29 Nov 2013

Touring Rajasthan From Jodhpur To Jaipur

On day five of our tour we headed to Jodhpur 'The Blue City' and our home for the evening was the Mandore Guest House, we had a spacious, modern style hut in their twinkly fairy-lit garden. After an early breakfast we headed to the huge Jodhpur Fort which towers over the city below - this place is massive, and once inside it offered an amazing view over old blue part of the city. The rumour is that the Brahmins (India's top caste below royalty ie. priests) painted their houses blue to signify their dominance and deter robbers - of course, once the rest of the town learnt what was happening they also painted their houses blue!

Jodhpur India's Blue City
Jodhpur - The Blue City

26 Nov 2013

Jaisalmer - A Golden City

Rajasthan is India's most colourful state and our plan was to visit each key colourful city - Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur. First up, Jaisalmer 'The Gold City' in Western Rajasthan's Thar Desert. We instantly fell for the charm of this enchanting fortified city built entirely from golden sandstone - it's like stepping back in time or on to the set of some kind of Arabian nights film. The fort is huge at 70m tall and it's around 850 years old. Today approximately 4,000 people live within its walls and 99 bastions. 

Jaisalmer Rajasthan

25 Nov 2013

A Royal Encounter In Bikaner

After a reasonably short drive from Mandawa (five hours) our first stop just outside of Bikaner was a bit of an odd one. The Rat Temple, home to an estimated 20,000 black rats believed to be the reincarnated ancestors of the local people. As with all temples in India you have to enter barefoot! So, we removed our shoes and had the 'honour' of walking about in rat droppings whilst the holy critters ran about their business and fed on the seeds thrown by their descendants. It was a very weird and slightly gross experience! If you are really lucky you will see one of the very few white rats and it's also said to be a high honour to eat food which has been nibbled on by these rodents. We didn't stay long and headed outside to one of the many food stalls for a tasty samosa, yep, we checked it carefully for teeth marks! 

niwas laxmi palace bikaner
Not too shabby!

23 Nov 2013

The Road To Rajasthan - First Stop Mandawa

After a few weeks lazing in South India we flew north to India's notoriously crazy capital, Delhi. Our mission for the first two days was to book a tour of Rajasthan 'Land Of The Maharajas' - it was exhausting - but finally we booked a 12 day tour with a driver aka chauffeur and luxury accommodation. Exciting!

Mandawa Haveli
Sack the Stylist!

19 Nov 2013

Life's A Beach In Palolem

We couldn't resist the opportunity to chill for a few days on one of Goa's gorgeous beaches - Palolem. Vicky visited a few years ago with Diver and was looking forward to sharing this traveller favourite with Steve. 

palolem beach in goa

8 Nov 2013

Elephant Spotting In Wayanad

Our journey to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary a remote jungle in north Kerala where you're almost guaranteed to see wild elephants took a little longer than expected. First we needed a train from Alleppey to Kozhikode, as always the timetable was prone to changes and we were in for a two hour wait at the station. The eclectic mix of young and old crossing platforms via the tracks rather than the footbridge kept us 'entertained' and showed us health and safety at its best.

calicut to wayanad

5 Nov 2013

Alleppey - The Venice Of East

We decided to head south from Kochi to enjoy a much raved about Keralan Houseboat in Alleppey 'The Venice Of The East'. The journey there was amusing, a 2.5 hour taxi ride with an eclectic soundtrack: 90 minutes of Aqua on repeat (remember THIS?), 30 minutes of Backstreet Boys and Blue, followed by some Bob Marley reggae vibes for the home straight. At the halfway point we thought it was going to be Aqua all the way - no matter how many times we heard it, we just didn't want to party with Barbie, or hanky panky with Ken!

Houseboats in Alleppey
Locals canoeing through the tourist houseboats in Alleppey.

2 Nov 2013

Our Arrival In India: Fort Cochin & Cherai Beach

Two flights, a taxi ride and 13 hours later we arrived safely at Cherai Beach Resort, on Vypeen Island. It's a very narrow island, to the front of our resort is a golden sandy beach and the back sits right on the river aka backwaters.  Our home for three days was a traditional Keralan style fisherman's hut set amongst tropical landscaped gardens and lagoons. A relaxing, picturesque setting to begin our Indian adventure…

Not bad for our first stop.