The next town we visited was Jodhpur, home of the Mehrangarh Fort. The fort is perched on top of a craggy montain in the centre of town, making it look even more imposing. I still haven't managed to get any pictures off my camera, but here's one I stole from Wikipedia.
The fort was built to be confusing for invaders to navigate, something which it still succeeds at - in the palace areas inside it's easy to forget you're way up in the sky and to come out onto a balcony looking over the city and across the desert beyond was a bit of a shock. While in Jodhpur we also did a village safari in a jeep, visiting some of the Bishnoi people who live in the desert, watching them weave, cook, make pots, and drink opium tea.
Next we went to Pushkar, a small lakeside town famous for having anywhere from 300 to 2000 temples, depending on who you ask. The lake is beautiful, but I really didn't like the town. There were so many people trying to scam, beg, or otherwise take money from us. This is a problem most places in India, but nowhere we've been is it anything like this bad.
Luckily we were only there one night before going to Udaipur, also on a lake and also very beautiful, but without the hassle of Pushkar. We took a boat trip around the lake and got some great views of the amazing Lake Palace, a former royal residence turned hotel which seems to float in the middle of the lake. Also in Udaipur, though only glanced from afar on our boat trip, is the Monsoon Palace. This was the setting for Octopussy, a fact which is difficult to forget as every restaurant and guest house seems to be showing the film nightly.
According to my notebook Jaipur, our last stop in Rajasthan is "fucking disgusting, full of dogs and rats and horrible people running around in the rubbish." I think I was in a bit of a mood as we stumbled off a train in the wee hours and had to find somewhere to sleep, bu Jaipur should probably take some of the blame too. It's grotty and overcrowded and generally unpleasant. Fortunately on the outskirts are two very redeeming sights. One is Amber Palace and Fort, two very impressive old buildings which I can't show you the photos of. The other is the Monkey Temple - not its real name, but should be. This is a temple inhabited by thousands of monkeys. We went just before sunset: feeding time. Huge swarms of monkeys ran down the hill to the temple where they're fed. And we saw a monkey ride a pig.
In my next post, we head South to Goa, where the blog will only be a month behind us!