With the news that India has cancelled all visas and Great Rail Journeys has had to cancel 30 trips to India we feel very lucky to have enjoyed our trip.
After a short drive from our hotel to the airport we left Delhi and flew home with Virgin Atlantic on an A330. The flight was around 9 hours.
We said goodbye to our fellow travellers and drove home.
It was a fantastic holiday, and we feel very lucky to have had the experience, especially as travel to India and other countries has recently become so difficult.
I hope you have enjoyed my posts. If you haven’t done so already, check out the rest of the blog – there are lots of holiday pics on there.
Our next holiday is a short break on the Isle of Man in May.
Delhi – again
Today we left Jaipur on the final leg of our journey, to Delhi and then home.
It was a 5 hour journey, made easier because it is Holi day and many businesses are closed and there is no public transport, so the roads were quieter. We saw several marches on the route.
We have had an amazing time as you can see. Now we have to prepare for our flight tomorrow.
Jaipur – Day 2 Part 2
Two posts in one day!
Had to post again after a very exciting evening! As an added extra our guide, Raj, arranged for us to visit a retired Brigadier, whose family home, Khatlu Haveli, is now a hotel. It was featured in the TV programme ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’. He showed us around and told a few stories then took us up to the roof terrace, for gin and tonics and snacks. From there we could watch the kite flying which is a nightly event.
But the most exciting part of the evening was the journey there and back in tuk-tuks. It was slightly scary but exhilarating as we bombed through the city in convoy, amongst cars, motorbikes, coaches and even, at one point, elephants. All the locals were getting very excited as they were preparing for Holi, by building bonfires in the streets. The journey back was like Wacky Races, with the passengers in each tuk-tuk cheering each other on. This might have had something to do with the amount of alcohol consumed!
We would have loved to stay out until the bonfires were lit but we had to be back at our hotel for dinner.
Tomorrow we head back to Delhi.
Jaipur – Day 2
We set off in our coach to the Amber Fort. On the way we stopped to take photos of the ‘Palace of the Winds’ and we saw some snake charmers.
At the Amber Fort we swapped our comfortable coach for jeeps to take us up to the fort. Many tourists make the trip by elephant.
We set off to Ranthambore National Park at 6.30am for our dawn safari. It was very cold to start with but soon warmed up. We saw antelope, crocodiles, lots of birds, wild boar and monkeys. The monkeys were shouting a warning and the guide thought a leopard must be near but we didn’t see one. We heard jackals.
Back at Sawai Vilas we had a late breakfast and then set off in our coach to Jaipur. We travelled for about 4 hours passing colourful towns and villages.
We arrived in Jaipur and had a look round the Pink City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Observatory.
We arrived at our hotel in time for drinks and dinner.
Tomorrow we will drive to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort.
We had a relaxing morning, swimming in the pool and relaxing on the terrace.
After lunch we set off in 2 Canters (20 seater safari vehicles) for our safari drive through Ranthambore National Park. It was an amazing experience! The park is very close to our hotel. We had a 3 hour drive around the park.
We saw plenty of deer, many species of birds, monkeys and crocodiles. It was nearly time to leave when suddenly jeeps and Canters began racing to a spot by the lake. We could see a tiger in the distance!
Amazingly the tiger walked right up to us!
She continued past the vehicles and joined her cub.
For a while it was very quiet except for the click of camera shutters! We came back very happy.
Tomorrow we have another chance to see the tigers on a dawn safari ride!
We have been so lucky!
We left Agra in our coach headed for Ranthambore National Park. It was a very long journey but we broke it up by first visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the ghost city. It was built by the third Mughal emperor, in the 16th Century, when he moved from Agra, to be near a holy man who blessed him with 3 sons. When the holy man died he returned to Agra and the walled city was abandoned.
We continued our journey, stopping for lunch in Bharatpur.
The Sawai Vilas are amazing. We even have an outdoor shower!
Tomorrow we have a relaxing morning followed by a safari!
We said goodbye for now, to Delhi and travelled by coach and train to Agra. The train was the Gatimaan Express, India’s fastest train. We visited Agra Fort (The Red Fort) before checking in to our hotel.
After lunch we visited the Taj Mahal, only minutes away from our hotel by coach. The Taj Mahal is a marble mausoleum built on the south bank of the Yamuna River. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahen to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. They met as teenagers at an event at Agra Fort.
Our visit over we went back to the hotel for dinner, as the sun began to set, exhausted but exhilarated.
Tomorrow – Ranthambore National Park!
Delhi – Wednesday
Today we had a guided sightseeing tour of Delhi, starting in New Delhi, with its wide, tree lined avenues, beautifully kept roundabouts and the impressive architecture of the government buildings and embassies.
This was followed by a visit to the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. We had to leave our shoes outside.
Following this we took a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi. It was chaotic, and slightly nerve wracking but fascinating.
Safely back on the coach, we drove to see Gandhi’s memorial sight where an eternal flame burns.
We then visited Humayun’s Tomb. He was the second Mughal Emperor. It was built for him, by his wife, in 1569. Set in beautiful, symmetrical gardens, it was an oasis of calm.
Tired and hungry by now, we stopped at a hand knotted carpet emporium for a demonstration of carpet making and lunch! We had the best Samosas in all of India, according to our guide, Raj.
Finally, and most poignantly, we visited the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. We were able to visit the room in which he stayed, and follow in his final footsteps.
It has been a packed day, full of contrasts, a truly amazing experience.
Tomorrow we leave Delhi (for now) to travel by train to Agra.