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Day 4 - Jodhpur
Our Home with the Jodhpur fort in the distance
The stonework was beautiful, but we're not sure how well they could see through them.
Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City.
Our Lunch Hotel
During the 1930s the Maharaja of Jodhpur built this palace as a public works project. It is now a beautiful 5 star hotel, still run by the royal family. In fact, we met the current maharaja's great-auntie while we were there! She works as a greeter in the hotel, at the age of 91!
Day 5 a.m. - Sawai Madhopur
(Ranthambhore National Park)
This is a national park set aside for tigers. We arose at an unreasonably early hour, bundled ourselves in all the clothes we had (nobody warned us we needed winter clothes in India!). Then we packed ourselves into our safari vehicles - open topped buses - in the pitch dark for a ride through the park in search of a tiger. Our group was particularly lucky - we saw 7 tigers!!! Ranging from "way off in the distance - see that speck" to between our car and another one 20m away.
A strangler fig, and a peacock pretending to be a pigeon!
Some of the other wildlife and scenery in the park.
Back at our rolling home.
Day 5 midday - On the Way to Chittorgah
There were very few times when we could sit and look at India riding by. This was one of them, and Yannis took full advantage of the opportunity!
Studying on the train
Day 5 p.m. - Chittorgarh
On the steps down from the building on the left is where a queen exposed her face to an invader who had laid siege to the castle for months in an effort to save the realm. The invading king could only glance at her in a mirror mounted on the ceiling. After seeing her, he was unable to keep this promise of breaking the siege of the castle, and a war resulted.
Outside of every temple to Shiva sits a cow. Here's one.
The garden through Anika's eyes.
Tea Time Again
This time we visited a famous art studio. The artists range from apprentice to master and they all spent most of their lives replicating the great works found in the
The Lake Palace
This is now a hotel, owned by the current Maharani of Udaipur, though it is leased out. He owns several luxury hotels under the name of HRH.
The City Palace
Elephant loading zone?
Day 6 a.m. - Bharatpur
(Ghana Bird Sanctuary)
Once again, hustled out of bed before dawn. This time we tour on rickshaw, leaving the kids behind to sleep. It was freezing cold and this time there wasn't even a blanket! The personnel on the train are all very disappointed in the bird sanctuary since the monsoons the last three years have been weak, and most of the pools within the park are dry. Consequently, there are only 60 odd varieties of bird to be found in the park today, whereas 3 years ago there were over 200. We were still enthralled, however...look at those storks! And there was a fishing kingfisher, and great ducks and ibis and spoonbill. The only complaints: (a) not enough time there and (b) poor lighting since it was an overcast morning.
Isn't the red debris on the water fascinating? It looks like it's solid ground until you notice that the birds' legs are sunk in it.
? Spot-billed Duck Black shouldered kite (?)
The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built for Mumtaj Mahal, the favorite wife of Shah Jahan, the mogul ruler of what is now India, Pakistan and large parts of Afghanistan. He was the last religiously tolerant Muslim emperor, and the great-grandson of the Akbar the Great. His third son imprisoned him in the Red Fort in Agra until his death some 8 years later. The third son killed the first two sons in order to be next in line for throne.
On the Street
The Red Fort
Another shopping opportunity
This time for inlaid stone table tops.
A Last Look at our Train
Laxman and Shivran - our coach attendants. Anika loved the ceilings
From the Palace on Wheels we headed off to Varanasi to see the Ganges
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