A Travellerspoint blog

The Golden City

The train trip from Delhi to Jaisalmer is 921 km and took about 17 ½ hours. Sounds daunting but we slept a lot and the time seemed to go by without incident. We traveled in an AC2 sleeper car. This means there are 4 berths – 2 upper and 2 lower per sleeper area. India Rail provides clean sheets; pillows and very warm blankets. The toilets are ok, in that they only get used by the passengers in that car and therefore, stay relatively clean. 'Clean' is a very relative term in India. You have to just let it go.

Once in Jaisalmer we got settled in at the Shahi Palace. We had a yummy lunch on the rooftop restaurant – great view of the old fort. We then set out exploring. We first went looking for a bike shop because we thought we would rent bikes the next day to pedal out to an old fort about 15km out of town. We found the bike store and then wandered around the old city and then up into the fort. The fort is amazing although it is inhabited by about 4000 people/shop owners which has a significant negative impact on the structure itself as well as taking away from the majesty of the architecture. We stopped at a shop called Bellisima. It is a shop that sells crafts made by women in the rural areas and sold by a woman. This is very unusual as all the shop owners/keepers are men. In fact, you see very few women even shopping. We bought a lovely hand embroidered piece that is in the muslim style – very tight, fine embroidery, very intrique designs. Each piece is done individually and then they are sewn together to make the tapestry. We wandered around a bit more and then went back to the old city to Nachana Haveli, Sapphron restaurant for a beer.

The Old Fort - view from rooftop of Shahi Palace

The Old Fort - view from rooftop of Shahi Palace


The Old Fort

The Old Fort


Sunset from roof top of Shahi Palace

Sunset from roof top of Shahi Palace


The ancient palace in the old fort

The ancient palace in the old fort


The Palace

The Palace


More of the palace

More of the palace


Yup, still the palace

Yup, still the palace


Jain Temple

Jain Temple

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Old and New

Today we hired a car and driver who took us on a 'city tour' most of this was in 'New' Delhi but everything we saw was ancient - tombs, houses of worship etc. It was interesting to see the new part of the city. There is quite a difference. More cars, less bicycles, carts etc. People are clearly dressed for 'western' business. We visited some very interesting sites. Hamayan's tomb is called the red Taj Mahal and it is quite spectacular. The entire complex was built by Hamayan to house his family and very close friends - there are a total of 160 tombs in the complex. The gardens are being restored to his planned splendor and they must have been spectacular because they look pretty good now. Lots of water features,orchids, pomgranate plants etc. Lots of birds. It makes it feel very peaceful and idyllic. We also visited the Lotus Temple which architecturally looks somewhat like the Sydney Opera House. It is a modern structure built by the Bahia religion. I don't know much about this religion but they profess to be peaceful and loving of all religions and encourage anyone to come and pray in this amazing temple. Next stop was the Tomb of Iman Zamin and another major feat of architecture. The main feature is a huge tower, which apparently, from the top you can see The Taj Mahal. It was closed but seems unlikely you could see very far given the smog. Last stop was the India Gate. This is a war memorial for all Indians who died fighting in any number of wars. There was a ceremony going on so we got to see lots of soldiers dressed up in wonderful parade uniforms. We had lunch at the Red Onion. Very chid-chic- Indian - very good food. Then it was time to head to the train station and out overnight trip to Jailsalmer.

Humayan's Tomb - main building

Humayan's Tomb - main building


Humayan's Tomb

Humayan's Tomb


Posing

Posing


The Lotus Temple

The Lotus Temple


Ceiling of the Lotus Temple

Ceiling of the Lotus Temple


Will have to add name of this later

Will have to add name of this later


Parakeets (I think)

Parakeets (I think)


Incredible carved columns

Incredible carved columns


Lunch at The Red Onion - New Delhi

Lunch at The Red Onion - New Delhi


Yummy food

Yummy food


School boys wanting to have photo taken with me

School boys wanting to have photo taken with me


Special goings on at The India Gate

Special goings on at The India Gate


The Security Guards were very tall

The Security Guards were very tall


Our train car to Jaisalmer

Our train car to Jaisalmer

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Noise, traffic, smog....

Staying in Old Dehli is definitely an assault on the senses but it is exciting and interesting and definitely not for everyone. We got here very late Wednesday night and got a good nights sleep. Spent all day Thursday 15th wandering around the area of the hotel. Tara Palace is off the main street - you have to walk down a narrow alley of cycle repair places to get to it. At night of course, these shops are all closed but during the day it is a very busy place. Bicycle parts are used for many forms of transport here. We walked all along Chandi Chowk, and many of the side streets/alley ways. This area of Old Dehli is like many market/shopping areas in ancient cities, each 'category' has it's own concentration of shops/stalls. So, you go from sari shops and clothing stores to shoes to pots and pans, to nuts and dried fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and then spices! The spice market is fascinating and the vendors are all very happy to explain what's what and having you taste different things. I am going to stock up on some hard to get spices when we come back through at the end of the trip. I have never seen so many varieties of pepper and sugar and they are gorgeous to look at, let alone taste.

We visited the Jama Masjid, which is a guargantuam mosque build of the red clay brick that is everywhere here. It has great views of the old city. I had to wear a very birght, very large caftan to 'cover up' - you will love the photos of that!

The food has been excellent. Breakfast at the hotel is either American or India - I am sticking with Indian. We ate lunch and dinner at a muslim run restaurant near the mosque - Kalim's. It is super clean and always busy with both locals and westerners who work in Dehli so we feel good about it. I had 'real' tandoor chicken for lunch - yum! And for dinner we had a chicken curry - hot, hot and a version of naan that was yummy. It was pressed with a veggie filling.

Not ready to try a street lassi yet - maybe after a few more days I will feel braver about buying one. I have heard that they are the best in Jaipur.

Spices and henna dyes

Spices and henna dyes


Shoes - hand made

Shoes - hand made


Old Dehli

Old Dehli


Lovely doorway

Lovely doorway


Beautiful Rot Iron work

Beautiful Rot Iron work


Alley walk way

Alley walk way


Typical street in old Delhi

Typical street in old Delhi


Cargo transport

Cargo transport


Garbage control

Garbage control


Kids love to get their photos taken

Kids love to get their photos taken


Dried Figs - yum

Dried Figs - yum


At the mosque - cover up!!

At the mosque - cover up!!


Tuk-tuk - tucked up.

Tuk-tuk - tucked up.


Late night cook.

Late night cook.


Night market

Night market

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

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