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Published: September 13th 2018
After yesterday’s beautiful sunny day we woke to clouds this morning. Despite this for the third day since arriving in India we have had no rain and the cloud provided welcome respite from the heat of the sun. Stephen has decided the rain is following us. To be fair given how poor the monsoon has been in Rajasthan this year, with many of the lakes we’ve seen looking rather empty, it would probably be a good thing if it did.
We walked up to the fort museum via the Fateh Pol gate this morning. Despite our concerns after finding it difficult passing through the fort yesterday we entered without any problems. As we walked towards the museum we noticed the security guard by the entrance to the zip line and gardens wasn’t at his post. We therefore walked through the little gate to explore the gardens. They are beautifully kept with green lawns, a pond full of purple lilies, lots of different flowers, shade from the trees and a really deep well connected to irrigation system. None of the army of gardeners at work seemed to mind our presence as we admired their hard work. I did wonder whether you
would be able to enter or see it from the museum but you can’t (despite the old signs telling you to visit still being up). There is a restaurant on a platform above it from where you can look down on the garden. I’m personally a bit confused as to why you’d have such a well kept garden and not let people see it, it would be a perfect place to escape to with a good book.
Continuing up the fort towards the museum we got our tickets, with audio guide included, for 600 each. This actually worked out fairly good value. The guide was excellent and enabled us access to the armoury, some live music and a couple of rooms not available to those without the audio guide. Frustratingly you currently aren’t allowed onto the battlements for conservation reasons but I hope they open them soon as the views must be spectacular and they’re full of cannon from around the world.
We ate a reasonable lunch at the cafe opposite the ticket counter (there’s another inside the museum but this was about 3 times more expensive). Braving the heat again we walked up the road to the
Rao Jodha Desert Rock park.
The rock park is great - it far exceeded our expectations. The area surrounding the fort used to be covered in a plant introduced from South America. They have recently restored the city walls so that large mammals can not enter and eat the native vegetation. They then removed all the foreign plants and have painstakingly replanted the area with native plants from the That desert. There’s a nursery that’s free to see with the plants they’re currently growing.
The visitors centre has information about the plants, rocks and conservation of the area. To enter the park itself is only 100 rupees each. There are 4 short walking trails to choose between (each about 1km long), with decent guides provided. There are also guided walks available.
We walked along the ‘gully walk’ as it was still quite hot and this is pretty shady along most of it. You can climb up onto the city walls in some places but being out in the sun this is rather warm. There are signs along the route explaining the flora and fauna of the area.
From the park we were able to see a couple of lakes
that help supply water to the fort. In one of these we saw lots of fish, one of which did a massive leap out of the water to try and catch a dragon fly which was not something I’ve seen before (except on tv). There’s lots of insect life and an abundance of different birds to see.
On leaving the park we walked back down into town the opposite way from the direction we came from. The tiny little lanes with doors either side that open into beautiful courtyards were fascinating. You just had to watch where you stood and ignore the smell!
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