Monday, February 1, 2010

Rajasthan: Roadtrip to Ranakpur

We said goodbye to the guys at Pleasant Haveli in Jaisalmer. I have to admit they are really pleasant. They didn't charge us for any of the snacks that we ordered including beer and pop. In fact one day I asked for a coke and they didn't have one, only pepsi. So I said "no thanks." Next thing I know one of the guys hops on his motorbike and drives to the fort and picks me up one - now that's service. And when we left they gave each of us flowers.

Back to the train station at 5:00pm and we were shocked to see the train already there. And not only that but they were cleaning it. Don't worry though, it took them so long to clean it that we still left 45 minutes late. Oh, and don't worry - the resident mice still made the trip with us. Tip #1: don't leave luggage unzipped on the floor. Tip #2: if you take your shoes off for the train ride check them for unwanted visitors before you put them on again.

We took the train to Jodhpur and back to Heritage Kuchaman Haveli just for an overnight. First thing in the morning we took a prearranged taxi to Ranakpur and then onto Udaipur.

The roads are quite good, with the usual near head-on collisions. Trucks carry ridiculous loads, motorbikes carry too many people and trucks and buses fly by with people hanging out the doors and windows and packed on top. Sheep are herded across and cows stand in the middle. Vehicles don't slow down - they just whip around them - and the cows don't flinch.

It took three hours to drive to Ranakpur, the site of the Jain temple. The temple is well worth visiting. It is entirely made of marble with over 1400 columns holding it up. There are statues and carvings and every bit of the temple is carved to tell a story.

The marble keeps it nice and cool inside and people sit and enjoy the calm beauty, and try to take in the history and incredible detail in every part of the temple.

The temple is surrounded by hills and is three hours on either side of Jodhpur and Udaipur so it could be a day trip from either place but we carried on to our final destination: Udaipur. Now I sound like we were on the Amazing Race...our final destination...

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