Formerly the home of a Gujurati textile magnate, it’s very comfy. We especially like the Lotus Pool.
The hotel is at the edge of the old city. The old city is a rabbit warren of streets with many examples of interesting local architecture, including buildings with intricately-carved wooden balconies and decorations. Sadly, most are crumbling into rubble.
500 years ago, Ahmadabad was founded with city walls and gates. The walls are mostly gone, but the gates remain.
We are persuaded to visit the Jama Masjid mosque. I point out that I’m wearing shorts (unsuitable for visiting places of worship of any kind – friendly reminder to a million Western tourists.) The gatekeeper kindly provides a loaner pair of trousers.
Fortunately, the gatekeeper has pairs of pyjama-like pants for the use of immodestly-dressed visitors.
Among Ahmadabad’s claims to fame: Ghandi spent years here at the Sabarmati Ashram. This was his base for toppling the Raj.
2019 is the 150th anniversary of Ghandi’s birth. There are signs and billboards throughout the country.
On the grounds of the ashram is this interesting wood sculpture carved out of a post.
One of Ahmedabad’s biggest attractions is the Calico Museum of Textiles. We try to go, but the process of actually trying to visit this museum is so complex and Byzantine, we eventually give up. Maybe next time.
Sight or Insight of the Day
One day, we take a tour with a car and driver, arranged from the hotel. We drive to this place, the Adalaj Stepwell.
We’ve visited these – stepwells – elsewhere in India, but this is the largest and most ornate we’ve seen.
This gentleman is dressed in typical Rajastani fashion.
Bundi is a delightful little place. (By Indian standards, of course.) We stay at the Haveli Dev Niwas.
Because this is not the tourist season – it’s fiery as the pits of Hell out there – we are the only guests.
There is usually a breeze in the rooftop restaurant. Nice view, too.
An interesting detail in our room is the leftover pulley from what was once probably a punkah setup.
The punkahwallah sits outside and pulls the cord to keep the punkah moving in the room.
The lanes of Bundi have ‘character’ without the nightmarish aspect of bigger Indian cities.
We purchase tickets at the gates of Bundi Palace.
To quote the Lonely Planet guide:
‘ This extraordinary, partly decaying edifice – described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the work of goblins rather than of men’ – almost seems to grow out of the rock of the hillside it stands on. Though large sections are still closed up and left to the bats, the rooms that are open hold a series of fabulous, fading turquoise-and-gold murals that are the palace’s chief treasure.’
Like most of these palaces, this one has massive gates.
I model my new block-printed shirt from Jaipur.
The builders of these palaces surely knew about the cool breezes you enjoy at this height.
The Chitrasala Palace, part of the larger complex, has painted murals and a garden in the front.
This is the Chogan Gate – the main gate into the old town.
As usual, we visit the market.
We make our way back to our lodgings against the current of traffic.
After cooling off, it’s time to enjoy the sunset over Nawal Sagar Lake.
Next stop is Udaipur. Time for another character-building bus trip.
This is a common sight in the bus stations of India.
We arrive in Udaipur after dark. We stay in another haveli, the Jaiwana.
They have a nice dog, a beagle named Milo.
Next morning, the first destination is the City Palace.
There’s usually a great view from the heights.
There is a surprisingly orderly system for visiting the palace.
Everyone follows a clearly-marked tour path.
Except for a few minor logjams, it works quite well. We emerge out the other end of the palace.
We leave the City Palace and take a boat tour on Lake Pichola.
Maria models her block-printed top from Jaipur.
We pass through the market. Here are some enormous cauldrons stored in a nook. We think they’re for making chai.
The combination of lakes and mountains makes Udaipur a visual treat.
You get a different perspective from the boat.
A woman does her laundry down by the water.
One of the islands on the lake contains a fancy hotel.
We stroll around the gardens while waiting for our return boat ride.
This lizard leaps across our path from a nearby bush before clinging to this stem.
Sight or Insight of the Day
While in Bundi, we see these lovely murals painted on the walls of the Chitrasala Palace.
Depictions of Krishna seem to be a popular theme in Rajastan.
It’s a shame that India has thousands of monuments in need of maintenance or restoration. We suggest (Indian) universities with faculties of archaeology/antiquities begin a program in which classes ‘adopt’ a particular site to maintain or restore.
For a start, these sites could use more personnel to simply be present to prevent vandalism and provide more oversight: many of these places are full of dark corners where the stench of urine would fell a full-grown rhinoceros in its tracks.
India can obviously afford it. Any nation that has tens of billions of dollars to spend on nuclear weapons can easily spare a few crumbs for the preservation of its heritage, right?