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A 6-week waking dream in North and South India.

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A 6-week waking dream in North and South India.

Old Jul 6th, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #181  
rje
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dragon88,

Thanks so much!

The reason why I didn't post photos of the inside of the Ravla Khempur Hotel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) is because I didn't bother to take any!

There were a few places I didn't take any photos of, either because we didn't have a lot of time, or energy, or because the rooms just didn't seem noteworthy. In the case of Ravla Khempur it was all of these reasons. Also, I didn't take pictures to show the negatives that I wrote about because they weren't things I was trying to document.
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Old Jul 6th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for your reply, RJE.......Yes, I get the feeling you were trying to emphasize the positive and not the negatives of India (which is a good thing!). It is so easy to be negative, but you do a great job keeping your readers focused on your journey and your experiences (good and not so good). I was more curious if the Marigold hotel was in reality what was shown in the movie.........but "curiosity kills the cat".......so I won't go there (ha ha).


Looking forward to more of your experiences............
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 11:36 AM
  #183  
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dragon88,
I'm honestly not trying to write about only the positive aspects of the trip. There just weren't a lot of bad experiences to report. I don't know how much of that is because knowing India I planned the hell out of this trip and how much was good luck. But things went so smoothly. Not that there weren't some bad experiences (and since this TR is chronological, I'll be posting those soon!).
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 12:02 PM
  #184  
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Bhainsrorgarh Fort

Photos are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/129067...57669572266240
They show more if you make them large!



When we told Ajay we were heading to Bhainsrorgarh Fort he asked me to send his regards to the family there, as they were his relatives. This happened a number of times on the trip, as this is one very big family!

As we left we had some trepidation about what lay ahead, because Ajay had shaken his head and warned that the road to Bhainsrorgarh was really terrible. One of the staff overheard this and started laughing ruefully, agreeing about the abysmal state of that road. Now, we'd already been on some really dreadful roads in Rajasthan, so if they considered our next road worse than those, we were in for a tough time. Mainly for C, as bumpy roads are painful for her. Since Bikaner, I'd been asking Raj to take the smoothest route possible, even if it would take longer. But this time we had no practical options. And for a couple of hours the road was indeed so rough one might reasonably surmise that Raj had lost his mind and left the road to drive us across some rocky lunar landscape. It was merely uncomfortable for me, but I felt so bad for C who was in pain. We drove through more fertile countryside than we'd seen thus far in Rajasthan, with fields where large white poppies were being grown, and passed through numerous tiny villages which helped distract us with the many interesting sights, stopping a few times to photograph.

Mercifully, the road finally smoothed out (for India!) and we began a long winding climb up a series of hills and through a forest populated by numerous troops of rhesus macaque monkeys who stared at us as we passed.

We turned onto a divided highway, and after a while watched with shock as a truck barreled straight toward us, driving on the wrong side! As Raj veered to avoid him, he snorted "India", so it appears he held the driving style of some of his fellow countrymen in less than high regard!

And then we spotted the Chambal River, and soon after began following a narrow street through town. It was so narrow we weren't sure if Raj would be able to navigate it in the big Innova, but soon we were at the tall stone gates of Bhainsrorgarh Fort.

The Fort/hotel sits at the edge of a slate escarpment 200 feet above the Chambal River. It has been owned by the same family since 1741 and has been inhabited since the 2nd century BC. It has been described as "gently crumbling", which we found to be a good thing. The grounds have gardens colored with the orange-reds and pinks of bougainvillea and the small number of rooms keeps it intimate. Some rooms offer fantastic views from balconies hanging over the river and the landscape beyond.

I had corresponded about which room would have good view but not too many stairs, and had settled on a corner room up one flight. But we discovered we preferred the room next door, and as this was vacant, we quickly switched. The room had a huge breezy balcony with spectacular views. It also had a table on that balcony where we would have our breakfasts and dinners by candlelight. As at Fort Begu, the food was truly excellent and varied.

We woke up very early the next morning, as we had during much of the trip. The sunrise over the river through pearlescent fog was gorgeous, and a very good breakfast on our terrace followed.

At this point in the trip we'd been traveling for a while and were feeling a little peaked, so we spent a lot of time relaxing in the gardens and balcony. We were offered a ride on a boat on the river, which we considered, but even that didn't end up luring us away from the charms and beauty of the fort. I did take several long walks exploring the winding narrow lanes of the town which lay outside the gates, and I liked it very much. The people were among the friendliest I'd encountered in India, which may be partially explained by how few tourists they'd had to endure!

I'm afraid all this quiet enjoyment isn't gong to make for the most scintillating trip report segment for you, but for us it was a wonderful stay. On our second day after having left Fort Begu, Robert and Peter showed up and it turned out they'd be staying here, too. They were the only other guests we saw there, just as at Fort Begu. Our style of travel is similar, so I guess it wasn't surprising that we'd end up in a couple of the same places.

One noteworthy occurrence started when I heard distant singing and chanting which kept getting louder, as if it was getting closer. Going to investigate, I found that a large group of women were entering the fort for part of a multi-day wedding celebration. Wearing saris of every hue, they made quite the colorful sight. I watched as they walked into a room where they sat on the floor, and was invited to photograph them there, which of course I did! As the wedding procession left the fort, I climbed on an embarkment and photographed them from above. Then I decided to take another walk in the village, and hearing sounds which wouldn't be out of character in a Hong Kong martial arts movie, I turned toward them to find a large group of teenage girls practicing just that outside a local school. Here again I was invited in to watch and take photos, but the strong sunlight wasn't conducive to good shots, so I probably won't post any of those. That sight, which I'd seen repeated several times during our trip made me think that perhaps some young women are finally beginning to be taught to be strong and proud in modern India, even in such small rural villages as this.

(coming up next, Bundi and its extraordinary treasure of old wall paintings )
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 01:39 PM
  #185  
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BTW, when I used the phrase "knowing India" a couple of posts back, I realized it might sound like I was claiming to possess some great knowledge of India. But I was really just trying to say that I know how quickly things can go bad during a trip to India, so I "planned the hell out of this trip" to try and avoid as many disasters as was humanly possible!
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 04:22 PM
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rje....Also, because "C's" first time to India and her mobility issue, I am sure drove you to do detailed planning as well. You are able to make lemonade out of what may have been lemons......You have a good outlook and that helps. Your sensitivity to nature and others come through in your photos and words....... no need to explain further............
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Old Jul 9th, 2016, 04:30 AM
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The fort looks beautiful. I'm surprised it took so long for your pace to slow but glad you worked in some relaxation time.
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Old Jul 11th, 2016, 08:24 AM
  #188  
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Bundi and its treasure trove of gorgeous old wall paintings

Photos are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/129067...57670700053575
They show more if you make them large!


Exquisite. Astonishing. Superb. You could wear out your thesaurus trying to describe them. The paintings in the Chitrashala in Bundi are to my eye one of the most incredible collections in India. They brought me such joy but also resulted in frustration and even anger. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We had left Bhainsrorgarh for Bundi after breakfast, happily knowing that the roads would now be smoother. After crossing the bridge over the crocodile-inhabited Chambal River, we soon passed through a small town where I saw a man, woman, and child in bright clothing sitting in front of a yellow wall, and asking Raj to stop, I burst out of the car and walked quickly down the road to photograph the scene. As soon as I finished, a man on a brightly decorated horse came galloping by, followed by a child on a similarly decorated horse. As I watched, an enormous cloud of flying gnats descended upon me from above. Immediately I began waving my arms about to get them off my face, making some men sitting on a wall watching burst into laughter at the plight of the silly tourist. But seconds later, they too were engulfed in the gnat swarm, and that certainly made their laughter stop! Ah, karma! I hightailed it it back to the car, emerging from the gnat-cloud mere feet away, where Raj and C stared at me curiously from inside the car while I did a little dance as I brushed myself and shook, trying to dislodge the many gnats crawling on me. It seemed to do the trick, as after an inspection by C I was determined to be in a state of gnat-lessness.

A short time later, at Raj's suggestion, we stopped at a small lovely complex of 5 temples, which some nameless Indian bureaucrat has given the unimaginative name "5 Temples". They are not important with a capital "I", but make for a pleasant stop. You reach them after strolling a path through some thick trees where Langur monkeys watch you skeptically from above. You clearly have no food, so what good are you, anyway? Stupid human.

We were the only non-simians there, and while admiring some carvings I noticed with amusement that a monkey was sitting with a bright red flag in such a way as to look as if he were holding it! The red flag held heroically on top of a small stone structure made it look like the monkeys had just been victorious taking a bastion, and were now lifting their flag high in celebration. ¡Viva la Revolución! I think that monkey must have been a guerrilla. I did manage to get a photo of that moment if you want to see it…

I was looking forward to getting to Bundi, and we had a guide waiting for us. For some time I've wanted to see the famous old wall paintings of Bundi, located in a section of the Bundi palace called the Chitrashala. The palace and the fort are built into a steep hill right above Bundi, and the way up to the entrance is a very steep stone ramp with switchbacks. I really wanted to visit with C, but knew she would be unable to handle that steep climb, so I looked for ways to get her up there. I had written numerous emails, but everyone I contacted told me that cars, tuk tuk, carts, or palanquins are not allowed up the ramp. Not even wheelchairs are allowed, they said! I persevered and found a guide who had connections with the royal family, who still own the property, and he said he'd see what he could do. A couple of months went by, and then he wrote that he'd had success, and that the family would allow us to rent a jeep for the short drive, since a normal car wouldn't be able to make the steep bumpy climb safely. The secretary to the royal family would personally oversee this. He also apologized that when we arrived he'd be in Agra, attending to a sick relative, but that a very good guide would be his replacement if we were agreeable. He also told us that there would be a big multi-day Indian wedding during our stay and that we should make sure our rooms were secure, as the town would be filling up with wedding guests!

When we arrived at our hotel, the replacement guide was waiting for us, and he told us he had some bad news. Due to the huge wedding, the royal families' secretary was far too busy to care about his promise of the jeep. I was very upset, as this was the only way C would be able to go. I immediately called the original guide, who was very surprised by this news, and told me he would try and take care of it from Agra, and that the jeep was already rented and waiting for us. But time went by, and the hotel owners warned us the secretary was unlikely to become involved this day. And our original guide was having no success dealing with a situation from far away. Meanwhile, precious time was ticking away. I talked to C, who said I should go without her. I didn't want to do that, but was comforted by her telling me that this meant more to me than to her, and I promised to take many photos to show her, which I did. I wouldn't have gone if I hadn't believed her, but to this day I still wish she could have come with me.

We left right away, the guide leading the way and since our hotel was at the base of the hill right under the fort), it was only a few minutes before we were at start of the steep ramp. Have you noticed how many times I've used the word 'steep'? It was steep! I purchased some water before commencing the walk/climb, for which I'd be soon be very glad! The sprightly guide was in his 70s, but he zoomed right up the ramp, and not wanting to look the wimp, this 60ish tourist sped up to keep pace. After all, I'd been bike riding a lot before the trip for fitness training! But soon I realized I had to stop, and pretended to take a photo as I tried to hide my huffing and puffing! Then I realized I was being foolish, and just stopped whenever I needed to. And then we made a turn and the Hathi Pol (Elephant Gate) into the palace loomed above me!

The inside of the palace is not to me as amazing as the exterior. It has some great elements, but overall the interior architecture is not the star attraction - the paintings are. But I still enjoyed seeing it. After entering the gates, we crossed a courtyard, followed by stairs to the Ratan Daulat (Hall of Public Audience), with a view down over the courtyard and a carved white marble throne. There were many carved elephants at the top of pillars as we went up more stairs. It is at this point that your tired and disoriented narrator lost track of how many stairs and passages we went through. Especially after we began to take short-cuts through meandering dark tunnels!

On a higher floor we came to a garden which was surprisingly green and well-maintained for such a run-down palace, and which provided some beautiful views over the town of Bundi, with its many blue houses a-la-Jodhpur. The first couple of floors of wall paintings were in rooms that shockingly had been left open to the elements, and the result was exactly what you'd expect. What a crime to let such fine works of art fade and even disintegrate. Many had even been stolen off the walls, leaving obvious empty painted frames. But the beauty of the remaining paintings was still evident, and if only these had been seen, it would still have been impressive. But the best was yet to come.

Climbing gingerly up a "secret" staircase in pitch darkness, the guide thumped loudly on a locked wooden trap door above him at the top of the stairs, and yelled something in Hindi. A muffled voice from above replied, and after what seemed like a long time (but I'm sure was really less than a minute) the door was unlocked by unseen hands and swung up on its hinges. We climbed out blinking into the Chitrashala - the main reason I had come to Bundi.

It was overwhelming and intoxicating. So many fantastic paintings, dating back to the 1700s, the rooms being built starting in 1607. So complex and fascinating.There are scenes of Krishna, and Shiva, and Ganesh. Scenes of fantasy, scenes of history and scenes of everyday life. Krishna stealing the clothes of the Gopi girls as they swam nude in the river. (As an aside, writing this made me remember that the river the girls were swimming in is called Yamuna. And I had to smile, as we'd stayed in a villa in Bali where we had our own private pool, and the villa was named Yamuna. The Balinese owner must have a sense of humor!

Other paintings showed a scene of Krishna lifting a huge wooded hill with one finger as a shield to protect villagers from an angry king. And a woman warning a carrier pigeon that the message it would be carrying is very important, so don't get eaten by a hawk! And a man riding a swimming horse across a lake to visit his love who is gazing down at his approach from a high tower, a-la-Rapunzel.

Blues and greens and turquoise were the main colors used, with some gold accents added. The sublime delicacy of the brushwork is evident in the close-up photographs I took. There are many charming little details in the backgrounds, too, so each painting deserves a careful look. I posted a lot of photographs of the paintings in the Bundi album (link provided at the start of this section).

Another stunningly beautiful room of art in Bundi Palace is the Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). I read a wonderful description by a contemporary painter about her reaction to seeing the painted ceiling. She thought: this is Rajasthan’s Sistine Chapel! It is also described by others as having Chinese style elements. But somehow it makes me think of Marc Chagal!

Finally I tore myself away reluctantly and said we should return to the hotel, as C was waiting in our room there. The guide was relieved to hear those words, as I discovered he needed to go change clothes so as to attend the wedding! So we bounded down the ramp, and at one point I almost bounded into the sky and down onto the ground, discovering that the worn old stones could be rather slippery!

We had already checked in at our hotel earlier. The Haveli Braj Bhushanjee is one of the oldest (some say the oldest) hotels in Bundi. Run by brothers, it is perfectly located in the oldest section, directly beneath the fort/palace, and has excellent views of the lit fort at night. While waiting to see if we'd be able to use the jeep after all, we had talked to one of the brothers about all the intrigue and fighting over the palace, and how it was resulting in neglect, causing it to fall into terrible disrepair. With such treasures, I hope some happy conclusion can come to this situation soon.

Our room was comfortable and clean and everything worked well. Not a destination hotel, but perfectly fine, and the owners and staff are all very friendly and knowledgable about Bundi. I couldn't rest long, though, as I'd asked Raj to pick us up. So off we went, to step wells, Rudyard Kipling's summer residence, and Nawal Sagar (the lake). And everywhere we went, we kept running into elements of that wedding! Elephants decked out in Rajasthani finery. A line of dancing girls in costumes hurrying down a street to a performance. Musicians carrying instruments.

It was getting dark and we were getting hungry. We decided to break a long streak of Indian food with an Italian dinner from a well-regarded place called Morgan's. It is on the 4th floor, up many very steep and high stairs, so I ordered take-out and brought it back to C in the hotel. When in Bundi, be sure to sample the authentic local Indian dishes. We enjoyed exotic delicacies called pizza and Parmigiana di Melanzane! For desert we had a silly concoction called "Hello To The Queen", which turned out to be vanilla ice cream, fried bananas with crumble, fresh sliced sugared strawberries, and chocolate sauce. Absurd, but a nice change from the same 3 Indian desserts that most places serve.

While I was ordering, the nice waiter asked me if I wanted him to put Bosco on the food. I thought it was for the desert, and although not usually a fan of the stuff, I almost said "OK, put some on the ice cream". That would have been a mistake. For instead of "Bosco", he was actually saying "Tabasco"! I'm imagining the look on C's face during her first bite of that dessert if I'd said 'yes'.

After dinner we gazed up at the palace, glowing red in the lights at night. Earlier, in the section of this trip report about Jodhpur, I'd written about what Rudyard Kipling had said about the palace there.
Well his quote about the palace in Bundi is even more startling:

'the Palace of Bundi, even in broad daylight, is such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams - the work of goblins rather than of men.'

It does have a slightly spooky beauty, clinging precariously on a cliff right over our hotel. Appropriately enough, at sunset bats fly out of the open windows in summer!

After thinking about Bundi, and the paintings of the Chitrashala in particular, I've been comparing the situation there to that of Oplontis in Southern Italy. Both are under-visited. Many people don't even know about either one, so they go to other more publicized sites. In Italy, all the tourists go to Pompeii, even though most of the art there was moved to Naples long ago. Less people go to Herculaneum, even though it is better preserved and arguably a better experience than Pompeii. And almost no one goes to the incredible ancient villa of Oplontis, even though it is so close to the other two sites. The Bundi palace is also seldom visited, compared to other sites in India, even though it is one of the best for art lovers. As a result, at both Oplontis and the Bundi palace you can have it all to yourself much of the time (However, Oplontis is not neglected, receiving tender loving care from the Italian government).

I had originally planned on 2 nights in Bundi. And that would have been nice, as the town has many wonderful quiet streets, and I'd have enjoyed walking them. In fact, there is an excellent chance that we'll return to Bundi. But as I finished planning the trip I thought C would want a bit of luxury at this point. So I'd cancelled the 2nd night in Bundi and splurged for a night at Devigarh, which would put us close to our next destination after that, Udaipur. So in the morning Raj picked us up, and off we went.

(coming up next, Devigarh)
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Old Jul 12th, 2016, 02:37 AM
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Wow! The palace in Bundi looks and sounds like it is worth the trip to India alone.
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 07:04 AM
  #190  
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tripplanner001,
Bundi is wonderful for any art lover. I wrote such a loooong post about it in case it might be helpful, as there isn't a widespread awareness about it.
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 07:05 AM
  #191  
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Devigarh

Photos are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/129067...57670765386856
They show more if you make them large!


In the morning, after our breakfast, 2 cows came to our hotel, looking for theirs. They did this every morning. One of the hotel owners gave some chapati to C so she could feed them. Both cows stuck their heads through the front door and C enjoyed hand-feeding them. Very sweet cows!

Then we hopped in our car to leave town, but a few blocks later we were stopped by much insistent waving of arms. At that moment the road had just been closed, as more elephants were coming through. Another celebration for that wedding! So we had to back up and drive through town to find another exit route. I could tell Raj was irked at having to maneuver the big Innova through the narrow labyrinth streets of Bundi, but we were actually enjoying one more chance to see the old town.

I needed to go to an ATM, and as was frequently the case in India, it took more than one stop to find one that actually worked. But it is not just me:
A third of India's ATMs are broken - CNN report
http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/25/news...nk-atm-broken/

We pondered stopping at Chittorgarh, but it was just one thing too many for us, so for this trip we settled for looking up at it from the road as we drove by. We did stop for lunch at a place that won the award for Worst food of our trip. Was it satirical intent that made the owners call it "Pratap Palace"? Picture the worst quality buffet you've ever seen and then reduce that quality by half. They even had Chow Mein! When we returned to the car, I said to Raj "That was… something". He replied "It is no palace!". No ill effects, though. Score another great victory for Rifaximin.
Some of the recent Tripadvisor reviews are amusing:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...Rajasthan.html

One more place to avoid might be the Exotica Marriage Garden. I snapped a photo of the sign as we drove by, because the name made us giggle, and just now Googled it out of curiosity. The actual Marriage Garden is just a sad patch of bare grass. Marriages make many people tear up with happiness, but this place might make them cry for other reasons. They do seem very proud of their parking lot, of which they provide a photo on their website.
http://resortexotika.in/marriage_garden.php

The road we were on to Devigarh was also the road to Udaipur. And as we got close to the turn for Udaipur, the traffic slowed to a crawl and then stopped completely. It was like Los Angeles at rush hour. Finally we reached our turnoff and the small wooded road we took was a pleasant change. Then a guardhouse appeared, and then through the gates to Devigarh.

Shortly after I'd booked it, I noticed that it had just been sold to the company who owned RAAS in Jodhpur, so I asked in Jodphur if they could help us get "a nice room" and they not only did, but had us already checked in when we arrived, so that we didn't even have to produce our passports.

Devigarh is well known, so I'll just say that it is very comfortable, very clean, and very pretty. Not the place to really get to know India, but a nice place to relax and recharge.

Cyrilla had coined a word earlier in our trip to describe women of a certain style who we'd seen all over India - Lululemon-ites.
I ran into one here, in a lovely quiet garden, shattering the peace as she complained loudly into her phone (set to speaker) about her yoga instructor.

It took 2 separate elevators to get up to our modern room, which had lovely views of the Aravalli Hills and the greener landscape we'd entered as we drove south. Since this was just a rest stop for us, we did just that, exploring the hotel and then enjoying poolside lunch, a shower with great water pressure, and a pretty dinner setting, later followed by good sleep on an excellent mattress! No peas under this one! The food was OK, but nothing memorable, except for an entire entrée of very mushy-textured shrimp, which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Thanks again, Rifaximin!

At dawn I went out on a terrace to watch the sunrise beautifully rim-light the Aravalli Hills and looked up to see a flock of huge pterodactyls fly right over me. OK, not really, but if you look at my photo, you'll know what I mean!

While booking I'd noticed that the next few days after our stay showed zero availability. Every room in the hotel was taken. The only reason I could think of was because of Valentine's Day being in a couple of days, as some countries do pick up holidays and traditions from others. But no, turns out it was another wedding! The family had booked the entire hotel for the wedding. I can only guess how expensive that must have been.

After breakfast we saw a great deal of activity preparing for that wedding. Apparently, all the greenhouses in India had been emptied of flowers to decorate the events here. The seas were now devoid of caviar. The Mylar market had been cornered for the event. Wedding planners marched hither and yon, barking orders into cell phones. And a small army of workers were putting up a wall of huge speakers, and a DJ station was being assembled near the pool, which made me so happy we wouldn't be staying for this Hootenanny. We'd come here for a spot of peace and quiet, and having got it, made it out just in time.

But before we left we wanted to enjoy lunch by the pool in peace. So I asked one of the wedding planners if she could possibly have her workers who were noisily hammering a stage next to where we were eating to wait just a half hour, so we could finish. She graciously agreed and had them work elsewhere until we finished eating. And then we skedaddled!

When we checked out, I told them to have someone check how they were defrosting the shrimp, and they reasonably removed that charge for the bad entrée from our bill.

While planning the trip I'd thought we'd release Raj when we arrived at Devigarh, and then take a taxi from Devigarh to Udaipur. But Nikhil from TGS suggested that we find out the taxi cost and let him know, as he would have Raj drive us for less. I did, and then Nikhil offered to provide the transfer at no charge, which was very nice of him and much appreciated. I hope Raj didn't mind sleeping one more night away from home, though! So after lunch, he picked us up, and we made it out the gate just in time to avoid an armada of trucks arriving with more wedding supplies.


(coming up next, Udaipur)
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 12:27 PM
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Rick - I did as suggested and looked at the reviews of the Pratap Hotel - you certainly can't suggest that TA is fixing the reviews for that place, can you? Well worth avoiding by the looks of it.

What was it with you and weddings? perhaps there is a special season for them and you were there at the wrong time. Still you got some great pics one way or another.
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 02:28 PM
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Hi rje, We used Devigarh as our chill out stop when we first arrived to get over the long trip from the west coast (click on my name to check out my trip report, including my epic plug for Rifaxamin before they lowered the price).

Loved Devigarh, partly because we were upgraded to an insane 7-room suite and partly because got to know the people in Delwara, the adjoining town (ended up donating a new floor to the school...for $200). We were lucky that the lululemonites were absent, probably because we were traveling during the monsoon shoulder season - our fellow guests were Indians or fascinating European/Asian expats.

The whole place for a wedding takes over the top to a new level. Was it a celeb? Do you have photos of the prep?

annhig,
Nice to see you here. Cuba prep proceeding nicely.
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 04:21 PM
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Rje - just back to reading along after a few days absence. Even with your down time, which was surely needed after so much traveling, your report in no way disappoints us and your breathtaking pictures of the Bhainsrorgarh fort and its surroundings makes me regret not having gotten there. Such a shame that your wife could not see the spectacular artwork in Bundi, especially since you had gone to such efforts to arrange things ahead of time. Each time I look at your pictures and read your report, I tell my husband that we will have to return to India one day. I wished that we had been in the Rajasthan area during wedding season and am enjoying seeing your pictures of the colorfully adorned elephants. I look forward to following along further on your journey. Such a delight!
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 05:57 PM
  #195  
rje
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annhig,
Guess I should have warned people not to read those Tripadvisor reports right before dinner!

There are seasons when weddings are more common, as well as days of the month when they are considered more auspicious. We actually do like being around Indian weddings at times, but sometimes they can just get in the way!

Here's something startling - gold traders actually make money from betting on price increases for gold in India during preparations for the wedding season!


crosscheck,
Just been reading the first part of your very entertaining trip report. I'll post on it when I've finished reading it. But I don't want to run through it quickly because I'm really enjoying your sense of humor.

Perhaps we both could get jobs as spokepeople for Rifaxamin. I usually try to avoid drugs and go natural, but it really worked perfectly for us. It is still very expensive here in NYC - $17.50 per pill! At that price it would have cost us $1800.00 for the trip, and our insurance wouldn't pay a penny! Instead, we bought enough pills for the entire trip for $18.00 in Kochi. That's 18 cents per pill! So I bought more at 19 cents a pill in Mumbai to save for our next Asian trip.

I think Devigarh would be perfect as the place to ease into India. Beautiful and relaxed. And if I thought our room was nice, I can only imagine what your room looked like! Sounds like the off-season made a lot of things nicer, including the price! And your fellow guests sound more interesting than ours! We could see a bit of Delwara from our room, and if we'd stayed longer I would have liked to explore it. I didn't ask whose wedding it was and didn't take photos. To be honest, by the morning, we were already thinking ahead to Udaipur.

dgunbug,
Welcome back! And thank you! I do worry that you might not find enough to keep you occupied at Bhainsrorgarh fort, for as beautiful as it was, there wasn't a whole lot to do nearby. It seems more like a chill-out place. There is the boat ride on the river with potential crocodile sightings, the very sweet and untouristed local village, and a couple of small temples. I suppose Chittorgarh fort would be doable as a day trip from there, too. We weren't looking to do a lot at this point, so it was perfect for us. But I know you like to see a lot of things at each location.

If we had a little more time and energy, we'd have attended one of the weddings. You'll think we're crazy, but we actually turned down an invitation to attend part of the big wedding in Bundi. Just a bit more than we could handle at that moment. But like you, India really got under our skin, and I already think of going back, so perhaps I can arrange for us to attend part of a wedding during our next trip!
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 06:03 PM
  #196  
 
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It's a magical journey with you rje.
Thank you for the ride. I must go back to India
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 06:12 PM
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Two more thoughts:

I just noticed that Devigarh is now the RAAS Devigarh - That is an awesome chain, but sounds like a different vibe than when we were there in 2012.

And, our original plan was to spend time in Bundi, but we had to cut it out before we added Varanasi and a road trip to Orchha. Now I feel as if I must go back.
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Old Jul 15th, 2016, 03:32 AM
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rje - I'm SO glad that you got to Bundi -- it is fabulous, isn't it? Your photos are bringing back such wonderful and vivid memories of our visit -- hard to believe it's been over 3 years. I'm sorry to hear that after all that effort, C was unable to go with you - no wonder you got so mad.

Bundi was such a standout - the colors of the paintings, the interior decorations - just amazing. And without crowds!! No tourist buses, no nothing!

I'm amazed by the number of wedding processions that you saw -- we saw a handful, but no where near as many, and no painted elephants! I think they knew you were coming and brought them out just for you!

This ride continues to be thrilling -- and I'm loving every word and photo of your report!
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Old Jul 15th, 2016, 04:25 AM
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Rje - you know me well...had to laugh at your comment about being worried I would not find enough to do. We don't care to chill out on vacation, but we do like to walk through lovely villages filled with colorful and welcoming people. Think on our own trip we just spent too many days in the mountain region of Kerala which required too much driving and a redundancy in scenery. That along with being sick and disappointed in the backwaters of Kerala put a bit of a damper on our time there...but Tamil Nadu and now your trip report makes me yearn to return to India.
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Old Jul 17th, 2016, 01:11 PM
  #200  
rje
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sartoric,
I have a feeling you will go back!

crosscheck,
RAAS is offering some discounts for guests who book at their properties in both Jodhpur and Delwara.

progol,
Yes, Bundi was indeed fabulous! All that you wrote about it in your trip report was true!

dgunbug,
Well I would characterize the village as lovely and filled with colorful and welcoming people.
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