Hotel: Chillout Hostel – my favourite Indian hotel
After the wedding I have returned to Jaipur. Not part of the plan at all, but neither was the wedding.
To recap: When planning this trip I wanted to go to Rishikesh as my main objective. Flying into Amritsar made it convenient to stay in the north. I also really wanted to catch up with my friends at Chillout Hostel in Jaipur, so booked my return flight from there. This was perfect.
Then Ajayraj invited me to the wedding, just near Jaipur, right at the beginning of the trip, so I ended up in Jaipur on day 5 instead of day 28. But it was worth it, so worth it. Read about the wedding if you haven’t.
Of course Rishikesh is still possible and I hear that Fernanda, a talented macrame artist from Brazil is heading there by bus the next (Tuesday) night. COOL! We get along like a house on fire immediately and I get Ajeet to book a ticket. Great plan indeed.
Have you heard about the Kumbh Mela? Wikipedia describes it like this:
The festival is the largest peaceful gathering in the world, and considered as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. There is no precise method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary. An estimated 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad over a two-month period,[ including over 30 million on a single day, on 10 February 2013
Out of the blue Ajeet said “We are going to Kumbh Mela, do you want to come?”. He must know how little I like crowds, but in the spirit of my India travels I say “yes, of course, as long as you can cancel the bus ticket you made 12 hours ago” which he can and does.
So that is the new plan. Leaving tomorrow (Friday) for 5 days. This gives me a couple of days in Jaipur to explore new places.
I have made some great new friends here. Tom from Germany also with me at the wedding, Anouk from France, Shaked from Israel, Fernanda from Brazil, Isabelle from Scotland/New Zealand/Australia and a chance to catch up with the wonderful Anant and Swati. So having a chilled time at the Chillout Hostel has been awesome.
People set off fireworks every night, mostly rockets. Being a boy, I had to buy some and did. I have mentioned the bombs in previous year posts, here is a bit more detailed explanation of the fun and danger associated with Gorilla Bombs.
I am not exaggerating when I say they would blow your hand off. They are frighteningly powerful and I give them the respect they deserve – which is most unlike me.
I don’t think I have included this video from the wedding. My understanding is that this guy is an itinerant musician. He showed up at the house and started playing in the family temple. No doubt he had a plan, knowing that the wedding was on might improve how many tips he received.
The instrument is incredible and many people say they have never seen it before. I know he made it and suspect it might be a one of a kind. Obviously it is played like bagpipes, inflating the bladder and then squeezing it. But it is the bladder that is special, it is an entire goat skin. The animal must have been removed through the neck as the skin is intact. The mouthpiece is at the end of one leg, the playing bit (technical name) is another leg. It even has the teats visible. Yet another surprise in India.
OK. It is 2PM and I haven’t eaten yet today, not such great planning but I find I am not nearly as hungry as at home. However it is time to find something to eat. FYI, India is 4.5 hours behind Brisbane time.
Next post should be during or after Kumbh Mela. I have little idea of what to expect in any aspect of this. Where we are staying, what we will see, how it will be. So ultimately there is hardly a plan at all.