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Anita and Bernie’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 18 Nov 2007

Location: Mount Abu, India

MapHi everyone - sorry we have not been blogging but lack of internet access has been a problem!
As we have been to so many places since our last entry we won't bore you with a step by step account but give you an overall impression.
We have seen so many temples that we are now templed out and we have another one to see tomorrow!. They all have amazing intricate carvings usually done in marble which is cool on the feet as you have to go in bare footed. They are commercially minded as they charge for you to use your camera (25-50p) and video is even dearer. In some temples it is forbidden to go in with any leather, water bottles or sweets. In all temples women are not allowed to go in if they have a period. The temples are usually heaving with people either as a tourist or praying.
We have also visited some rather amazing forts the best one being in Jodhpur. Made of red and yellow sandstone it was built on a high outcrop of solid rock 110 metres high. Luckily the last maharajah had the foresight to install a lift!! The forts have many rooms ornately painted and sculpted. They have many courtyards which divide the women off from the men (my ideal!). Women have special latticed partitions where they can sit behind and eavesdrop without being seen.
Our hotels have been on a grand scale staying in converted palaces. They have been very good generally with opulance abounding. We have not had much chance to go swimming as we have had a packed itinerary. The food in the hotels have been of a high standard, either indian/western buffet or a la carte. In most cases we have been eating outside under a star lit sky listening to a watching Indian music and dance. Breakfasts have been very good. Mum - I have had papaya for breakfast every morning!!
One highlight of the holiday has been an evening camel ride over the sand dunes to watch the sunset. Our camel was called Rocket and its handler was Ali. The ride to the sunset point took half an hour and we were not even saddle sore although getting on and off was a hoot!! He made us trot for some of the time (we were the only ones in the group to do so - he obviously thought we were good riders!) It was a magical time made better by the rum and coke our tour guide brought out for us all to raise a glass to the sunset. He is heavy handed when pouring and that probably helped us with our camel ride back to the bus.
In Jodhpur we visited a Bishnoi village. They farm the desert and protect the wild life and trees. They are pure vegetarians and made us welcome into their mud huts. The head of the family showed us how to make opium tea and then offered it around for anybody to try. Needless to say we did not try because we were unsure of the source of the water! It is meant to give you renewed energy in the morning and after work. We were also taken to a Bishnoi weaver in his wood and thatch workshop. He gave such a good demonstration of his skill that we could not resist buying a carpet.
At the moment we are in Mount Abu - a hill station 1220 metres high. The journey was very long to get here from Jodhpur but it is a very lively place with good retail opportunities!
Hope you are all well in England. We are enjoying temperatures of 32C in the day going down to 15C at night.
All our love
A & B