Rajasthan (21 July to 2 August 2001)
In just two weeks in Rajasthan, we have seen an amazing number of colourful cities, people. The pink city of Jaipur, blue city of Jodhpur and golden city of Jaisalmer. Desert dunes and mural paintings. To be honest, Rajasthan deserves 2 years, not two weeks. We are writing to you from the Samode Palace Hotel where we have discovered one of the most beautiful hotels we have ever seen. We had planned to drive back to Delhi via Agra and the Taj Mahal that we were not able to visit due to the summit. But we decided to skip it and stay here one more day !  



Jaipur and the following cities of Rajasthan are places we have more or less visited as most tourists do. We have decided to stay only two weeks in this most beautiful region for several reasons. It is easily accessible for tourists and having your own car is not a great advantage as roads and connections are good. Also, the heat has meant we have been staying in hotels and have not been able to make use of our tent. This is very enjoyable as Rajasthan has a amazing amount of historical havelis, guesthouses and palaces but, on our limited budget, this cannot last too long ! 


One of the gates of the old city of Jaipur (left), clay pots used to store water (right)



Ranakpur is home to an exceptionally beautiful temple complex and one of the most important Jain temples in India. Nestled in green hills and tucked away in a small valley, the main white marble temple has 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, no two alike. 





As with many places in Rajasthan, place names end in "pur". This means the city was founded by a Hindu. Villages or cities ending in "bad" were founded by Moslems. Jodhpur is called the blue city of Rajasthan. Traditionally, blue was the colour of the Brahmin caste. The city is dominated by a massive fort.



Western Rajasthan


As we headed to the north-west and the Thar desert, the road scenery changed from green to desert ! WE stopped for lunch in Pokaran where India detonated nuclear devices in 1988 sparking off a regional nuclear race and prompting Pakistan to let its own devices go off a little later. The area has heavy military presence due to its proximity to Pakistan.



The Jain temple at Osiyan



To the North of Rajasthan and our trip in this State, Bikaner is a large trading post that, despite an interesting old city was a little too big and too noisy for us. The fort of Bikaner, though, is superb. In the different palaces within the fort, we saw beautiful examples of Mughal paintwork that made us think about what we might expect in Lahore next month ! 



Painting on a wooden door, Bikaner fort, Rajasthan


Not waiting for the train (left), fast sheep in Pushkar (centre), Bikaner Fort (right)


Greetings from Rajasthan !


Here is the first of our extra pages :

Udaipur la romantique


If you need a travel agency run by a Westerner based in Delhi, contact Isabelle Willemart at :



We are doing well !

Calcutta to Jaipur Back to Trip page Heading to the Himalaya