Apologies for delay in updating blog but no easy internet access at Udaipur - we were staying in the middle of the lake at the extremely posh Octop**** featured Lake Palace Hotel and to get on line required hiring a laptop etc etc . Found an offsite internet cafe but no time to download photos as we had to get back to the hotel for our massges - a tough life hey!
Udaipur was a beautiful city by comparison with the dirt and dustiness of Jodhpur dominated by the City Palace overlooking Lake Pichola - in the middle of which was our hotel. Lovely little boat ride to and fro to get there and hotel absolutely wonderful. It really was like living in a palace but with prices to match. Guided tours of the Palace buildings and grounds and the local Jagput Temple . There are so many hindu gods and all totally confusing but we are now getting used to the names and the incredibly intricate carvings.
On the drive down from Jodhpur we went from scruffy flat semi-desert, through very rich and active agricultural land to the aravelli mountains and "jungle" - more like wooded hills but evidently you can see leopards, bears etc and we saw monkeys. Stopped at a Jainish Temple en route at Ranakpur again incredibly carved detailing all over the interior. Lunched nearby at a small hotel where they had a simple buffet for next to nothing all served very efficiently. It was actually delicious and we lived to tell the tale!
We are now in Deogarh, a small town in in the countryside. The hotel is in the old fort, owned by the local nobilty who live nearby on the lake. Unlike the Palace in Udaipur which was immaculate, this place has a faded grandeur. It's an absolute rabbit warren of steps, corridors,alcoves, balconies,corridors etc. Not any easy place to find one's way around. The bedrooms are all different and highly decorated in Indian style. Ours has a magnificent dome above the bed, but no air conditioning only fans, and, as yet, we have no hot water in the shower. However, last night we had a lovely curry on the roof terrace with a young couple from Vienna who we were chatting to in the bar, and it really was quite magical.
Today our driver, who is very good and who drives this route regularly and, therefore, knows all the best places to stop and visit, walked us around the town which is very 'local', not at all touristy. Divali is tomorrow and everybody paints their houses, tidies up , decorates Xmas-like with very colourful tinsel etc - and get their hair cut - every barber shop was in use and other street side hairdressers as well. It was good to walk the streets with Narendar our guide plotting a path through the street children and traders and cows pointing out different house styles, trades, fruit veg and flowers and why different people where different costumes, jewellry etc depending on where they come from and their status. Watched women doing the washing on the steps of the lake - the ghats - and also bathing, washing cars and collecting water chestnuts.
Afternoon by the side of the pool and have just had an hour browsing the hotel shop whilst waiting for our photos to download onto my USB stick so we can wipe the cards and look ahead to week 2.