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That was one hot pipe...

INDIA | Thursday, 23 July 2009 | Views [488]

The train from Sawai Madhopur took us to Kota where we could catch a bus for the one hour ride to Bundi. Kota is big and uninspired so we were happy to catch a bus almost straight away after arriving on the train. Our bus was the first one we had traveled on since Africa that well, reminded us of Africa. It had holes in the floor and ceiling, the windows leaked and it rattled like bones. Good thing it was a short, one hour ride before he arrived to Bundi. At the bus station we caught a ricky to the old city for our hotel which was located in a havali, which are old, large mansions dating back 100 + years that several hotels have renovated to house guests. Ours was just outside the old city walls and pretty nice inside although they were doing some work because it was the monsoon season which means off-season for the city. After settling in we took a walk around the compact old city and get something to eat.

The next day we set out for the fort and old palace that sits above the old city. The Taragarh Fort was constructed in 1354 and is about a 15 minute walk up the hill and is pretty well-preserved. There are also many monkeys who live among the surrounding trees and inside the fort so you must take a stick just in case they get frisky. We had to shoo a few away from certain areas so we could walk around but generally they watch with mild curosity. We also came upon one of two baoris which were like ancient water tanks for residents. This particular one was now being used as a monkey swimming and diving location and they were having a grand time chasing each other and jumping into the water. It was quite a site to see as one does not necessarily think that monkeys like to be in the water like say your average dog. I managed to get one decent picture which shows one jumping off the wall into the water. After the monkey water aerobic display we headed back down the hill to the Bundi Palace with plans to tour it but we were both hungry so decided to save it for another day.

The next day we decided to rent bicycles to tour some nearby sites in the countryside. This proved to be not the wisest idea as getting to the outside of the city was a bit challenging through the narrow streets congested with people, cows, motorbikes and occasional cars. At one point Jessica stopped to let a motorcycle pass only to lean against the tailpipe of recently parked one which proceeded to give her a nice burn on her lower leg. We quickly iced it with our water and she decided to carry on even though it was very painful and starting to blister plus we had not even left the city yet. About 2 km outside the walls we stopped to ice her leg again only to have the chain break on her outstanding bicycle rental. So we decided this was not our day to travel by bike so she took my bike and rode ahead to get medicine for the burn while I walked/coasted her bike back to town. After getting back and applying medicine we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day so she could take care of her leg which by now had a good size blister.

The next day was spent planning our next leg in Mumbai and taking care of some business on the internet of course. I also had a phone interview with a South Korean university for teaching English. The power would go out frequently in Bundi so that sometimes dictated what and where we would go. The next day we packed up and caught the noon bus to Kota for our mid-afternoon train to Mumbai, another overnighter. We ended up leaving earlier to Kota then planned because Bundi was having another power outage, this one to last 4 hours. We had stayed an extra day in Bundi because of missing the tigers in nearby Sawai Madhopur so while we were ready to move on we were also not ready to leave the nice, small (by Indian standards)city where we saw and talked to the same people everyday. There was the two artists who always wanted us to stop into their 'studio' to see art or get a portrait done. Or the guy I bought water from at least twice a day. And our new friend Tony, who worked for a small hotel by the town lake and was their one man kitchen guy. He made good breakfasts and was so friendly and trusting he let us leave the first day we went because we did not have enough money on us to pay for breakfast with the promise to return later to cover the difference! It had been a nice respite from the overcrowded and touristly places we had visited previously and a good place to recharge before hitting Mumbai, the largest city in India.

Tags: bundi, bundi palace, taragarh fort

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