Birds on the Chambal and a smooth drive to Devi Garh

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March 2nd 2016
Published: March 2nd 2016
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The day dawns at Bhainsrorgarh. We go down with one of the boys to the Chambal to take an early morning boat ride to go bird spotting. The gnarled boatman and his sidekick row us down the seemingly still river to a small island inhabited by bats and vultures, and various small birdies. Around the island we see numerous herons, cranes and kingfishers. Monkeys frolic on the bank and stop to watch us with curiosity. The early morning light slants through the trees and a light mist rises off the water.

We return to the hotel and breakfast on the roof. We then decide just to enjoy the fort and spend an idle day reading and doing very little.

Wednesday we set off early to Delwara. The road is rough and potholed until we meet the main highway to Mumbai (some 550 miles away) and then we speed along. The country is arid and flat, with stumpy trees until we approach Udaipur where the Aravalli hills rise up. We turn off before Udaipur and head further into the hills. The Devi Garh fort is perched in a defensive position guarding one of the three passes south to Udaipur. It was built in the 18th century and converted into a heritage hotel about fifteen years ago. It claims to mix minimalist chic with Rajput heritage, or some such hyperbole. We get showered with rose petals from the gateway on arrival, which is amusing but somehow a bit false after the genuine Rajput hospitality we have enjoyed so far. It is now extremely hot and we decide to defer a walk into the village to see the Jain temples until sunset. However, as the sun approaches the horizon, the sky turns a pink orange shade, the clouds come down, and the winds of hell start lashing the hotel. This is bizarre......

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