Moron Pushkar

Date: 30th October – 4th November 2017

Location: Pushkar

Hotel: Paramount Palace

Picking up where I left off in the last post, I have to admit to feeling kind of cheap using a click-bait headline and then not even getting to the story – then again, that’s what happens in click-bait links.  But there was just too much happening too quickly to keep up to date.  So here is a bunch more on our adventures in Pushkar…you won’t believe what happened next.

The Mela Ground is the big arena where much of the entertainment happens.  This is where you see the games and concerts, it is a big sandy arena where many things are happening at once including camel rides, hot air balloon rides, magicians, contortionists, tightrope walkers vendors and all manner of other spectacles.  It is a constantly changing hot and dusty place where it is easy to spend a few hours.

We all showed up for the scheduled moustache competition, one of the highlights of the Pushkar Fair.   Of course it started an hour late, but This Is India. I am not sure who won, but there were some incredible contenders.

Here is someone else’s video of this year’s competition, it was as chaotic and as much fun as it looks

Just about every western tourist in Pushkar seemed to be there and the opportunity was taken to recruit people for the turban tying competition that was happening next.  It didn’t take much encouraging for us to enter…actually it didn’t take any, we actively tried to get into the competition…and succeeded.

I hadn’t mentioned that one of the most exciting parts of the trip and planned to happen in Pushkar was for my daughter Jasmine and her partner Cameron to meet us there.  In India for the wedding of a couple of fellow (Indian) doctors, this was the beginning of a month long trip that had only begun in Delhi the previous day.  I caught a jam-packed local bus to Ajmer (you seriously could not have squeezed another person on board!) and in a miracle of Indian logistics and gods aligning, met their train (which was on time) which they were actually on board and then I found them as they disembarked.  Having haggled a taxi fare the previous day I knew the price and was able to give them a soft landing into Pushkar.

Our Turban Tying mob now had 3 teams out of about 15, and we were ready to go.

The task is for the woman to tie the turban, and then from the tray place a tika (the red mark) on the man’s forehead, add some rice to it and tie the kalava (red thread) around his wrist.  Here is what it looks like thanks to a couple of guys who happily held my camera.

In case you can’t figure out the result, Dawne & Tiff came 2nd and Jane & I came 3rd but the video guys clearly thought they were the winners.  Hmmm…on reviewing the video, Jasmine and Cameron easily beat us, but never called out that they were finished, don’t tell them.  I was pretty excited that we had one something receiving my certificate and plaque looking like I had been shot in the forehead.

We each received a certificate and a plaque which was good because it cleared my conscience.

Earlier there had been a cricket match, India Vs Tourists.  Tiff had batted for a short while and after the match each player was awarded a certificate and a plaque.  I really wanted a plaque as a souvenir and when Darren from Australia wasn’t there to accept his, I jumped up and accepted it on his behalf.  Yes! I had a plaque!

After doing well in the turban tying, I now had two plaques so I gave one to Cameron who hadn’t won one and didn’t feel quite so grubby any more :o)

One of the great things to do anywhere in the world is crowd watching.  It is even better in India.  It is even better in Pushkar during the fair.  Let’s sit for a minute and watch the crowd go by.  And this is on a relatively quiet day.

Wedding season also started while we were in Pushkar

What a smooth segue into our next adventure.  The following night there was to be a bride and groom competition.  Jasmine and Cameron had been in a temple somewhere and had been asked if they would enter.

The competition is really between different beauty salons who dress western tourists as a bride and/or groom in an attempt to win a coveted prize and enhanced reputation.  It involves quite a bit of work for everyone.

The first part was 3 hours in the afternoon following the turban tying.  Both Jasmine and Cameron had liberal amounts of henna applied in intricate patterns.


A fair bit better than my hand from the train a few days earlier.

The day of the competition had them meet at 3PM to get ready for the 8:30PM presentation on the main stage at the Mela Ground.  I was determined to get some good photos of this and being in the crowd was never going to be enough.  So I hung out near the state entrance and when I saw a bride and groom going backstage, I tagged along.  Easy Peasy.

It was a hot, crowded couple of rooms full of nervous tourist brides and and tourist grooms who looked absolutely awesome.  The best way to get an idea is for me to quickly explain that the brides came out and paraded, then the grooms came out and paraded, then those who were couples showed off and some – including Jasmine and Cameron – were interviewed for fun, not as part of the competition, then they danced until it all became a bit awkward so everyone went home.

As for getting good photos, the woman organising the event was wonderful.  She also organised the turban tying and recognised me, and since I was father of one of the brides, she gave me the OK to be on stage and even encouraged me to go to the front to take photos.  It is worth adding that India is so chaotic that I probably would have managed this without her making it happen and no one would have noticed or cared except a couple of cops who just wouldn’t have cared.

Now check out the visuals and you will really get an idea of how it went.


They didn’t win, but who cares?  It was the experience of a lifetime, in India.

I am no video editor, let me prove it to you with some video of the night.

The good news is that Jasmine and Cameron won their own plaques.  I think the extra one ended up with the beautician who did all the work.  Better than with someone like me who didn’t really deserve it.

There is so much more I could write about Pushkar, but just between you and me, I am already home and trying to catch up.

Published in Pushkar…you won’t believe what happens next

Date: 30th October – 4th November 2017

Locatuon: Pushkar

Hotel: Paramount Palace

Lordy lordy, where do I start and end with Pushkar and the 2017 fair?

Getting there by train was part of the fun.  We shared seats with a Sikh family on their way to a wedding in Ajmer, the jump off point for Pushkar.  They have a hotel and shop and bloke didn’t mind flaunting their wealth with a Bvlgari watch that would drag you to the bottom of a stepwell.  Bloke was only 22 but looked mid 30s and spoke enough English that we learned a lot about Sikhs, weddings and other things.

A walk the length of the train was an adventure within an adventure.

Most people were friendly and likely wondering why western tourists would be walking up and down the train.

This woman seemed to be the class clown. She insisted on doing some henna on my hand and could hardly see, so the result was as you might expect.

She was hamming it up in photos, that’s her on the right, I think the other women were strangers.  Not sure about the placement of her right hand :o)

The arrival at Ajmer Junction was an insanely crush.  People coming down the overbridge stairs and people coming up the stairs.  It likely wouldn’t have been a problem but for the people sitting on the stairs.  We all became quite separated.  We all got off the train at the same time, yet somehow I was already at the top and could see Tiff and Dawne struggling to get started at the bottom.

Then there is a lineup of tuk tuk drivers waiting at the other end of the overbridge.  We were about to settle on a 500R tuk tuk for the trip to Pushkar when Tony stepped in with 400R in a taxi, sharing with another couple.  Of course this caused a bit of a Hindi shouting match, but we let the drivers all sort it out.

Ahhh…Pushkar Fair!  It is a mix of gaudy lights, deeply spiritual pilgrimage, rides with really loud music, loads of temples, crazy competitions, people bathing and doing Puja in the lake, religious music and chanting through the night, hawkers and beggars…and of course, camels.  Lots of camels.



There are two part to the Pushkar Fair.  The first half is the livestock trading where camels, horses and water buffalo change hands.  There seems to be much at stake with animals groomed and prettied up in an attempt to get a good price.

There is also a holy festival happening as part of the Hindu holy month of Kartik.  Thousands and thousands of people make a pilgrimage to bathe in the lake.  The crowds build then drop for a couple of days then build to a peak for the last couple of days.

While walking to the Mela field (the fair stadium) our way was blocked by a bit of a crush.  Rather than fight it we went into a hotel an up to the restaurant to watch.  There was already heavy traffic in both directions and a bunch of people were trying to get into a temple causing a blockage.  30 minutes of entertainment for watchers from rooftops and of discomfort for those caught in the crush.

Crowd watching is awesome.  If eating or drinking we would always park ourselves with a good street view to watch the seemingly endless crowd pass.  Immediately obvious to even a casual observer is the number of women in the streets, most often in groups ranging from 4 or 5 to 20+.  I never managed to work out where they were coming from or going to, but the stream goes on and on.

Many people seem to be from rural India and quite poor.  We westerners are a constant source of fascination for them.  The reactions include delight, curiosity, fear, uncertainty and more.  It is so easy to engage by smiling, waving and saying hello.  Inevitably they would smile back, want to be in a selfie, want to talk…or try to.

This is a very typical scene that happens over and over throughout the day.  It is so much fun.

These women came up to Jasmine and, while it is hard to know exactly what they were feeling, they seemed amazed by her.  They were touching her hair and fawning over her while saying Ram Ram Sa over and over.  In Rajasthan Ram Ram Sa is an alternative to Namaste to say to someone as a hello or goodbye.

A walk around the lake on the ghats is everything you come to India for.  I am running out of time, here are some shots that don’t even nearly tell the story.

Drying his dhoti


Sadhu smoking a chillum. There was a lot of that.


One of the naked Sadhus was interested in my magnetic glasses :o)


I think this is my favourite photo. So many stories in one image.

The girl on the left had the unusual green eyes.  Gorgeous.



The photo Jasmine took of Baba holding marigolds is great. May add that later when I get a copy.

I am running out of time…again…and to do the next part of Pushkar justice I need time.  But here is a teaser…

Hilarious turban tying competition, Jasmine and Cameron in a bride and groom competition.

Rejected in Jodhpur

Dates: 26 – 30 October 2017

Location: Jodhpur

Hotel: Discovery Guest House

If you have gotten used to and come to expect the content of a post to be in chronological order, you will be disappointed with this one.  4 days in one post in order of story telling and photo inserting ease.

Disappointment is actually a nice segue into the yarn about my Jodhpur movie career that never was.

Over a two of days we heard a couple of times about a movie being shot and that they were looking for western male actors.  The story even went that there was 1000 Rupees pay.  For sure it was another scam of some sort.

Mr fixer with his cast

Then over dinner, the owner of the restaurant confirmed it was true and we later met Michael who was pretty bloody excited because he had a speaking role in the film.  He showed us a photo of himself in a British soldier uniform and told us he had a speaking part.  It wasn’t much, only a couple of lines that he tried out on us, but it was a speaking part and he reminded us that it was his.

This now sounded like fun and the fixer told us meet at the restaurant at 0500hrs the next day.  We were there on time as was Michael, he mentioned his speaking part and that he was excited.  About 10 people gathered and eventually a car showed up to take us to the movie set.

Costume rack

It was being shot in the grounds of a huge luxurious hotel that someone mentioned was the most expensive in India.  I am pretty sure Michael didn’t tell us that, he was very busy rehearsing his speaking part.

Anyone who has been involved in movie making knows that the greatest skill you can have is to be able to hurry up and wait.  If you add this to being in India…well, you get the idea.

Here’s a surprise, the movie really exists!  Well, in production anyway.  Starring Rupert Everett who someone assured me was famous and I would recognise, it is called Swords and Sceptres and is listed in IMDb.  Doesn’t look like Michael is listed in the credits yet.

We were given breakfast and led around to the costume area.  A small group at a time we were assigned a role and a costume.  Michael wasn’t, he already had his role, in fact he told us he had been given another line.  Excitement.

Tiff looked pretty sharp as a private in the army.

Photographs weren’t allowed, but This Is India so photographs were taken.  Tiff fitted in well with the troops

See if you can spot Captain Michael.

No doubt you are keen to see me dressed up…

Shattered, along with some other short arses, we were told we weren’t needed.  When I asked the bloke to clarify if he meant just for this scene or at all he said (add strong Indian accent) “I think what I am saying is perfectly clear”.

After getting escorted a couple of times from the area where all the cast was waiting, I gave up and had fun catching a local bus back to the hotel area.  No choice, Mr Fixer was nowhere to be found.

The irony is that the scene involved all the soldiers in hospital lying on beds.  It wouldn’t have mattered if you were a dwarf or a giant.  Tiff had fun, earned 1000R ($10) and reckons he will be a featured dying soldier.  I was going to boycott the movie, but then I wouldn’t get to see Michael.

There is a crazy busy market around the clock tower.  Many of the stalls sell cheap utensils or bangles or textiles, but there are some gems to be found.  M.V. Spices is quite famous.  The business (like many) goes back generations and has good quality spices.  So great is their reputation that very nearby is M.G. spices, M.R. spices and others all trying to cash in on M.V.

The other thing about M.V. is that M. died a few years ago and had 7 daughters, no sons.  It is pretty unheard of for women to run a business, and already you know that another strong, independent, persistent woman story is coming.

Despite being shunned by other businesses and male relatives, these women are going from strength to strength.  They have 4 shops, a good listing in Lonely Planet and unlike M.R. and M.G. etc, M.V. don’t stand out the front hassling (bullying?) tourists to come into the shop.  They will even send product internationally and you pay later.  Unheard of! We sat for ages chatting and drinking chai and buying spices.

In the market, wandering a back lane I said hello to a merchant, he responded and it turned into a long chat about all sorts of things.  His son showed up and told me about his recent trip to Thailand where he did all the tourist stuff like tandem skydive diving and of course getting a tattoo.

Not just any tattoo, his mother had died a couple of years ago, so based on a photo on his phone, well, you can see the result plus his dad in real life.  Given how bad some similar tatts are that I have seen, this one was pretty good.

One of the cleanest best preserved and prettiest Stepwells is in Jodhpur.  It is also only a couple of minutes walk from Discovery Guest House. The area around it is becoming quite gentrified with really expensive hotels and designer shops.  On one hand this is a bit of a worry, as if it spreads, the character of the area is going to be destroyed.  On the other hand, anything that lifts the status of Stepwells is a good thing.

The stepwell cafe overlooks the stepwell but it is overpriced and you can’t even see in the well from the rooftop reclining area.  Forgive the stains on my shirt, I’d had a pretty good 50R head massage a little earlier and he dripped oil…

On my next wander through the market (it is close to the hotel so can be part of any walk) a guy offered to polish my sandals.  I laughed because as as I pointed out, sandals are mostly feet rather than sandal.

But like the 50R head massage and 50R shave, there are other 50R experiences to be had.  He did a really thorough job and now, compared to the sandals in the cafe photo, they now look pretty schmick.

Jodhpur is famous Mehrangah Fort.  A huge structure that sits above the city.  We went on a Sunday and while the fort is magnificent, it was way too crowded, so we didn’t last long.


Jodhpur is known as the blue city, it is mostly old Jodhpur below the fort.  The name is justified.

On a previous trip I passed an open field where there were textiles drying in the sun.  Back then I wasn’t smart enough or quick enough to tell the tuk tuk driver to stop.  This time, spotting the same field, I was.


Also very near Discovery Guest House is a small temple which I often stick my head in to see if something interesting is happenings.  This time I was rewarded with an invitation to a celebration that evening.

Lots of singing and rituals, it was quite fascinating.

I don’t do floor sitting very well and there seemed to be a no standing rule, even the restless kids were being sat down.  I eventually found a spot on some stairs that have the great view above.

One thing that constantly puzzles me is some tourists.  Here is this interesting looking event going on.  People are looking more joyous that serious.  Tourists attracted by the singing come up to the door and are invited in and all but one shied away.  What on earth are they doing in India if they refuse an invitation to a colourful, musical ceremony?

Especially when there is a table of food that looks like this!

I think I may have done Jodhpur now.  Unless someone wants to specifically come here on a future Kaka Tour I doubt I will be back, even if I get my own shop.


Next stop, Pushkar and the camel fair.  Plus an added bonus of Jasmine (my daughter) and Cam (her partner) arriving for a few days.

Untouring India Part 1

Date: 21 October 2017

Location: en route to Bundi

Hotel: Shivam

The idea of an organised tour gives me the willies.  I understand that it is exactly what some people want but being locked into strict schedules isn’t for me.  You are welcome to make me wrong and use the comments to go into bat for organised tours.

Having said that, and having done one during my last visit, we were off on a 3 day/2 night trip to Udaipur with Ajeet from Hathroi Palace Hotel.  Last time was awesome and I was fairly sure we wouldn’t be disappointed.

Before we headed out I managed to catch up with Anant and Swati who I met last year.  Swati is an artist and we went out for breakfast and then paid homage to her in front of her mural in the Chillout restaurant.

Our first stop was at a small factory (shop?) where they carve wooden blocks for textile printing.  The final result is quite intricate, but the process is actually fairly simple.  Take a block of wood and chip away all the “not design” to leave a raised pattern.

Finally out of Jaipur, India is getting more rural.  We are driving through small villages full of visual treats.

Much of India still doesn’t have running water.  There are well all over and seeing women (only) carrying water is quite common.

One of the great things about these tours with Ajeet is that everything is included.  We don’t have to put our hands in our pocket for anything except…well, that is for the next post.

We gave Ajeet some advice that it shouldn’t include beer.  Well, after this tour anyway ;o) Lucky for him we are light drinkers, but if he paid for it and people had a big session it would make a dent in his profit.  Having some older guests, especially a couple of accounting and management academics had us throwing ideas to help him improve his business.  He seemed keen to take much of it on board and it was lovely to be able to contribute to a young bloke in the early days of an exciting project.

“What is that crowd under the tree?” someone asked as we passed a big field where there was…you guessed it…quite a crowd under a tree.  Ajeet said ”Cricket.  You want to play?”.  But of course! We do a u-turn and drive across a big field covered in wheat stubble.  Much of the subtlety of this yarn will be lost on the UnAustralian readers.

Under the lone tree are about 20 young men standing in the shade.  The car stops, I jump out and scream AUSTRALIA!!!!  They look bewildered.

Before long we have challenged them to an India V Australia game (plus the UK represented by Jane) and it is match on.  We all stride out into the middle of the field where the stumps are set up.  There is lots of laughter and they are all taking photos and videos.

Dawne is first to bat.  The Indian bowler comes in and delivers what can best be described as a throw, it goes wide and a long way.  He is ribbed mercilessly by everyone and is immediately relieved as bowler.   The next ball sees Dawne connect, hit it over everyone’s head, and get a run.

Tiff is now batting and he belts the tennis ball a really long way causing some poor kid to be bullied into running after it.  We declared victory for the visitors and a tour photo was organised.  The whole thing was an absolute hoot and no doubt will be talked about for ages.

Back on the road and Ajeet points out some people digging a well.  It turns out they are actually deepening a well because the water table has dropped.  There were 4 or 5 men working at ground level.  About 20 metres down the well, standing in water, were 4 men loading rocks into the bucket of a crane.  This was connected to a standing engine blowing huge amounts of diesel fumes that hauled the bucket up where the arm was swung around and manually emptied.

At one point the cable came off the pulley

Watching all this hard work made us realise it had passed beer o’clock so we asked around and eventually found the beer walla down a back road.

I wanted to walk back while the group stocked up, there were some mud houses to photograph.  The rest of the group joined me and as usual it turned into a meet and greet with the locals.

Why on earth had we been drinking Kingfisher beer when Haywards 5000 was so much better… and stronger?

Onwards to the village of Toda Rai Singh, known for its stepwells.  While my tour group may be starting to appreciate them, I am not sure I have converted them into enthusiasts.  I think it will take repeated exposure.  There will be plenty :o)

In the back of another stepwell in the village (the 3rd we had looked at) was a bunch of houses and loads of photo opportunities, accompanied by a growing crowd of locals…as usual.

Not sure how the older bloke managed to photo bomb this one. The people were lovely and friendly and delighted to be in photos.

Sound like a full and action packed day?  It is not finished yet.

With all these stops, it was approaching sunset so rather than climb to a temple overlooking the lake, we headed to a different temple on the edge of the lake.

It was calm and peaceful as the sun sank slowly into the haze.

Not only does Ajeet know the best spots, he is also expert at finding the worst roads which are a special kind of fun at night.

We make it to Bundi fairly late and a black of planning plus some over confidence saw only 2 rooms available at Shivam.  Being tour leader I am also a special kind of special so I had a room and there was 3 in the other.  Ajeet sleeps on the roof.

I managed to get this post done because I got separated the others this afternoon in real time.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the tour. I am only 4 days behind now.

Aaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!! I accidentally switched on time and date stamp. I can edit it out…at home, but too hard on a phone.

Post Diwali Day

Date: 20 October 2017

Location: Jaipur

Hotel: Hathroi Palace

I need help desperately.  This post covers the 20th October and I am writing it on the 24th.  Doesn’t sound like a problem, but we cram so much into a day that we all agree it feels like we have been here a month.  I am already so far behind I feel like declaring blog bankruptcy and doing a post of only photos.  But I know how this would break the heart of both the readers.

Perhaps I can employ someone to write my posts for me.  It would be cheap enough in India.  Though the truth is that I think wifi will be more accessible from here on which will make life easier.

Please suspend belief and assume that this was written and posted on the day I am talking about.  Ooh, there’s a novel idea, how about the date at the top of the post.

Last night was Diwali.  It was incredible.  There is a joyous atmosphere that is filled with the smoke and sound of uncountable fireworks.  In my last post I didn’t have time to include one of the great moments, when Puja was conducted at Hathroi Palace Hotel.  You are going to have to refer back to Diwali in Udaipur last year for more details on what this is.

There was quite a crowd of hotel guests at the ceremony.   Afterwards Ajeet said it wasn’t done particularly well by the priest.  I think I can say that without fearing priest will read this.

Back to today.  We decided on a half day tour of Jaipur with Ajeet.  This is a warm up to a 2 day tour starting tomorrow.

First stop was sunrise at the old fort and a new, unusual and beautiful stepwell.  Haven’t seen one that looks terraced before.

I may or may not have mentioned that a sunrise/set is sort of delayed by 15 minutes or so because of the haze.  You will never see the sun cross the horizon in India.

Then chai and a breakfast of paratha at the base of Amber Fort, where the elephants gather for tourists who have no conscience to ride them.  Did I really say that?  But it is how I feel.

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  Although this photo is at a distance, it is only to fit them all in.  It was OK to be right there touching them and letting them smell my hand.  But there is no way I would ride one.

It is impossible for me to describe how awesome the experience was.  I keep wanting to add more here to try to share it, but I need to move on, I am on a deadline for dinner.

Chai and Parathas for breakfast is always a treat and still buzzing from the elephants we were in great spirits.

Next to another part of the fort where there were some very wild and very laid back monkeys.  The photo may make it look like they are tame, but they are quite nervous…unless you have food of course.

I am moving quickly here.  Knowing that Jane, Dawne and Tiff will read this I don’t mind saying that I don’t care if they don’t appreciate Stepwells as much as me.  They were about to visit another and you better get used to the idea that there are more coming…I have seen the future.

I am not 100% certain where we went next.  It is some sort of mausoleum and is beautiful for its symmetry.

There were so many ways…

…to photograph this place

Crap!  I just realised how much more happened that day and I am out of real world time.  Being the night after Diwali the streets were packed.  We walked and walked and had all sorts of encounters, including with the seller of fake moustaches.

And the sweets maker

Getting a tuk tuk back to the hotel was like new years eve, impossible, until we walked out of the party zone.  It was a remarkable night that I highly recommend to anyone.  Add your name in the comments to be considered for the 2018 Kaka Tour.

On and on I could go, but it is dinner time in the real world.

Full Power Diwali

Location: Jaipur

Hotel:. Hathroi Palace

When I first started planning this trip, being here for Diwali was the #1 priority.

I could place a link to my post from last year and let that cover an extraordinary day, but that would be lazy.

If Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, the day of Diwali would be the equivalent of Saturday morning before at the shopping centre.  It is crowded, people are hustling and bustling buying last minute supplies, there is a good Vibe as everyone wishes each other Happy Diwali.

Our tour group Dear Leader (me) declared a free morning and I went walking to the old city and the street market.  Banks and bigger shops were all closed, I still haven’t managed to get a SIM card.  I mainly need it to confirm hotels.

The busiest shops were the fireworks sellers.  The range was incredible and for some reason I didn’t take any photos of the funny attempts at appropriation of western culture but getting it wrong.  My favourite was the nazi bombs, seriously dangerous crackers, but the packaging, apart from the name, had no reference to nazis.  It doesn’t tell well, but it was quite bizarre.  Also other cultural icons like singers, wrestlers, Disney characters, movie characters, you name it, where they must just search for popular images, then slap them on the front of a fireworks box.  The stocking up would come later.

Your group members met for lunch and so show we hooked up with Wassim, the driver of a very pimped up tuk tuk.  He had fancy seats and sign writing and a sound system you use for a rock concert.  It was loud!

This was a shopping mission, not my usual idea of fun, but with our group I knew it would be.

Tiff is on the lookout for bits and pieces for their dress up box and a kurta was on the list.  I wouldn’t mind buying one, but the first place wants where it would happen.  They weren’t outrageously priced but I wanted to go to where your average Indian would shop, not a fancy emporium

Tiff and Dawne looked great and would have fit in perfectly on the streets, apart from the turban.  Unfortunately for Wassim, no sale meant no commission.

If I didn’t introduce you to Wassim you would miss much of the experience and fun of the afternoon.  He is in his late 20s, speaks excellent English and understands both obvious and subtle jokes.  It was non stop laughs as we covered everything from religion (he is Muslim) to family to gay marriage.  He doesn’t like the idea because eventually there will be noone having children – I am surprised the anti same sex marriage mob didn’t think of that line…or maybe they did.

Dawne and Jane had been to Jaipur before and were keen on going to the blue pottery store.

This was another “not the sort of place I would go” sort of place.  But how wrong can a tour leader be?  Much of the pottery they sell was beautiful and if it wasn’t day 3, I would have bought much more than I did.  If I was building again (no, never) or decorating, or had a shop selling this sort of stuff I would make a special trip.

I bought some lovely door knobs.  The story of my life; 25 years after building our house, about a month ago I finally put some knobs on a pair of doors.  I am about to replace them 😛

Imagine this on the wall of your bathroom

We spent about an hour wandering and the group members chose some nice pieces to carry for 3 weeks :o)  I helped haggle a price, we had expected that giving a high rating on Trip Advisor and Google Maps would get a corresponding low price on pottery.  Not so, but we were happy and so were they.

The Trip Advisor review photo that didn’t get the level of discount we thought it deserved :o)

We’ve all been into shops or restaurants where they have photos of famous customers.  India is no different, maybe a even more into it. A running joke started about how the actor Judy Dench seems to have visited every shop in Jaipur, no doubt with a little help from Photoshop.

Then to another kurta shop, this time a little down market, but still catering to tourists.  This isn’t where Indians buy their clothes.

Our final stop is the fireworks shop.  Rockets, bombs, strings of crackers, hard to light sparklers and assorted flame throwy items.  A bag full of lethal weapons for only 1250R.

The Hathroi family have expanded and taken over the roof top restaurants in a hotel next door.  Nice and high, we decided to eat and watch the night unfold (and set of our fireworks) from there.  We were about to settle down when I noticed a spiral staircase up to the upper roof, and remembering last year in Udaipur went and had a look.  Perfect!!!  We relocated to a space with tables and chairs and a great view over the city.

On the way short walk next door I let off the first bomb. Bloody hell!  The fuse was only about 2 seconds, barely enough time to light and run for my life.  Naive westerners, we were soon shown the trick of unravelling a centimetre of fuse to create a timer of 5 or more seconds.  I still cowered in fear, and we had 10 of these things.

The great success and surprise was the rockets…here goes…

I have run out of time before we leave for Udaipur.  I’ll try to pick this up later.


Out of India – fortunately not by train

Location: Indira Ghandi International Airport gate 17

You know that feeling when you aren’t feeling well and you are cranky and everything is annoying?  Now imagine that happening and you are in India where everything is over the top.  Now imagine you are in India but you are in New Delhi where it is even more over the top.

So I wasn’t in a good mood today.  I had many hours to kill so I thought a movie would be fun.  But getting there…normally the noise and traffic and smell of stale urine and everything else doesn’t bother me.  Today it was all super annoying and I couldn’t wait to get to the airport.

But I did go to a movie.  I thought I was seeing Tum Bin II, the fact that it averages 1.5/5 stars reviews added to the allure.  However all that was on was Force² an action movie dedicated to Indian spies languishing in foreign jails.

Despite it being 99℅ Hindi, even I could work out that the dedication was nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy.

But I did get to see a movie audience get excited every time the hero flexed his considerable muscles, but I was disappointed there was no singing and dancing.  I’ll make up for it with the really bad R40 DVD I bought in Pushkar.

It’s always comforting to have astute wait staff that anticipate your every need.  Despite not feeling well, last night I felt like something to eat but didn’t want to put much effort into it.  The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant so I went to one over the road. Just me.  Alone.  By myself.  Without anyone else.

I order a Paneer Butter Masala and 2 chapatti.  The waiter writes it down and stands there looking at me.  Eventually he says “just one?”. Reminder: I wasn’t feeling well.  I look around me, under the table and then say “yes,just me, one meal” and he looks disappointed before heading to the kitchen.

I had left my bag at the hotel for the day and while heading back to get it I had to cross the railway station over bridge.  I noticed a really crowded platform and quietly wished the train would arrive right then.

Bag retrieved I headed back and my wish had come true.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I never travel cattle class (general seating) on a train.

Note the fight toward the middle.  I have watched a couple of times and can’t pick why they all got stuck into one guy.

And in case the whole situation might have gotten out of hand, the police stepped in and in an even handed way restored order.  This is really worth watching a couple of times for him hitting people trying to get off and on, tossing luggage both on and off the train and why you should avoid a cop swinging a lathi.

There are no cops with lathis, just soldiers with submachine guns so I’m going to sit back, enjoy the ambiance of the airport before I arrive in KL at 0700 for a 16 hour layover before flying home.

I have pre-ordered pizza for Tuesday dinner

Diwali – festival of light and dressing up

Location: Right now, Jodhpur, but this post is about Udaipur

Hotel: Discovery Hotel

You need to understand that everything you are about to read is not only true, but happened in a single day on Diwali, Sunday October 30 2016.

My time in Udaipur had been fun – hmmm should I write this in the past tense or pretend and write in the present tense?

Speaking of which, the past, the present and the future walked into a bar.  Things got a little tense.

So…my time in Udaipur had been fun.  Five days in one place is a good amount of time to get to know it and some people a bit.

This is Kailash and his son outside their shop.


I can’t quite remember how we met – though I am sure it was something like ‘come into my shop, buy something for your wife’ – but we had become good ‘friends’ over a few days.  We would sit and talk and drink chai with no pressure to buy – am I repeating myself from the last post? No matter.  Keep that thought in mind, it leads to something awesome, but I will tell the day as it more or less happened.

Lots of places have Cooking Class signs and after trying to do one that didn’t happen, I found another.  I can’t speak for you, but when we cook Indian food, while it is good, the regular lament is why can’t we make it as good as (whatever) restaurant? This is something up with which I need no longer put.

Three hours, cooking 10 dishes, for R1,000 ($20) was a good deal from Vijay Singh.  The plan was to meet at his spice shop at 1000hrs on Sunday and he would take me to his home where his wife would whip me into culinary shape. Ominously, he urged me to come hungry.

That night Francois and 12 friends from the hostel where he was staying came to my hotel for dinner at the rooftop restaurant.  I told him about the class and he instantly said yes.  My kind of guy!

Three of us on a motor bike headed to Vijay’s house stopping along the way for extra supplies (Francois was a surprise addition) and a box of sweets as a gift for the family.


Chappati pan – I want one!

Tina was delightful.  She and Vijay have two daughters and along with brothers, parents etc there are 13 people living in the house. We get started and the door is closed ostensibly to keep the other kids out (hold this thought too), her kids are in the room with us kind of helping, in a kid way.


Tina spoke just enough English to know how to joke and take a joke that the 3 hours were so much fun and laughter they whipped by.  She told us the ‘secret’ of Indian cooking and I am going to share it with you.  It isn’t hard: 7 spices.

The seven essential spices - plus some

Note the spice tin with the 7 spices?  Every kitchen has this.  Starting from the middle, then clockwise from top left: cumin seeds, salt, garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder, anise seeds.  Then outside the spice tin: ginger paste, garlic paste, onion paste, dessicated coconut, kasturi methi, something else 🙁 , lemon salt and in the big container, chick pea flour.


Bindi masala

Basically almost all Indian food is a combination of the 7 essentials, easy huh?  The ’10 dishes’ was a bit of an oversell, one of them being chai, but since I am a convert I don’t really mind.  There was also veg pakora, bindi (okra) masala, palak paneer (spinach and cheese), khichdi (veg rice),  stuffed paratha, plain paratha, chappati, malai kofta and rice pudding.


Malai kofta with chapatis and plain paratha

Wasn’t it a good thing we came hungry?  Because by the end I could hardly move I was so full.  Lots of notes were taken and hopefully I can recreate this at home.

Remember that thought I told you to hold, no not the one about the shop, the one about Tina cooking and how playful she was?  Vijay came back to pick us up, the 3 hours had stretched to 3 1/2 or so.  As soon as he walked in the door Tina was a changed woman.  The spark had gone, she hardly said another word to us. Vijay took over and showed us rice pudding.

Francois and I both commented on it (to each other) and think the real reason the door was closed was so she could be herself without prying family eyes.  It was remarkable.


Francois getting even more full

It’s now about 2PM and the final stages of the India wide Diwali cleaning frenzy are in full swing.  We are both so stuffed we head back to our hotels to sleep it off.

Another Dream Heaven Hotel balcony sunset and I head out into the street for Diwali excitement and to be honest, it is a bit underwhelming.  There is only a few fireworks, not a lot of people around.  Kailash explains that people are at home doing puja and it will be big later.  I take his word for it.


I drop around to the hole in the wall that is the bhang shop and spend R50 on a ball the size of a macadamia nut.  It is mixed with lemon juice and flavouring and due to the peer pressure of others wanting the single cup, I throw it down.  Another thought for you to hold as you meet the bhang wallah with his product.


This is 100% legal in India

Remember the thought I first asked you to hold (all these thoughts could get confusing, no matter), I wander back to Kailash’s shop and he explains they are waiting for a holy man to do puja and invites me to join them if I would like.  Are you kidding?  This is a rare opportunity and a real honour (as far as I am concerned) and we convene at the back of his shop when holy man arrives.

Some mansplaining: like I said, I regarded this as a privilege and an honour to attend.  It is a rare treat for a tourist I am sure.  So when you read my humorous/cynical observations, please keep them in a context of respect for the ceremony. Please.

I was invited to sit on the floor with Kailash and his wife, but I don’t do floor sitting well and sitting on a bench was fine.  Unfortunately it meant I was a little out of the inner circle, but given my assumption that this wasn’t going to be very long, no big deal. Hah!  India!

I don’t speak Hindi and it seems a lot of negotiating between the holy man and the family was taking place.  I would have thought that the protocol was laid down and quite fixed given the ceremony is very old. But I just made all that up and will never know for sure.

Aside: on the bus to Jodhpur I met a young American bloke named Jack who has been here a couple of months and can speak conversational Hindi…I was most impressed.  He has given me the key to learning how to read Hindi.  Of course I won’t know what it means.

Back to Puja. Please join me for a few minutes of what took place and be thankful I thought to rotate my camera so quickly or your neck would be worse than mine.

Hindu gods must be particularly hard to please, as this ceremony went on for a bum numbing length of time, about an hour.  There were numerous rituals involving water, rice, statues, coconuts and other things.  A lot of time would be spent constructing a balanced pile of items, a bit of water would be dribbled over it and it would be deconstructed.  I do hope one of the millions of gods was pleased.

The bhang had snuck up on me so I was torn between how amazing the ceremony was and how long it kept going.  I was deeply aware of how spiritually deep and significantly important it all was.  It was good bhang.


And then Kailash’s mobile phone rang in his pocket.  Since he was sitting cross legged on the floor it wasn’t easy to get at and the fact that he, his wife and his son were all trying might have made it more difficult.  The holy man didn’t miss a beat.

Then a customer came into the shop that son had to deal with.  Other interactions kept happening,  photos were OK, distractions didn’t matter, people got up and sat down. I realised that while the ceremony was important for business, it wasn’t all that intense at all.  While not convinced that appealing to any god helps, I do hope it brings Kailash and his family good fortune in their business.  It was an amazing experience and an opportunity that only came out of my “meet the locals” mission during the trip.

By now the streets of Udaipur, in fact the whole of India, is going off in both the “having a good time” sense and the fireworks. In various dispatches I have mentioned the incredible crackers that are known, quite justifiably, as bombs.

Please allow me to introduce you to Rusty Bomb.  As you will see, they are a little cube of death, wound with string and glue.  They cost R5 each and millions (not kidding) are set off over a few days.

I am not exaggerating when I say that they would blow your hand off, I am not sure the video really conveys how powerful they are.  Maybe my reaction gives a hint.

Notice the guy trying to grab it from me? The young guys are really wound up, they are setting them off one after another and you truly need to have your wits about you walking around.  More than once I warned a passerby who wasn’t aware of how close they were to one about to explode.  Fortunately the bombs give off a bright flare for a few seconds before they go off, I like to imagine this is a warning, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that isn’t the intention at all.

It was some time around when the video was taken that I was truly scared for a moment.  It is not unusual for a guy to be lighting a bomb and someone will toss another right behind him – hilarious!  I was videoing one being lit and found myself standing with 2 or 3 going off around me – maybe I was the target of a joke – and I shat myself, really!, quickly withdrawing to safety from then on.

By now I was truly getting my R50 worth of altitude adjustment.  In retrospect the macadamia nut sized ball might have been substituted with a marble sized ball.


While I have focussed on the fireworks, there is a more gentle side to Diwali and there are undeclared bomb free zones. It is the Festival of Light, one of the biggest festivals and the closest equivalent would be Christmas.  In windows and on doorsteps all over are ghee candles twinkling in the night.  People are dressed up and parading, handing out sweets and wishing each other Happy Diwali.


Not withstanding the imagined safe zones, the streets were feeling a little dangerous and I was also aware I wasn’t seeing the full effect of the rockets so I retreated to the O’Zen restaurant tower for a meal and the view.  I might have been having trouble walking steadily too.

And what a view!  I was looking over Udaipur as a non stop volley of crackers and rockets erupted and seemingly kept going.  Another couple was on the tower with me and at one point the guy commanded MORE! to the world and the world responded.  Bigger rockets, more of them, everywhere.

Imagine every fireworks display you have ever seen, add them together, multiply it by 1,000 and you get the idea.  Remember that this isn’t Udaipur City Council (if there is such a thing) putting on a display.  We are talking about crowd sourced amazingness from people who have visited the fireworks market.  I tried to video the night and it was so pathetic I am not even going to show you.

Instead, because putting on your Diwali finest is part of the featival, here is a fashion sampler from Sunday night and Monday.

These guys told me they are with the chamber of commerce.

These guys told me they are with the chamber of commerce.







The cows are dressed up as well

The cows are dressed up as well

I hope you get a bit of an idea of Diwali.  I have now ticked off 2 of the 3 major Indian festivals (Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi), maybe next year Navratri. 😛


This was a single day in my travelling life.  No wonder as I pass the half way mark it feels like I have been here for months.

Enjoy a few more photos from Udaipur before we move on to Jodhpur. Today I am going back to the local baoli, 10 minutes walk from the hotel.









Not a great photos, but these girls playing a card game in the middle of the crazy market (above) was captivating.

Not a great photo, but these girls playing a card game in the middle of the crazy market (above) was captivating.


I needed a notebook for the cooking class, spoiled for choice in this shop

I needed a notebook for the cooking class, spoiled for choice in this shop




I did some things…

Location: Leaving Jaipur on an overnight trip to a village that apparently has 350 stepwells!

It is worth mentioning that the other day, when I realised the bus into Jaipur was only a couple of blocks from the hotel I was heading for – I track where we are on Google maps – I went to jump off as we stopped at some traffic lights.  The driver said “No get off in street”.  I wish I knew enough Hindi to respond with “Are you the same guy who drove on the wrong side of a divided highway, into oncoming traffic, to get to the restaurant for our 30 minute break?”.  But I don’t.

To continue the “sleeping anywhere” theme.



I don’t get how anyone could get any sleep on the seat of a cycle rickshaw, on a busy road, in the sun.  But I suppose if you work as hard as these guys do…

Started the day with a sweet lassi at a shop I remember from last time here.  I don’t know what they do differently to all the other lassi wallahs, but theirs are great.  I noted last time and it is worth repeating as it takes some getting used to, that with street vendors you eat or drink and when you are done, then you pay.

I like this because it means I hang around rather than eat or drink and walk.  And when you hang around, invariably someone will talk to you.  In this case it is the guy who owns the restaurant next door.  His English is pretty good and we banter for a while and mentions Australians are very tall, I explain that I am proof that isn’t true. Plenty of laughs.  I tell him I may come back for a meal…I never promise as I never know what will come up.

Crossing the road to walk in the shade the regular stream of auto drivers are hopeful of taking me somewhere, anywhere.  One young guy is quite friendly and wants to practice his English, Mohammed Sam from Afghanistan – sounds like the title of a kid’s book.  When he finds out I am from Australia, can you guess the first thing he says?  “Australians are very tall”.  It makes me wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy afoot.

We agree to meet in the evening for a beer and we end up at a rooftop hotel chatting and enjoying the view and fireworks going off all over.  And then his friend showed up…I think he was really drunk, maybe he was a bit crazy too.  But he was a pain and not entirely coherent.

You know that moment when you have started to trust someone and  enjoy them and suddenly a thought enters your mind “I wonder if these guys are setting me up?” and you can’t unthink that thought.  It was time to bail and Mohammed was actually apologetic for his friend. [Update a couple of days later] Stupid me, I gave him my whatsapp info…he is really keen to take me to a carpet factory…really keen.  I can always block him I suppose.

I have am idea for a dance beat and am collecting photos of the back of trucks for the video. We shall see if it !materialises at all.

I have an idea for a dance beat and am collecting photos of the back of trucks for the video. We shall see if it materialises at all.

I love wandering the streets of whatever city I am in, turning down random lanes and heading wherever looks or sounds interesting.  I was in the old part of Jaipur known as the pink city.  Down a few alleys heading more or less in the direction of a bazaar.

I glanced in a door and couldn’t believe my eyes.

Definitely not a Jewish god

Definitely not a Jewish god

These guys are 2m in length…yeah, yeah, head to toe.  Made of marble, and according to the guy who came out they make them right there, though the place didn’t look dusty enough…but who knows.  There was a couple of guys hand finishing some cast brass temple gods.  Another tortuous manual job, sitting on the floor, steadying the piece with their toes, filing and sanding by hand.  But it was the statues in the photo that pricked my attention.

Jumping all over the place chronologically, after the beer I wandered directly over the road to the restaurant I mentioned earlier.  I was indeed the honoured guest, actually I was the only guest in a 50 seat room.  This being my about my 60th day in India (in total) I have eaten a lot of Indian food.  But the vegetarian jalfrezi they served me was possibly the best Indian meal in my life.  I was glad I couldn’t eat it all so there was some for breakfast.


I’m going back there tonight and am faced with a quandary.  Do I have the same again, it was so good, or do  assume all their meals are this good and try something different…only to discover the jalfrezi is their specialty.  Life is so tough. (In the end I was too tired and ate in – still excellent)

This little girl was begging from cars stopped at traffic lights.  My instinct is to give something to kids who are doing something more than just asking for money.  They might be selling balloons or picking up plastic rubbish for recycling or anything, I will give them R10 and not take the balloon (or the plastic).


It’s easy to see why she was interesting.  I gave her R10 not planning to take a photo, then changed my mind.  When I asked her to come a little closer, out of the shade, what seemed like an automatic response was to put her hand out for money again 🙁   Then I showed her the photo and the look of surprise was great!  I don’t think she had any idea of the result of what was plastered on her face.

I am sure I have left out some stuff, this was 2 days ago now.  If you have read this far you get to hear the amazeballs story…of the trip most likely, and I have only been gone 1 week out of 5.

A month or 3 ago some how the Chand Baori came into my consciousness and despite baolis being so ‘last trip’ they are still fascinating.  I mentioned to Ajeet, the hotel owner, that I wanted to go, asking how to get there and he suggested a different trip, overnight, inclusive of everything – food, accommodation, snacks, drinks, everything – for R4,000 ($80).

A tour?  I never do tours but it sounded like an idea and we agreed to leave on Thursday.  He has included an Italian and a French woman and the four of us head off…I have pretty much no idea where we are going.


I already know one of the things I am looking forward to and that is being able to say “stop here”. In the photo above we have just been given some peanuts by the people harvesting them.

The drive out of Jaipur is an experience in itself dealing with Indian traffic.  Pure insanity, but somehow it all works with no aggression. The trip to Toda Rai Singh where there is a bunch of baoli takes a couple of hours.  One baoli is in very good condition and reasonably popular.  Because we have no real itinerary, we hang there for at least an hour sitting, talking, exploring.


This is a different baoli…

Speaking of popular, i feel for my poor female companions.  They constantly attract a following of men tagging along at a distance they might feel doesn’t make their tagging along obvious but only helps to accentuate it.  Fuck creepy Clowns, this is creepy men.  Yeah they are only a little creepy, but I can see how and why it gives the girls the shits.  We even played a little game drawing them from one place to another and back again.


This is that baoli ;o)

They mostly don’t hang this close, this was a photo op, but any opportunity to come close to talk to Ajeet is taken. It is funny in a sad way.

We go from here to several other not as spectacular but still interesting baoli in Toda Rai Singh.  There’s also a quite amazing very old temple that was destroyed by one attacking horde or another.  They have taken pieces of the wreckage and built a makeshift structure around the idol.  Why didn’t I take any photos here?

And then to a quiet quiet peaceful temple complex around a lake.  This is the quintessential there is no way photos can do this place justice place.  In photos the pinks aren’t pink enough, they can’t convey the stillness and peace, something so hard to find in India.  We sit for another hour soaking the place up.  Are you getting  a sense of the pace of this trip?


By now it is about 4PM and we climb up a pretty rough track to another abandoned temple.  But they aren’t really abandoned.  The structure is often really dilapidated, but there is always some one maintaining the inner sanctum, so to speak.  This will probably be in bad shape too, but more from the many many years of love and devotion to whatever god is represented.


To set the scene, it is now late afternoon, the light is beautiful?  See the series of arches stretching to the right?  On top is a pathway that leads out like a huge diving board giving 300 degree views of the city, the other 60 degrees is the temple and the hill.


Spectacular?  An understatement.  We sit here watching the sun disappear into the haze before it finally sets, out of sight.  But don’t let me spoil the moment, it is beautiful and we are having the time of our lives. Laughing, exploring, hanging out, interacting as best we can with the locals.  This is an untour of the highest order.

Who thought to put an LED torch in the back of phones?  Thanks.  But for that the trip back down in the dark would have led to a claim on my travel insurance for death or permanent injury.


I want to learn how to tie a turban like this. It was standard dress in this village.

Then we head off for the 2 hours drive to Bundi for the night stopping at a roadside restaurant for another great meal, ending up at Visham Hotel with a great host family and the biggest rooms I have seen in India.

Will I break the next day into another post?  Nah, too much to tell.

Breakfast in the rooftop restaurant of Visham includes monkeys scooting past and over the rooftops, views of the fort, cow watching and 2 fried eggs on toast done to perfection…you don’t know tricky it is to get any Western food that doesn’t have a unique Indian touch.  I am reminded of French Toast in Bodh Gaya which was essentially a piece of toast wrapped in a pancake.


This man has a little store that sells among other things paan, which is in all those hanging packets.  Paan is made from betel nut leaves and can probably best be described as the Indian version of Red Bull.  I didn’t realise this, I thought it was more about the taste than anything…naive idiot westerner.

At some point during the previous day Ajeet bought some paan and after the initial oral shock of bitterness and something I can’t even name, it became quite a pleasant taste, and there is a gentle buzz.  Apparently it can be addictive, not for me though I am happy I tried it once – I tried it last trip too and couldn’t hold it in my mouth for more than a few seconds.

Are you getting the idea of how this untour is going?


We spend the morning touring the fort, including a fantastic tour of the really old paintings in the women’s quarters, with the “caretaker” taking lots of time and giving us wonderfully detailed information about the stories.  It was nice to see that this is all being protected behind lock and key and he was mindful we didn’t touch anything, I hope he is passing on his extensive knowledge.


Off we head to the next mysterious location.  Along the way, as well as stopping for chai, snacks and photos, we stop at what I think would be called a bhang shop.  Essentially it is a doorway with a bit of space the size of your toilet room.  Bloke has various sizes balls of pulverised cannabis leaves for sale.  And it seems that is all he sells, another “how on earth does he make a living” moment. Note that this is perfectly legal and government regulated (but how much?) in India.

Ajeet purchases a R60 serving, about the size of a golf ball. For R10 the portion is about the size of a grape.  It is mixed with some buttermilk and flavouring and looks and smells like the average Australian green smoothie – scrumptious.  Being about 11 in the morning I decline my own serve but I have a taste, nothing special but quite salty from the flavouring sachet. Pauline finds it too salty to drink her small glass, about 1/5 the size of a full serve so I gallantly offer to finish it off.

We turn off along a back road worse than most I have seen, deeper we go along an even worse (if that is possible) dirt road until we end up at a barren looking spot with a stream running through it.  I am feeling pretty good by now.


This man is a local villager, just finished his washing. You can see the sort of landscape

We walk over to the edge, intrigued by a lush valley we can see below.  And there – we are speechless – is a spectacular waterfall, the last thing I expected to see.


We have brought some flowers to give to the holy man at the Bhimlat Mahadev Temple we must pass through as we wend our way to the bottom of the valley.  Had this been smooth going it would have been much easier now that the taste was sneaking up on me.


This place was so unexpectedly beautiful it was hard to take in.  On one side the roaring waterfall, on another, the rocky, rubbish strewn path back out, on another side a tranquil lush meandering stream, a complete contrast to the waterfall that was its source.

We had the place to ourselves, apart from the monkeys who apparently liked to pinch bags and things.  We put all our stuff into one bag and then put in on the ground next to a rock and it blended right into all the rubbish (you probably think I am kidding).


The water was beautiful to swim in despite the rocks being treacherously slippery and I am still in awe, mostly because it is so out of character compared with the surrounding landscape. By now I am extremely thankful that I didn’t go for the R60 serving if my state of almost complete incapacity was from a small glass.


This is our almost last stop, there is still a meal to be had on the way home and by the time we get back it is about 7PM, we’ve been gone a day and a half, great value. I am still cruising.

But more than just good value for Rupees, it is one of those trips of a lifetime…within a trip of a lifetime.  Some things I will never forget and this is one of them.  If you are coming to Jaipur, find Hathroi Tours on Facebook.  You really should do one of the 9 trips on which Ajeet can take you.


Rishikesh seemed like a good idea, but I would have to go through Delhi.  So instead I leave tomorrow for Pushkar for a few days then to Udaipur for Diwali on Sunday.

I will tempt fate by saying that I haven’t gotten sick at all.  Last time there was an initial WTF? from my guts, his trip it is like “oh, this again”.

And I bought some carpets.