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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Mandawa and Bikaner, India

Filed under: Beginings,India,Photos — she_travels at 11:00 pm on Sunday, April 1, 2012

We had decided, do to all the stories of India being a bit much on the senses, not to spend any time in Delhi on arrival. If after the Rajasthan loop we changed our minds it could be worked out. We were in Delhi for two nights but arrived very late from the airport and late enough not to want to see much after Rajasthan. I do remember on one zip through town having the India Gate pointed out.

I remember very little of that 1st night past the hotel we had chosen was proving difficult to find. I finally suggest to Lahku (the driver) if he had some place else for the same price he would rather we stay I was all for that, I just badly needed to sleep. Mom and I later decided there was a possibility because of the location (old delhi) of the hotel we choose Lahku was not comfortable leaving us there. We never asked exactly why, we were just glad to be on our way to a place he knew.

The following morning Lahku collected  us at the appointed hour to take us to “the office”. We had not up until arriving at the office paid any money. Tarun and his father wanted to welcome us, review the itinerary and square away the fee. I had research some of the hotels I wanted to have a look at but Mandawa was not one of those places so we left it up to Lahku to make choice, it is possible he was having help via his cell phone.

If I remember correctly we left Delhi about 11am. I now wish I had taken some photos of the truly creative, down right amazing buildings, on the way out of town. Have a look at these pics of buildings in a place called Gurgaon,  just south of Delhi.  The reason I bring is up is cause India is all about the extremes.

Once completely outside of the city one sees camel carts, ox carts, horse carts, people pedaling carts, bicycles, people on foot, all shifting this and that from point A to point B. Anything from stacks of tennis shoes on the back of a bike to a camel cart moving sand, bricks or sugar cane.

Anything you have ever heard about India driving multiply by 100, there are all manner of things in the road from all the those mentioned above to loose cows, monkeys, dogs, children, pigs, broken trucks, tractors, tuk tuks, motor bikes, cars driving the wrong way down the highway. The driving alone is an experience. Thus, no pics, I was trying very hard not to express my concern for the traffic, in the end I had to stop looking out the front window, I sat in the back of the car with my head out the window.

I have one pic of the drive…

The yellow is harvested and transformed into mustard oil. The trees in the back, I do not know the name of,  the residents cut branches for fire fuel, either for heat or cooking.

We arrived in Mandawa after dark, I have no idea what time it was I just knew if I didn’t land in a bed as soon as possible I was going to go bonkers. The following morning we were up before sunrise.

From the roof and on the roof of our hotel.

This building was across the street.

Lahku told us what time he would be back to take us to breakfast. We ended up at this place…

Hotel Mandawa Heritage, a much more expensive place than where we stayed, whose name I do not remember.

Mandawa’s claim to fame is the mansions(havelis) that have lavishly painted walls. After breakfast it was suggested we go for a walk with one of the local chaps to have a look at them.

If I remember correctly these buildings are from the 1800’s.

An entertainment room inside one of the havali, see the small doors inset in the red at the top of the pic. The women of the home were not allowed to go out or be seen so they hide in those small spaces to watch the show from above.

One of the many interesting, very old doors.

From the roof looking down at the neighbors. We came to realize early on many of  the animals were keep in courtyards, this made it easier to feed, milk and to clean up the poos. The poos were then mixed with some sort of grass and used for fuel to heat with.

Another view from the roof of a haveli.

If I understood correctly all this is part of the haveli I am on the roof of but it was not open to the public. Big place  huh?

On the way back to Lahku…

Camel Carts.

I had to ask what this is. Water for those who have none.

If you wish more info about Mandawa, Wikipedia is happy to help.

We stopped for petrol outside of Mandawa. This happened by.

Lahku’s map had us visiting the Rat Temple on the way to Bikaner. 

While the italian marble is very pretty….

The carvings truly amazing…

and the door beautiful.

I could not get past the idea they are feeding rats that are breeding gang busters and to top it off worshiping them.  Being a temple ya had to take your shoes off, they gave us booties, no cameras allowed.  Yes, mom and I went in for a look, did not see the lucky white rat which was ok I was not going to spend much time looking for him. Feeding rats milk… yuk.

I was far more interested in this…

He is cute and not a soul would tell him to back off from the sugar cane juice leavings.

These next few are Fort Junagarh in Bikaner.

Gold ceiling anyone?

I do love a garden view.

Big place inside a wall.

Cool   huh?

The place we stayed in Bikaner, it was clean an simple. The room was huge as I remember.

We were out for a walk early the following morning. I think it was Sunday. Just us and the local cows.

We saw countless homeless dogs, some starving, some hurt, some in very good shape.  I saw three on leashes,  of those three two were Shepard looking.

Cattle guard at the hotel, rock slabs instead of metal.

Right then I must away to sleep.

We continue tomorrow with Jaislmer and a camel trek.

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