A prompt departure was in order to enjoy the mountainous route via India’s largest Jain temple at Ranakpur en route to the Blue City. On our way out of town we made a fortuitous pitstop at pharmacy row, opposite the medical college. Govind, a proud Udaipur native, had pointed it out on our approach to town and we decide that a tonic of sorts was just what the doctor woyld have ordered for Jill’s worsening cough. We hawked our way up and down but the trusty Bisolvon was nowhere to be found, so we settled on Pfizer’s close relation for the princely sum of a A$ and immediately put the newly dispensed viscous yellow syrup into service, with excellent results J. The road to Ranakpur was winding but the scenery rewarding. As Govind negotiated the precipitous curves we virtually made the sign of the cross and gasped at the glorious albeit rugged terrain. Once off the trunk road there was either a squalid settlement nor a tourist trap in sight; 100% unadulterated 180 degree pastoral scenes all the way to Ranakpur, and fresh air! We stopped briefly capture an ox driven waterwell and were promptly relieved of all our ‘shampoo” by
the village kids.
This vast Jain temple is a testament to the craftsmanship of previous generations of Rajastahnis. Pillar after pillar of marble carving in minute detail left us in no doubt as to the skill and devotion of these people. Their architectural achievement is both breathtaking and inspiring, and the serene ambiance a palpable contrast to the beat of the bazaar. Lucky we enjoyed peace while it lasted, for onward journey to Jodhpur was a fest of overtaking on a two lane road shared by 3 and sometimes 4 lanes of traffic. More than once our driver came close to forcing a motorbike off the road, even though he was well and truly on his own side.
Arriving at Devi Bhawan at dusk had something magical about it. The lush gardens, lit by hurricane lamps, were a welcome sight to the weary travelers and continue to enchant for the duration of our brief stay. Rakesh and his überfriendly staff make this a refreshing alternative to the surfeit of luxury, which is the byword of western style hotels here. Barwah attends our every need with an irrepressible and seemingly unrehearsed charm and brings real
meaning to the renowned Rajasthani hospitality.
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