India (5) – Jaipur to Bharatpur
We left the hustle and bustle of Jaipur this morning, to head for Bharatpur and the nearby Koladeo national park. After the first long journey we had, this ride was a bit of a let down, as we travelled the whole way along a dual carriageway. That being said, no dual carriageway as we know them at home. The cars may have been driving 100km/h, but there were still camel carts, scooters carrying 3 or 4 people (the ladies always sitting side-saddle), and vans with people hanging off the back of them. There were also a fair few occasions where we had oncoming traffic on our side of the central reservation… all part of the course here.
Along the way we stopped at a very colourful temple. Like others we have seen, the decoration is only on the outside, with a very simple interior… the only adornments being about 80 strip lights on the ceiling. After a short stop to take photographs of the temple, and a camel which happened to be stopped too, we continued on our way.
Bharatpur is a small town, which I guess no-one would visit if it weren’t for the renowned Koladeo park – apparently the best bird park in India, and formerly a favourite hunting spot of the maharajas. Our hotel is therefore a bit of a surprise. Two huge buildings, each worthy of a maharaja and all his friends. Since we had nothing planned for the afternoon, we decided to relax in our deliciously airconditioned room, did some reading and had a bit of a snooze. This is the first night where I actually have a real bed, rather than a camp-bed. Looking forward to it!
Before taking a pre-prandial swim, we took some photos of the hotel in the fading afternoon light, and the more adventurous/daft of us (ie. me), took a paddle in the ornamental water display to try and get a good reflection shot. Unfortunately, it didn’t really come off, thanks to the ripples I created. After finishing with photography, we all took a dip, in the official swimming pool this time. Very refreshing after the heat of the day.
Dinner and lunch are buffet-style. The food was pleasant enough, but a little disappointing… Indian dishes, but with very little spicing, clearly dumbed-down for sensitive tourist taste buds. For most of the meal, we were the only guests in the dining room, meaning that we were the sole focus of attention for all the waiters in the vicinity. A little overwhelming. Service here is very good, but usually a little overeager.