers


Jagdish Temple

Jagdish Temple


Jagdish Temple detail

Jagdish Temple detail


Around Udaipur town 1

Around Udaipur town 1


Around Udaipur town 2

Around Udaipur town 2


Around Udaipur town - Wedding procession

Around Udaipur town - Wedding procession


Around Udaipur town 4

Around Udaipur town 4


Around Udaipur town - Spicey!

Around Udaipur town - Spicey!


Around Udaipur town - Clock Tower

Around Udaipur town - Clock Tower


City Palace 1

City Palace 1


City Palace 2

City Palace 2


City Palace 3

City Palace 3


City Palace 4

City Palace 4


Dungapur  - by local bus!

Dungapur - by local bus!


Dungapur  - by local bus 2

Dungapur - by local bus 2


Dungapur - Udai Bilas Palace hotel for lemon soda

Dungapur - Udai Bilas Palace hotel for lemon soda


Dungapore - Lemon Soda Time

Dungapore - Lemon Soda Time


Dungapur - Udai Bilas Palace hotel

Dungapur - Udai Bilas Palace hotel


Udai Bilas Palace hotel dining table !!!

Udai Bilas Palace hotel dining table !!!


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 1

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 1


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 2

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 2


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 4

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 4


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 17

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 17


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 21

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 21


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 3

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 3


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 13

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 13


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 5

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 5


Dungapur - Jama Mahal 6

Dungapur - Jama Mahal 6


Dungapur - Jama Mahal - Kama Sutra miniatures

Dungapur - Jama Mahal - Kama Sutra miniatures


Lake Pichola - City Palace at sunset

Lake Pichola - City Palace at sunset


Lake Pichola 2

Lake Pichola 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Jodhpur, 22 - 24 February 2009

From the golden city of Jaisalmer to the blue city of Jodhpur it was another overnight train - although this time just six hours arriving at the ungodly hour of 05h30 ... so we waited a couple of hours in the sleeper passengers waiting room area just above the main station hall (check out the photo to see what that looked like!).

The hotel was a great one in an old haveli with excellent views from the rooftop restaurant (great for breakfasts and a meal under the stars in the evening), and right in the middle of the old town close to the clock tower - an area full of interest.

Otherwise, Jodhpur has one of the most impressive forts in Rajasthan.

Jodhpur Railway Station Hall 05h30!

Jodhpur Railway Station Hall 05h30!


Hotel Pal Haveli

Hotel Pal Haveli


Hotel Pal Haveli - Bedroom

Hotel Pal Haveli - Bedroom


Hotel Pal Haveli - Breakfast with a view

Hotel Pal Haveli - Breakfast with a view


Hotel Pal Haveli - View from roof - Clocktower

Hotel Pal Haveli - View from roof - Clocktower


Hotel Pal Haveli - view from roof - Fort

Hotel Pal Haveli - view from roof - Fort


Hotel Pal Haveli view from roof - Gulab Sagar

Hotel Pal Haveli view from roof - Gulab Sagar


Hotel Pal Haveli - view from roof

Hotel Pal Haveli - view from roof


Old town - Clock tower area 1

Old town - Clock tower area 1


Old town - Clock tower area 2

Old town - Clock tower area 2


Old town - Clock Tower area 4

Old town - Clock Tower area 4


Old town - Clock Tower area 5

Old town - Clock Tower area 5


Old town - Cossetting the bull !

Old town - Cossetting the bull !


Old town - Clock Tower area 7

Old town - Clock Tower area 7


Old town - Clock Tower area 8

Old town - Clock Tower area 8


Meherangarh Fort 1

Meherangarh Fort 1


Meherangarh Fort 2

Meherangarh Fort 2


Meherangarh Fort 3

Meherangarh Fort 3


Meherangarh Fort 4

Meherangarh Fort 4


Meherangarh Fort 5

Meherangarh Fort 5


Meherangarh Fort 7

Meherangarh Fort 7


Meherangarh Fort 8

Meherangarh Fort 8


Meherangarh Fort 9

Meherangarh Fort 9


Meherangarh Fort 10

Meherangarh Fort 10


Meherangarh Fort 11

Meherangarh Fort 11


Blue City 1

Blue City 1


Blue City 3

Blue City 3


Blue City 4

Blue City 4


Jaswant Thada 1

Jaswant Thada 1


Jaswant Thada 2

Jaswant Thada 2


Around the old town 1

Around the old town 1


Around the old town 2

Around the old town 2


Around the old town 3

Around the old town 3


Women around town 1

Women around town 1


Women around town 2

Women around town 2


Women around town 3

Women around town 3

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Jaisalmer, 18 - 21 February 2009

Jaisalmer is in Rajastan 800 kms west of Delhi. Its about as far as civilisation goes west in these parts - on the edge of the Thar desert, close to the Pakistan border. The overnight train arrived over 3 hours late after a 20 hour journey! However the A/C Sleeper Class is auite comfortable.

Very nice hotel conveniently located with superb view of Fort from rooftop restaurant.

Two particular features here - lots of beautifully carved stonework on houses (in particular, havelis) and very large quantities of cattle in the streets, alleys, etc. I stepped in some particularly moist cow pats on two occasions! Lovely in flipflops!!

Plenty of interest walking around town, shops, ... and a day spent visiting sites around Jaisalmer - inclusing the sunset over the Sam dunes 40 kms away. Don't expect a romantic experience, its quite a scene!

Our Hotel

Our Hotel


Our Hotel Room

Our Hotel Room


Our Hotel - Breakfast with a view

Our Hotel - Breakfast with a view


Jaisalmer Fort from Hotel

Jaisalmer Fort from Hotel


Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort


Jaisalmer Fort detail

Jaisalmer Fort detail


Jaisalmer Fort Entrance

Jaisalmer Fort Entrance


Town from Jaisalmer Fort

Town from Jaisalmer Fort


Around town

Around town


Moist Cow Pat - Cleaning off the kaka!

Moist Cow Pat - Cleaning off the kaka!


One legged dummy! Would you buy here?

One legged dummy! Would you buy here?


Havelis 1

Havelis 1


Havelis 2

Havelis 2


Havelis 3

Havelis 3


Havelis 4

Havelis 4


Havelis 5

Havelis 5


Havelis 6

Havelis 6


Havelis 7

Havelis 7


Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake 1

Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake 1


Around jaisalner - Gadi Sagar Lake 2

Around jaisalner - Gadi Sagar Lake 2


Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake - Bee Eater

Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake - Bee Eater


Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake 3

Around Jaisalmer - Gadi Sagar Lake 3


Cossetting the bull!

Cossetting the bull!


Women around town 1

Women around town 1


Women around town 2

Women around town 2


Women around town 3

Women around town 3


Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple 1

Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple 1


Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple

Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple


Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple 3

Around Jaisalmer - Amar Sagar Jain Temple 3


Around Jaisalmer - Loderwa Jain Temples 1

Around Jaisalmer - Loderwa Jain Temples 1


Around Jaisalmer - Loderwa Jain Temples 2

Around Jaisalmer - Loderwa Jain Temples 2


Around Jaisalmer - Royal Tombs

Around Jaisalmer - Royal Tombs


Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 1

Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 1


Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 3

Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 3


Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 2

Around Jaisalmer - Sam Dunes 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Delhi, 14 - 17 February 2009

Good start on flight to Delhi - we recognised a sterwardess who we had spoken to on the flight back from Rio three weeks earlier! ... she came up to us with two glasses of champagne whilst the flight was waiting around before take off!

Day 1: Washed out! Very tired on arrival - lost five and a half hours going east, 05h30 morning arrival, 2 hours through immigration and wait for baggage, long time for taxi to hotel (although only 4 euros for 20kms). Collapsed for some time but did brave the metro and headed into New Delhi centre for a while.

Day 2: The Sites Visited the principle (widely dispersed) sites using a car + driver! Not our usual style but it was practical and affordable. Impossible in a day otherwise. Enjoyable day ... and it gave us a chance to get leisurely immersed into the mass of humanity, noise, traffic, ...

Day 3: Old Delhi! Took Metro to Chandni Chowk (Old Delhi Centre) and walked round the crowded alleys, basars, main street, spice market, ... for hours. Chaos, beauty, squalor, ... an assault on the senses. Incredible, indescribable - at least not by me. For most of the time did not see another tourist. We had not really ventured into central Old Delhi on two previous visits to Delhi so were quite prowg of the achievement! Not for the faint hearted!

Day 4: At leisure! Pottered round Connaught square area in central New Delhi. Quite civilised but lots of hassle from touts and shopkeepers. Enjoyed superb thali and massala dosa at Saravana Bhavan Restaurant and beer at the United Cofee House before heading off to Old Delhi Station for the overnoght train to Jaisalmer.

Incidentally ... apart from boring breakfasts, the food (snacks and meals) has been a delight since arrival ... if you like it spicey! So different and great variety. All vegetarian for us so far! Will try and get some pictures for a later entry ...

Sights - Red Fort 1

Sights - Red Fort 1


Sights - Red Fort Visitors

Sights - Red Fort Visitors


Sights - Red Fort 2

Sights - Red Fort 2


Sights - Red Fort 3

Sights - Red Fort 3


Sights - Red Fort 4

Sights - Red Fort 4


Sights - Red Fort 5

Sights - Red Fort 5


Sights - Old Delhi Jain Temples nr Red Fort

Sights - Old Delhi Jain Temples nr Red Fort


Sights - Lotus Temple

Sights - Lotus Temple


Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 1

Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 1


Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 2

Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 2


Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 3

Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 3


Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 4

Sights - Humayun Tombs Area 4


Sights - Qutb Minar

Sights - Qutb Minar


Sights - Qutb Minar plus Parakeets

Sights - Qutb Minar plus Parakeets


Sights - India Gate

Sights - India Gate


Old Delhi - Jama Masjid Mosque

Old Delhi - Jama Masjid Mosque


Old Delhi - Electrics!!

Old Delhi - Electrics!!


Old Delhi - Basar 1

Old Delhi - Basar 1


Old Delhi - Basar 2

Old Delhi - Basar 2


5

5


Old Delhi - Basar 3

Old Delhi - Basar 3


Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 1

Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 1


Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 2

Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 2


Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk - Monkey business!

Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk - Monkey business!


Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 4

Old Delhi - Chandni Chowk 4


Old Delhi - Spice Market

Old Delhi - Spice Market


Old Delhi - Somewhere1

Old Delhi - Somewhere1


Old Delhi - Somewhere 2

Old Delhi - Somewhere 2


Old Delhi - Somewhere 3

Old Delhi - Somewhere 3


New Delhi - Janpath - Market Area

New Delhi - Janpath - Market Area


New Delhi - Connaught Place

New Delhi - Connaught Place


Old Delhi Railway Station entrance   Lindsey

Old Delhi Railway Station entrance + Lindsey

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)