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Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: 25.4417, 75.6417
Our driver picked us up at 9am sharp and we headed to Bundi by way of Chittagargh. The road is very rough so the travel is very slow going. Now that we have been to Bundi, not sure we would recommend doing this. It is interesting but not so different from other places to spend the time and money to get here.
The fort (gargh) at Chittor is considered the greatest in Rajasthan and while we like Menagargh better (Jodhpur), it is well worth a visit if you are in this part of India. The fort is an odd mixture of walls and watch or battle towers and peaceful temples along with the Tower of Victory which has 147 steps to the top. The fort dates back to the 8th century and in 1303 it was besieged by the Pathan King of Delhi who captured the beautiful Padmini – wife of the Rani king. When defeat was inevitable, the men rode out to die in battle and the Rajput women including Padmini committed jauhaur – ritual suicide. In 1535 it was the sultan of Gajarat who besieged the fort and history repeated itself. Reported, 13,000 Rajput women and 32,000 Rajput
warriors died following the declaration of jauhaur. This happened a 3rd time in 1568 – bad karma in this place for sure!!
We then headed on to Bundi and are staying at the Dev Niwas. This is a newly renovated heritage hotel and is quite lovely. The rooms are large and roomy. Ours had a sitting area with a desk and the bathroom is also quite large. The owner is the cousin of the owners of Jagat Niwas so we were initially a bit wary of staying here but it has turned out to be great. It is well located, the roof top restaurant has a fabulous view of the palace and the food is quite good.
We first took a tour of the palace which was built over a period of years starting in the 15th century and was lived in by the ruling maharani family until 1967. It is odd to think of these families living in these ancient palaces which must not have had much in the way of modern comforts because it doesn't appear to be modern electricity or facilities etc. Makes you wonder why they stayed when they had money at the time and could likely
have lived in some luxury elsewhere. I am guessing it was pride of their position etc. There are some very good paintings still in fairly good condition and one room is kept locked and only opened for viewing under careful watch because the paintings are in very bad shape and UNESCO has asked that no photos be allowed – flash or no flash. Our guide was very informative and we heard lots of stories about the Hindu gods. There is one high level of the palace with a lovely garden and views of the city and the fort above.
It is very hard to get to the fort – scrambling up a very steep hill through scrub overgrowth and apparently challenged by the macaques. We decided not to do this. We saw some of the macaques (monkeys) earlier in the day and they are quite large and did not look friendly.
We had lunch at Hadee Rani Guest House. We just wandered in and the people were very pleasant and welcoming. After we had sat down, the owner turned out to be a man we met last night at our hotel. He is somehow related – we knew he also owned a
guest house but didn't know this was his. He was very welcoming and the food was terrific.
We wandered around Bundi – the bangle market, vegetable market and everything else market. Always interesting for us.
Later in the afternoon, Annan, our driver took us out to Jait Sagar, a lovely lake with a small palace, Suhk Mahal where Rudyard Kipling spent a few days and wrote part of Kim. We then went over to a tent resort on the other side of the lake which is also a bird sanctuary and we sat in a tree house, had a beer and watched the birds settle in for the evening. We saw parrots, kingfishers, egrets and a couple other species we couldn't identify. It was lovely.
Back in town we checked out a couple options for dinner – Tome & Jerry's because the sign said 'best food in Bundi' according to Trip Advisor – the menu was uninspiring and the place was poorly lit. We also looked at the rooftop restaurant at Taragahr Fort Inn – also uninspiring and actually looked quite dirty. So, we went back to our hotel. The roof top restaurant had a fabulous view of the palace which is lit
up beautifully at night and the food is quite good.
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