Rachel and Matt’s World Tour
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North India Unplugged Part 1

Hello all.

We have been in India 12 days and are 11 days into our tour with Intrepid. India is not half as intimidating as we thought it was going to be but twice as beautiful.

Our first day in Delhi was spent exploring and we were able to cover many sights as we hired a car and driver for the day. We saw the colonial era buildings of Rajpath (Kingsway): The Parliament and Secretariat Buildings, Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House), and India Gate, a 42m high WW1 memorial arch. We also strolled around the atmospheric ruins of Qutb Minar with its 73m high tower, and Purana Qila, the Old Fort. We also stopped to look at the Lotus Temple, which looks very much like Sydney Opera House, and is of no particular faith, all are welcome!

That evening we returned to the hotel to meet our companions for the next 22 days… a mix of Canadians and Australians, and all very friendly. Our guide Pradeep took us all on a walking tour of Delhi the next day. We visited a Sikh temple where all are provided a free meal. We were able to go into the kitchens, where I rolled and Matt cooked some chapatis! We also visited Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque that can hold 25,000 worshippers! We strolled through a couple of bazaars, mostly selling Sari’s and spices.

The same evening we boarded the night train to Jaisalmer. It was comfortable but noisy as there were many people in each carriage, and sometimes 3 or 4 men per bunk! Jaisalmer is called the Golden City as all the buildings are made from sandstone, and many of them are intricately carved. The town was just gorgeous, with its beautiful palace within the Fort and narrow alleyways full of textiles shops. The local craft is patchwork, mirrorwork and embroidered textiles. In Jaisalmer we visited the stunning carved buildings of the palace, the Haveli’s (rich merchants mansions) and the Jain temples. We also took an overnight camel safari into the Thar desert where we watched the sun go down over the dunes, and were then treated to music and dance by the locals. It was fun joining in and prancing around the camp fire.

After Jaisalmer we visited Jodphur, where we visited the huge and imposing Fort Meherangh, which had a fascinating history of the Maharaja’s and Battles of old, and great views across the ‘blue city’. Jaswant Thada nearby is a pretty white marble memorial and looks like a baby Taj Mahal. The markets around the clock tower were hectic to say the least, and so smoggy and dirty, so we didn’t shop much here, but we did have the best lassi in India! It tastes like creamy lemon cheesecake in a glass – delicious!

From Jodphur we went to Udaipur. Our favourite town yet, set around a lake with incredibly beautiful buildings, much of the James Bond film, Octopussy was filmed here. The local crafts are miniature painting and we saw some amazing examples in our tour of the city palace. The workmanship is so impressive we were tempted into buying a few pieces. On our first evening we took a boat ride around Lake Pichola from where there are excellent views of the city palace on the waters edge, and the Lake Palace on an island in the lake. Now an extremely plush hotel, room rates start at hundreds of pounds.

The group seems to have gone shopping mad in Udaipur! Jewellery and clothes and paintings mostly. We celebrated Halloween by dressing up and carving a pumpkin, which got a great deal of local attention from the locals when we took him for dinner in our costumes! At the end of the evening we gave our hats and accesories away and the kids were so excited, it was a cute moment. Udaipur is Pradeep’s home town so he knew everything there was to know and is very passionate about the place. On our last evening here he took us to his home for dinner. The food was awesome and the company even better. We learned a great deal about the lifestyle here from chatting to his extended family and friends.

Sad to leave Udaipur, we took a long and tiring bus journey to Pushkar. Luckily for us the world famous Camel Fair is on. We explored with Pradeep yesterday but it is quite intimidating. Some Indians, mainly young men get very excited about seeing a whitey! It’s not so bad for the couples, but the girls get much unwanted attention, and lots of cameras in their faces.

Sadly we we saw two dead horses and Debbie and Phil even saw a dead man!! Thankfully he had been moved by the time we walked past. A few hours in the extreme hustle and bustle is enough for most of us so we are going to spend the rest of today relaxing by next doors pool.

We have seen and done so much already so there are lots of pics on the photo’s page.


1 Cheryl { 11.03.09 at 9:42 am }

Hi – Just wanted to say how much enjoyed following your amazing round the world trip – can’t believe you will be back here soon – it’s been great and really interesting – thank you!

2 Ann-Marie { 11.03.09 at 9:58 am }

Ooh, I am jealous!
India looks very nice, I am loving the camel riding, looks like fun! The weather also looks a million times better in India. This week it finally got cold and wet and now it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get back! Also the Christmas adverts have started making an appearance on the television and it is only 3 November (they switch Oxford St lights on today too!!)
Keep enjoying yourselves and having lots and lots of fun xxxx

3 Daniel P { 11.03.09 at 10:44 pm }

I’ve enjoyed reading the tales – it is gonna be a bit less interesting when you tell us all about the traffic in Southampton or the history and wonder of, umm errr, the box room that an audit client keeps their records, or how the sun sets and peeks eerily thru the blinds that Su & Zoe refuse to have open properly!! Or, I guess you will wean yourself off diarising upon your return.
Envious of so much. So many great places you have seen. Particularly enjoyed the Nepal. That seems so much the unique experience to pass on to others. Sometimes I have watched a film that is set somewhere near where you are and I do give you a thought. Not just films about war, drug trade, descents into psychotic illness! Some have been comedy and lighter and romantic and about the wonderful places of the world.
Bumped into many BDO Southampton people yet – Richard, Bali?!
How many deserts and camels to ride are there in the world? You can find them virtually anywhere and would not expect it. Although I was down on Weston beach recently and you don’t get sand EVEN there and there are gypsy traders ponies but not camels! I’m gonna have to look further.
Enjoy the tail end of it. See you two later.

4 Mum and Dad Silsbury { 11.04.09 at 9:16 pm }

India looks interesting !! I Like the nice white blouses all the young ladies in your group were wearing, look cool which is certainly what you probably need.Wet, cold and dark at home, sorry to disappoint. Make the most of your next few weeks as then it’s back to earning a living. As they say all good things have to come to an end but we will certainly be so pleased to see you home and safe.You have had a great journey and we felt sometimes as if we were journeying with you. Take care then.

5 cool car { 11.05.09 at 7:53 pm }

You never thought of sitting on the roof of the train then as i thought most of the indians did ,seems a bit odd lots of men sleeping together ,well i say no more .You will soon be safe from all them fuzzy wuzzys on tuk tuks. Not seen slumdog millionaire yet ,but they seem very friendly folk .Well emmerdale will be back in 5 mins ,need my fix .

6 Ria { 11.08.09 at 10:30 am }

Hey guys, your pictures look amazing – as usual!! Love that one ofthe guy cooking in the Sikh temple- he looks like a minature person cooking in a normal kitchen, like one of those little Borrower people!

Anyway, you’ll be glad to hear it hadn’t rained in the last couple of days, but it is getting mighty chilly. Oh and bloody West Quay have got their Xmas lights up already! Madness!!

Ocean Village now has it’s own little coffee shop to where the ok’d marketing suite was, in what used to be the entrance to the shopping centre. Since I’m mostly working from home now we can meet up for lunch there!! It’s all very exciting here in OV, you really have Bern missing out BIG time since you swanned off on your travels!!!


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