Heading east towards Chittorgarh the landscape changes again. This time grey slate and rocks are the defining mark of this sweeping rocky plain that unfolds before you. Iridescent blue-winged birds dart between trees, leading your eyes towards long-grasses and pools where I imagine I lay alone, not a care in the world. Just warm, free, naked… arms stretching out to the sun.

It is quiet here amongst the temples; the green parakeets snuggle close in their pairs and the yellow butterflies flit about without worry. The ruins are not waiting for tourists either – only dogs lie dozing in the shadows and I feel like I’m disturbing everything here!

Chittorgarh

Chittorgarh, where the green birds hide!

Afternoon hug, Chittorgarh

Ganesh, Chittorgarh

Feeling on top of the world in Chittorgarh!

Chittorgarh

Chittorgarh horse, a sketch 2012

Chittorgarh horse, a sketch 2012

Being on the road for thousands of kilometres gives you quite an insight into Indian life, in particular the types of shops that seem critical for every town, and the advertising to ensure folks don’t forget what is truly important… like mens underwear and cement…!

Mens underwear advertising!

Mens underwear advertising!

Macho cement advert!

Schools advertise everywhere too. I liked the name of this little learning abode, a school for angels perhaps?

Typical Indian advertising

Plenty of barber stalls too. At dawn, these chairs are always full as men chatter away nursing their hot chai teas as their barbers dance around with razors. I noticed too that if a barber didn’t have a stall, he’d just nail a mirror against any old wall or tree and sit a customer on a stool! Who needs a building for a haircut??!  There are no excuses for Indian men to be unshaven!

Barbers, near Bundi

I love the colour of homes in India, no matter how compact or grand they are. Pink, blue, purple, yellow, orange… And look at the washing lines to show how colourful the people dress here! Indian men look so amazing in every colour; it’s a shame that European men can’t set themselves free and get themselves “coloured up”!

Typical Indian home, circa Bundi

Typical Indian home, circa Bundi

Approaching Bundi was magical. We stopped the car to take it all in. What a place!? I was walking in the steps of Lara Croft to find the secret of life and I could feel the treasures within, waiting for me…

Bundi and lake

The palace is a ruin, but what a ruin!? I could have stayed here forever, not a soul in sight, no tourism anywhere… just the most beautiful hand painted murals I’ve ever seen in such a place, sadly unprotected but raw and genuine like a newfound treasure. Looking down towards Bundi town I imagined what it would be like to be a queen here – queen of all the monkeys who live here, for that is what also makes this place magical. It is full of monkeys everywhere… gazing out of windows, sitting on rooftops, gracefully striding along walls and down alleyways. Baby monkeys playing and mothers scaring off dogs. I fell in love in Bundi and left a part of my heart here; I’ll return!

Hillside palace, Bundi

Hillside palace at night, Bundi

I stayed with many people and their families throughout the trip, usually homestays, but in Bundi there was a great place, Bundi Inn, that was just as warmly inviting. The manager, Mr Singh, was very enchanting! I likened him to an Indian ‘James Bond’ character with all his wonderful stories of Bundi, his family history and his dreams, all charmingly shared on his rooftop over a beer. We talked of karma, Indian marriage, building a business, the monkeys and their cheeky behaviours, the Bundi wells, future tourism, and much more.

Indian people are always ready to share the tales of their lives, their woes, their successes, their dreams… India conversation requires you to share a lot too, and it is no surprise to find yourself talking openly about life and dreams as if anything is possible. India is like looking in a mirror; you might not like what you see reflected sometimes but it does speak many truths to the soul!

And Indian food… well, Rajasthan did not disappoint me at all. Besides one or two bland meals on the ‘highway’, everything tasted amazing here and the spices were heaven to the taste buds. Mr Singh invited his guests to his hotel kitchen to watch the chefs and help out on the stove. Feeling and smelling the vegetables and the spices was quite an experience and fun! The result was an exceptionally tasty set of Rajasthan vegetarian dishes served on the rooftops under the fairylights. Perfect for an evening in Bundi!

Very yummy palak paneer and kofta sauce with chapatis, courtesy of cookery lesson at Bundi Inn

Very yummy vegetable koftas with green chilli dip, courtesy of cookery lesson at Bundi Inn

After a few nights in Bundi it was time to head north-east and I was happy and sad for I loved Bundi but knew more adventures awaited me! The journey from Bundi to Jaipur was probably one of the happiest days in my life – everyone on the route stopped to smile and wave… and at the water well, folks came out of their homes to wave and children circled us, curious and shy. It was a most unusual feeling, like being a royal VIP on tour, and very warming to the soul!

Todaraisingh well

Todaraisingh welcome!

Originally published: Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 17:10 in Living matter, Monologues

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4 Responses to “Indian time around Chittorgarh and Bundi”

  1. Archie says:

    Wonderful narrative and pictures. Love your line” India is like looking in a mirror; you might not like what you see reflected sometimes but it does speak many truths to the soul”

    Love reading along your travels with you..takes me back to india so vividly

    Thanks

    Archie

    • Thanks Archie! Its taking me longer than expected to get all my India articles written up and published… as you can see, I’m still working on north India and not even started on the travels in the south of India (where you come in!!). I will keep focused and hopefully have more delights for you read very soon!! Keep smiling my friend!! x

  2. vijay says:

    Hello, I am from Bundi, nice pics, hope you enjoyed the stay here. Thanks.

    • Thanks Vijay! I LOVED Bundi and will definitely return to stay for much longer. It’s reputation for the arts is well known and I was really inspired and happy in Bundi. The monkeys in your town are so special too so please take care of them! Much to love there!

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