It’s been almost a month ago since my last post, so time for an update!
My last story was about Hampi. This place is definitely a backpackers place. I met a lot of new people here and we had a lot of fun spending time together. Everyday I rented a moped beacuse this was a nice and easy way to explore the area. The village itself isn’t much to write about, it’s the surrounding natural and historical beauty that’s the draw. Towering over the village is the tower of Virupaksha Temple which stands at the end of what used to be a long bazaar filled with vendors and shops, but has been closed now. For the rest of our days in Hampi we spent some days at the lake and we relaxed around Hampi on the mopeds. At the lake everyone was swimming, while there were signs on the rocks telling that there are crocodiles in the water. Often you’re too scared. Around the lake it was possible to jump of some high cliffs. Of course I had to jump a few times. We also visited Gangavati, it’s a city 18 km from Hampi. We had a great time driving on the moped in a city like this. We had lunch in a local restaurant and on our way back to Hampi we bought some delicious fruits and met some happy kids. The kids didn’t stop greetings us, even when the kids were like 100 meters away, they turned back around and started waving again and again. On our way back to Hampi we visited an tempel on top of the hill. We met a very kind priest in this temple. His daughter was also here and she told us a lot about the most important gods in hindoeism. After a good and interesting conversation the priest invited us to join his ritual at 5:00 am next morning. We didn’t have to think about that twice so the next morning we wake up early and drove on our mopeds to the temple. It was a very special morning and we and our family got blessed by the priest. I stayed for eight days in Hampi and then we took the bus to Mumbai.
We booked a sleeper bus from Hampi to Mumbai. The sleeper bus was very comfortable and I slept the whole night. In Vile Parle east we had arrived around 12 am so we had enough time to find a decent hotel. After spending some time walking around searching for a hotel in Vile Parle I only thought what is this kind of place. This wasn’t the best place to look for a hotel. It was so noisy, crowded and you can see pollution everywhere. So after breakfast/lunch we found out we had to go to the southern part of Mumbai. We took the train to Colaba. The train was so cheap, only 14 cents. After leaving the train station we saw that Colaba is definitly a place for richer people. Many expensive cars in the streets, a starbucks, many businessmen but also many people in all kind of different conditions. People living in the streets, sleeping on the ground and begging for money. When walking towards the ocean we found a good hotel for a reasonable price. The hotel was one block beyond the Taj Mahal hotel and the gateway if India so it was a nice place to stay. The next day in Mumbai I was sick. The flu really got me and I slept almost the whole day. The third day I felt better again and we visited some architectonic buildings like the university of Mumbai, the high court and the hanging gardens. We also watched the locals playing cricket in the park. In the evening we wanted to go to a club / bar but we couldn’t find a really nice place. Not like the places in Europe.;) The last day we visited the gateway of India and we made a short boat trip. The view of the coast was beautiful. The days went fast and I wanted to be in Jaipur with The Diwali festival. Getting a train ticket to Jaipur was harder then I thought because there was a big waitlist on the train tickets. I was lucky beacuse the tourist counter still had some tickets left for foreigners. After three weeks having traveled with Marvin it was now time to move on alone. Thanks for the fun and great time we shared together in India. See you next time Marvin! Mumbai was nice but still I’m not a big fan of the bigger cities.
After a train ride of 22 hours and 1107 kilometers, I had arrived in Jaipur at 7:00 pm. Just in time to go to my hostel, drop my backpack and go to the city to enjoy Diwali festival. In the streets of the Pink city there were many people partying and the streets were decorated with all kinds of lights. It was fun to walk around in the streets and many locals wanted to be on a picture when I was clicking some photos. In Jaipur I stayed in a big hostel called Moustache. This hostel is very popular among the travelers. In Jaipur the locals were a bit different then in all the other places I stayed in India. Here I felt like a real tourist because almost everybody was trying to get money from me in one way or another. Even the tuktuk drivers asked a lot more money to get you somewhere. But beside the fact people were a bit different I had a good time in Jaipur. Walking around in the old city, visiting palaces and temples. Jaipur had many great sights. The second day of Diwali I met Wasim and Khaan, the tuktuk drivers living in Jaipur. They invited me to join them in the evening to celebrate Diwali. I accepted the invite and they picked me up around 7:00 pm at my hostel. First we were driving around in town by scooter and saw many people celeberating Diwali. Kids playing with firecrackers, music in the streets with dancing man and women and I had a chaj tea with the family of Khaan. After that we had dinner with some other muslim people in a local restaurant. It felt like I was the first traveller ever eating in this restaurant, but the food was good. It was a lovely experience. The next day I went along with Stephen and Joakim and we did a small tour around Jaipur. We walked around in the Amer fort and the Jaighar fort, visited the City palace, Hawa Mahal and the Monkey temple.
I was a bit silly when we were in the city palace. At some places inside the palace it wasn’t allowed to take pictures. But it looked so nice inside so I tried to click a picture. One of the guards saw me or heard it from someone else and then he grabbed my phone off. I had to delete the pictures and had to pay a fine of 500 rupees. Oopsie.. In the train to Jaipur some local guys told me about the Camel fair in pushkar. The Pushkar Fair (Pushkar Camel Fair) is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair held in the town of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs. When I heard this I really wanted to go there. In hostel the Moustache I met Tim from The Netherlands and he wanted to go to the Pushkar Camel Fair too. So on Tuesday we took a train to Ajmer and from there we went with a local bus to Pushkar.
Pushkar, Jodhpur & Jaisalmer
When I got off the bus and walked into the small streets, I felt this was going to be a nice town. In Jaipur I had already contacted a hostel owner in Pushkar for a place to stay. The prices of all hotels were tripled because of the camel fair so I was lucky to get this place cheaper. We went directly to the hotel to meet Joakim again and drop our stuff in our room. When we saw our room there was only one bed so Tim had to sleep on a mattress on the ground. Pushkar is a small town around a holy lake. It was very crowded in the streets at day time because of the Camel Fair. The camel fair was nice and there was a lot of things to see and to do. There was yoga, football matches locals vs visitors, camel racing, biggest moustache contests, camel decoration, folk music, horse dancing competitions and a lot more. Around the fair there were many shops that sold stuff for horses and the camels, like ropes and saddles.
I enjoyed walking around in town, grab some delicious food, seeing the locals doing their daily rituals around the holy lake and watching the sunrise and sunset at top of the hills. I like to sit down in the streets of India and watch what is happening. Colors everywhere, children playing , holy men , cows, food, shopping , traffic and all the different sounds around you. It’s so amazing. In Pushkar we also visited the Brahma temple. It’s the most famous Brahma temple in the world. There are only few temples exclusively dedicated to Hindu God Brahma in the world. It is an important pilgrim center and is located in the heart of Pushkar town. In the front of the temple, two small temples dedicated to Lord Kubera and Indra can be found. They are the dwarpalakas who stop all invisible entrants to the shrine. The Brahma Temple is a small one but is very impressive. After spending some days in Pushkar, Tim and I had made a plan to tour with the Royal Enfield’s through Rajasthan. So we went to some bike rental shops and look if they had some decent Royal Enfields for us. We made a good deal and discussed some details about insurance and stuff. The next morning we left Pushkar on our Royal Enfields bullet! Tim has no motorcycle license but he learned quickly in the busiest streets of Pushkar at that time. Our plan was to go to Jodhpur and then to Jaisalmer. The roads were very good and the traffic is not that bad at all. There are just some different rules, you have to honk a lot and the bigger the car the more important you are on the road. So the buses and trucks race like idiots. On our way we drove trough some little villages and drank some chai tea with the locals. After a couple of hours we arrived in Jodhpur in the evening. In Jodhpur we only stayed for two nights. We visited the Mehrangarh Fort and drove around in the blue city on our bikes. In the evening we went to the cinema with another Dutch guy and a German guy. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo was the name of the movie. It was a new movie and we had to see a real bollywood movie. The only problem was that the film was only in Hindi without subtitles. So we had to watch for almost three hours to a movie we didn’t understand completely. We were tired after watching the movie so we went back to the hostel.
The next morning we left for Jaisalmer. Along the way to Jaisalmer we saw lots of wild camels and also an oasis. Now I’m already three nights in the desert of Rajasthan and it’s fantastic here. The village is small with beautiful houses and buildings. First day we visited Sam Sand Dunes. It was a very touristic place in the middle of the desert. We drank some beers and watched sunset in the dunes. Yesterday we walked around in town and played a board game with the other guys from the hostel. The game took ages but we had a lot of fun. Tomorrow we are going on a camel safari and we will sleep for one night in the desert.
Sorry for the long post, I didn’t really have time to write. 😀