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Graham Williams & Louise Jones Travel Blog This is our journal logging our trip through Central and Latin America from July 2005 to the present date. We update it and add new pictures every two to three weeks. At the moment Will is travelling in South Africa, while Lou is living in Buenos Aires.For more background reading on our travels go to - http://journals.worldnomads.com/will/

Temples and Palaces

INDIA | Friday, 2 February 2007 | Views [1629] | Comments [1]

The courtyard of the Kailash temple, the whole thing is cut out of solid rock.

The courtyard of the Kailash temple, the whole thing is cut out of solid rock.

Lou and I met up in Mumbai on January 12th and after a couple of days set off to the Deccan Plateau to explore the Ajanta and Ellora caves. The Ajanta caves were cut by Buddhists into the side of a river canyon, and contain complete temples and prayer rooms, many decorated with paintings. The caves were ‘lost’ for hundreds of years before being rediscovered by a British hunting party. At Ellora there are even more caves cut out of a cliff face, created not only by Buddhists but also Hindus and Jains. They also have the Kailash temple, an amazing creation, a huge building with statues, friezes and statues cut straight out of the cliff face.

From the center of India we took a train (which don’t seem to have changed since we first came here eighteen years ago) to Rajastan. Our first stop was the wonderful city of Udaipur, which is centered around a lake in which sits a palace, now a flashy hotel. There is another massive palace on the lake side which you can look around, with part of it being another up-market hotel. While we were here we had some Indian cookery classes, to learn the basics and to sort out which spice is which. The base of most dishes is quite straightforward, and we also learnt to make snack food like veg cutlets and samosas. At the end we got to eat the results for lunch.  Udaipur’s big claim to fame is that ‘Octopussy’ a James Bond film from the mid 70’s was partly set here. Most restaurants show it every night and you can’t leave town without seeing it. Its one of Roger Moores more forgettable outings as 007, the baddies are the Soviets which dates it immediately.

More unusually, we saw a performance of ‘Twelfth Night’ in the grounds of the Palace, preformed by a group of English actors. The players had to cope with the Indian setting; dogs and children wandered across the ‘stage’, and they had to compete with the sound of blaring Bollywood music from the town. It was also an auspicious day for weddings, over 300 couples had tied the knot that day, so at the end the play was almost drowned out by the sound of fireworks going off.

From Udaipur we took a bus to the town of Jodhpur, which gave their name to the riding trousers and is known as the ‘Blue City’ as the walls of houses in the city are painted blue, for religious reasons and to keep the place cool. The main attraction here is the magnificent fort that dominates the town, which has yet another palace inside it, and which made for an interesting day out. The Rajastanis seemed to spend a lot of their time engaged in intertribal feuds so there are lots of forts in the state. It seems the most peaceful time in history was when the British ran the place and put an end to the internecine warfare.

From Jodhpur we traveled onto Jaipur, which we first visited in 1989. A few new buildings have gone up but little else seems to have changed. This is the case for the whole country, lots of people have mobile phones and there are newer cars on the road but that’s about it. There may be lots of news stories about how India is taking over the world, but it’s going to take a very long time before the majority of Indians or tourists notice it.

From Jaipur we are heading to Agra, for another look at the Taj Mahal and then onto Delhi to finalize our journey back to the UK.

Tags: On the Road

Comments

1

Hi Will and Lou,
Hope you're enjoying India.

Rajastan is very colourful and perhaps the image most westerners have of India, with the men wearing turbans,dry climate and hill forts.

My relatives live in Nagpur the major city of the Deccan plateau, where my uncle is a surgeon. We've been twice, with and without children! From Nagpur we travelled north east to Khanna Kisli in Madra Pradesh, here is a major Tiger reserve and the place Kipling wrote the Jungle Book.

The only tummy upset was in Agra and that came from a hotel, never had any upset eating roadside vegetarian food cooked hot in front of you. The cauliflower soup served over two nights was probable the culpret in the hotel as it must have been reheated and kitchen porters are maybe hired in for the day?

When you're in Delhi try a southern Indian dish called Dosa, it's a rice based crispy pancake with a potato curry rolled into the centre, work from the crispy roll ends into the soft filling. Last one I had was with my cousin in Newcastle-u-Tyne, Hhe assured me it was very authentic although a long way from Kerala!

Safe travelling,
John the dentist

  john Feb 19, 2007 2:19 AM

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