We boarded our train in Delhi and took off for Rajasthan the Great Indian Desert.  We visited and stayed in many great towns along the way  like:  Jodhpur, Jaisalmer.  The fort at Jaisalmer was like the one projected in the movie Bo Guest Fort that was at the end of the line near the Pakistani border.  This was very very very cool.  The train trip was described in greater detail above so I will mention the things we did here.


is the pink city of Jaipur is steeped in Rajasthan history and tradition, forts, palaces, monuments, and old buildings speckled all across Jaipur, speak of its rich cultural heritage.

The city was conceived and designed in 1727 AD by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh and was later named after him. The city looks almost magical at sunset when the sunrays paint different hues of pink on the walls. It was painted a `welcoming pink` during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876. We visited the Haw Mahal Palace and it is counted amongst the most gorgeous and captivating piece of work by the Rajput rulers. The Rajputs were strictly traditional and did not wish their women folk to be seen in public.. The building had special chambers for the women (multiple wives of the king) from where they could watch the day to day proceedings.  So, Hawa Mahal was a window to the outer world for the royal ladies and the King ordered its construction in the year 1799. It is a five storeyed building today and houses an Archaeological Museum.  The entire structure is made up of 953 small casements each with small lattice worked pink window, small balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices. We visited the City  Palace, Jaigarh Fort and the Amer Fort and finally the Tiger Fort.  These were all great and unfortunately I can not remember where we stayed.  Time erases memories.  From Jaipur wee traveled to Jodhpur.

In Jodhpur

we visited the very cool fort called Mehrangarh. Located atop a high hill, the impressive Mehrangarh Fort overshadows the other attraction of Jodhpur.

The name Mehrangarh itself means ‘majestic fort’.  The fort was initially built in the year 1459 by the founder of the city.  However, much of what stands today date back to the 17th century.  The fort, which has 100 foot high and 30 foot wide walls is entered after crossing seven gates. The area within the fort is covered with beautiful palaces and spacious courtyards and today serves as a museum. The museum exhibits a wide range of collections – elephant carriages, maharaja’s palanquin, and covered palanquins for ladies, lethal weapons, small canons and paintings.  The ceilings are radiant with glass tiles and gold paints. Phool Mahal was the palace where traditional dance performances regaled the audience. The gold plated ceiling has images of various Maharajas of Jodhpur around it. There are paintings that adorn the walls of the palace and the regality of this palace is enhanced more so because of the stained glasses that seems to preserve the glitter of the gold.  A walk on the ramparts at this end provides some really eye catching views of the old city. Numerous houses painted in blue color instantly draw the attention of the tourists. In the earlier time, only Brahmins could get their house painted in blue, however, today more and more people use this color to ward off the monotony of the desert region. It is also believed that the color blue spreads freshness in the house. Probably the nicest structure we visited was the Umaid Bhawan Palace. About the Umaid Bhawan Palace

Maharaja Umaid Singh built the Umaid Bhawan Palace during the period of 1929-34 when Jodhpur was struck with famine to provide food for work to a large number of suffering people. Located at the top of the surrounding hills of the desert outside Jodhpur and the palace are built of beautiful yellow sandstone. The palace is a classic example of the Rajput architecture with extending balconies, large courtyards, huge terraces, blooming gardens and royal rooms. The palace, which spreads over an area of 26 acres (including the one covered by lawns and gardens), is segregated into three distinctive part. The royal family of Gaj Singh uses the first one of the three parts, grandson of Umaid Singh, for personal use while the second part has been converted into a museum. The third and the last part of the palace, today serves as a heritage hotel.  The hotel belongs to the famous Taj Group and provides its guests a chance to take a virtual walk down the royal era. The special aspect about the hotel is that some of the old retainers of the royal household themselves look after the needs and comfort of the guests. This is a unique experience that is hard to get in any other hotel in the world. Every effort has been made in order to preserve the flavor of the grand royal residence- it is very cool and I highly recommend it. The hotel offers 71 air conditioned rooms and each room is beautifully decorated with original furniture of the palace.  We dined at the Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel and I can say it was a real treat.  We enjoyed a variety of Indian cuisine and had cocktails on the open verandah while viewing some spectacular glimpses of the gardens and some classical dance routines and watch the brilliant sun set and cover the area in hues of arrange and scarlet.  I played squash and billiards with Arden.  We should have but did not use the magnificent pool in the basement of the palace.  Dudes I would totally recommend this place for anyone.


Jaisalmer  was it for me it is very wicked cool.

I loved all of it.  It has been dubbed the `Golden City` because of the honey color imparted to its stone ramparts by the setting sun. No one who makes the effort to get to this remote sandy outpost leaves disappointed. It lies in the midst the golden waves of desert sand and the Jaisalmer Fort towers to a conspicuous height.  The yellow sandstone that has been extensively used in its construction makes it appear a part of the sandy region. At one point of time in history, the Fort housed the entire population of Jaisalmer. Today, the city of Jaisalmer is divided into two parts – the one that is within the fort and the other outside the fort. We wandered in its narrow winding lanes and visited the shops staying in the hotel. There are seven Jain temples are they are connected by a series of courtyards and walkways. They have walls, pillars, columns adorned with fine sculptures in sandstone and marble. These temples are an architectural marvel it was very cool to see and the Jain’s are very peace loving people and eat no meat at all.  The wear tooth brushes on the their shoes so they kill nothing as they walk.

It was from here that we went camel camping in the desert.  Four nights of really cool camel camping no tents no sleeping bags just camel blankets and a dung fire.

I did Opium here and it made dreams come to live.

Tasting Opium this night

We left the camel camping for Udaipur on a train.


The City Palace of Udaipur is one of the most remarkable constructions in Rajasthan.

We stayed here and it is located in the heart of the city and towers over the Lake Pichola.

The old part of the palace complex today serves as a museum that stores the legacy of the Rajput rulers for the visitors. Two of the newer portion of the palace has been converted into hotels and this is where we stayed.  The City Palace architecture has courtyards and gardens inside the palace. It is built of granite and marble and we had a grand time here.  We also stayed in the Lake Palace Hotel.

This white marble structure rises out of the Lake Pichola.  The beauty of the Lake Palace is incredible and one of the finest structures I have been to.  The palace served as summer residence for the Rajput rulers who loved to retreat to this magnificent palace in midst of a lake. The rooms are all a classic example of sophisticated royalty. The beauty of the palace interiors is enhanced multifold because of the presence of cusped arches, inland stones of pink, green lotus leaves and painted mirrors. The courtyards have columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens, which adds to the beauty of the palace. Sunrise and sunset are awesome reds flowing all around. Our meals were scrumptious and it was truly an experience.  Every night there was a backdrop of classical Indian instrumental music.  So it was here that we ended our month long travel through India by train.  We traveled back to New Delhi to our host family and then traveled back up to Nepal for another month of trekking.