A RAJASTHANI ADVENTURE PART II

Part two of our journey was to take us to Ranakpur – this amazing Jain temple is a site to behold.    As we hopped across the burning sun heated ground (no shoes inside) we climbed the steep steps and left the scorching sun to be met with the cool and calm of the temple. We all stood speechless in the vast atrium, totally blown away by the intricately hand carved marble.

From Ranakpur we wound our way through the spectacular Aravali hills, passed tall trees filled with monkeys, neat  cultivated farmland and stunning foliage tipped with orange and red. It felt like stumbling across an oasis.

As we reached the peak of our climb we gazed back at the valley stretched out below us in awe.

The creation of the main highway that extends to Udaipur has radically improved the journey and is an indication of the change that is gradually taking place in India.  Although in true Indian style the slick new highway did still have its flaws as we were soon to discover.  As we cruised along our driver suddenly veered to the other side of the highway driving flat out down the fast lane on the wrong side of the road. Alistair was on a work call at the time and managed a “oh hang on, urm… can I call you back?!” as I extended my arm across our children in the back. We casually (!) pointed out that we were now on the wrong side of the road but our driver just smiled knowingly and as we approached the oncoming vehicle swerved casually into the slow lane, still on the wrong side of the road and trundled over the side of the highway to make a right turn. Laughingly he told us “Don’t’ worry they just forgot to put a turning in when they built the road!”

We were soon in the pretty town of Delwara. This traditional Indian town comprises of charming narrow streets lined with small traders selling everything imaginable from grains and spices, to medicines and sweets , brightly coloured saris next to traditional barbers (very happy to pose for photographs!) The faded blues and greens of the beautiful traditional doorways and stunning religious graffiti adorning the walls added to the magic.  Here we found some potters who kindly showed our children how to use their wheel, a concrete plinth spun on a small wooden peg, on momentum alone.  We also received a live demonstration of jewellery making and spent a magical time crammed cross legged into a small shop trying on and weighing silver jewellery.

Delwara is only a short drive away to the magical city of Udaipur and the famous Lake Palace magically floating on Lake Pichola.

Since our last visit to this romantic city some years ago, the lake has transformed with new majestic hotels around the shore line and the lake once empty and filled with litter was now full to the brim. There is an enormous sense of peace gazing across the lake as flocks of birds dip and dive and the Lake Palace’s bright white exterior reflects across the water.

As well as the stunning palaces Udaipur offers some great shopping from unique artifacts to shoes!

And a lot of fun was had trying them on! The true captivation though was as we dragged our children to the City Palace for one final ‘educational visit’ and they were told of the legend of Chetak, the grey stallion that saved his rider Maharan Pratap from death and in doing so died. Our children stared teary eyed at the painting of the Chetak being cradled in the Maharana’s.

All too quickly the trip came to an end and with heavy hearts we headed for home! As we landed at Heathrow our eight year old daughter looked out of  the window  commenting ” I thought you said it was going to be summer when we got home” . “It is we said – just British summer!”

 

 

 

 

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