Arrival at Abu Road a bit late, met by driver at barrier. Interesting
drive up to Mount Abu complete with monkeys. Eleanor deemed it
wiser to spend morning in room. Michael (also bit rough) had
wander in grounds. Both went for wander in afternoon. Went down
past school and got surrounded by about 25 kids all wanting to
talk. Intrigued by foreign currency, wanted to see coins too
which we hadn't got. Exercise books shown to Eleanor on hearing
she had been a teacher. Sir came out and didn't seem overimpressed
by activity. Palace Hotel, Mount Abu. A very pleasant
hotel in an old hunting lodge of local royalty. Very quiet in
extensive grounds. Large, pleasant bedroom, good food and very
attentive (if rather slow) service from very friendly staff.
Day with guide. First at our request to Achalgarh, went in Shiva
temple (interesting), wandered round village full of stalls for
local pilgrims, good drive. Mount Abu, lake, gardens (excellent
young magician and guy trying to sell fragrances), had wander
round markets and old town. Then Dilwara temples, really excellent
which were quite busy - pity photos not allowed. Afternoon back
to school with some UK coins and pictures of home, both going
down well with kids who were mortified to learn we wouldn't be
going to see them the next day. No sign of Sir.
Drive to Narlai on very cold, wet day part along new dual carriageway
on which people ignored one-way concept at will. Stopped at various
small villages including visit to farmyard and school. Went to
dhurrie maker and had tea (suspect was shopping stop but interesting).
Walked round Sadri - interesting town and nice because nobody
asked us for anything. Rawla Fort, Narlai. Originally
a C17th fort and now an exceptionally pleasant hotel. Very stylish
(and large) bedroom with lovely gardens. Excellent food and service
from staff who became friends.
Nice drive to Kumbalgarh which was mind-blowing. Spent a lot
of time in temples then up hill to palaces. Little Kumbha Palace
very interesting and worth finding as not immediately obvious.
On to main palace which impressive but plain with good views
over Rajasthan Plain. On way back stopped in village for wander
and got taken into house by local (who worked in hotel elsewhere)
to see hand quern and potter's wheel which in themselves weren't
of much interest to us but the rest of the place was fascinating.
Walked round Narlai, pestered by kids for 'ballpens', on quiet
street had stone thrown at our departing backs. Kids surprised
and beat rapid retreat when Michael turned and started striding
towards them. Obviously we had forgotten the lesson from Purana
Stopped at Ghanerao to look for old Jain houses, found huge step
well and got taken by local to see another we had walked past
without seeing. Stopped to see fields and got invited into farmyard
for tea. Ranakpur temples amazing (and photos allowed except
of gods). Site initially busy, quietened later. Wandered in Narlai
Drive to Udaipur for train to Delhi. Stopped at Kelashpuri for
C8th temple complex (no shoes, socks or cameras) which very good.
Offered free services of very good local guide who was worth
his tip. Stopped at Lake Bagela near Nagda for Sas Bahu temples
which were worthwhile, quiet, and had decent loos. Drove past
mile after mile of marble quarries on way to Udaipur. Taken round
lakes, to Royal Rose Garden (good), Palace Motor Museum (not
really worthwhile). Went to meet driver's family and his elder
brother and family. At station in good time for train.
Train 2964 Udaipur City to H Nizamuddin
Shared compartment with silent fellow travellers in newish but
very tired stock - a composite AC1/AC2 car. We appeared to have
been given lower bunks on account of age. Toilets unpleasant.
No meal included (apparently) although chai often offered up
and down corridor and at one point someone came to door apparently
proffering food for sale but English not available and as we
weren't hungry we stuck to some biscuits we had. Very rough riding
on occasions (probably due to track, not stock). Air conditoning
bit ineffective. Had MP in next compartment whose supporters
were very vocal when he joined train in small hours. Arrival
150 minutes down. A trip we would have preferred to make by other
Late arrival in Delhi and heavy traffic to hotel. Had intended
to hire car for afternoon but Michael on Imodium and both feeling
tired so chilled out in hotel for rest of day.
Morning pickup for airport and flight home to London. Picked
up car and to Premier Inn at Hayes.
On road 0415 to beat traffic, home 0830.