A Travellerspoint blog

February 2009


The land of yoga....

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We got a bus from Dharamsala yesterday afternoon, which took us all the way to Pathankot, where we got an overnight train to Rishikesh, the land of yoga! We arrived this morning and have been trying to catch up with the sleep we lost on the trains, as Indians can be rather noisy, when they are awake, the whole train must be too!

Rishikesh is a really pretty town, situated around the banks of the River Ganges, as this is where the Ganges technically starts the water is still pretty clear (a nice green colour), also making Rishikesh a very holy place. P1030918.jpgP1030920.jpgP1030924.jpg There are plenty (too many) white tourists around here who seem to be on a mission to 'find themselves' and in the process end up look like Jesus, not really a good look in the 21st century! There are also plenty of 'holy men', who seem to just beg and pray, a nice life for some!

We went around the temple yesterday afternoon, which had 13 storeys! P1030939.jpg There are various reincarnations of all the main hindu gods, its goes on and on! We climbed all the way to the top, ringing the bells on the way, where we got a stunning vista of the whole of rishikesh, well worth it! P1030935.jpgP1030936.jpg

Today we hired a moped (with helmet) so we could go and explore the further reaches of Rishikesh! P1030940.jpgP1030943.jpgP1030944.jpgP1030951.jpg It was well worth it, we went far and wide on the poor little thing, but at 4 pound for the day we thought it was well worth the investment! We basically rode along the main road south of the town, towards Haridwar (where we are going next) and then back on ourselves to watch the sunset. P1030956.jpg We had a really ace day and will definatly hire a moped again in the future! Needless to say i now look like a beetroot and chris is the colour of a coffee bean (damn that Aston gene!)

Next we are off to Hardiwar for a day, which is further down the ganges! After that we are off back through Delhi, where will we probably write from next! I hope the UK is treating you all well, miss u lots

Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 00:50 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj!

The land of the Dalai Lama!

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Well here we are, we got a bone rattling bus ride from Shimla to Dharamsala, it was about 8 hours long and very windy down hill, but we survived! We got to Dharamsala at about 10pm, and got a taxi from there 4km up the hill to Mcleod Ganj, which is a separate village, and where the Dalai Lama lives! We arrived late at night and pretty much went straight to bed, without really investigating the room (which is really nice by the way). In the morning we got up and had a look at the view from the balcony (slumming it all the way darling), and we have the most fantastic view of the village and the snow capped moutains beyond, truely magical! A stunning view to wakeup to I can tell you! 7P1030856.jpgP1030904.jpg

Yesterday we walked around the village, which is very hilly so we are burning those calories away! Its a really pretty village though, obviously being the residence of his holiness the Dalai Lama, there are a lot of monks and tibeten folk walking around mixed in with Indians, making it a very strange place - stuck between 2 very different cultures, but some how manages to pull it off. Last night we had tibeten food for dinner (which is like our chinese at home but with a spicy twist). We walked to the Dalai Lamas house but it seems he was busy and didnt come out and say hi, which is frankly rude considering how far we have travelled! P1030869.jpg It said on a sign that hes old and ill now so he sees less people than he used to! Either way we had a walk around the temple, which is very modern and not what we were expecting at all, still somehow spiritual as well despite this!P1030864.jpgP1030875.jpg

Today we have just relaxed, as there is very little to do here apart from watch the world go by, which is interesting enough around here! We have a fantastic view of the town and mountains from the rooftop restaurant, so we have been sat up here in the sun (about 26 degrees) this afternoon. Its nice to catch up on yourself every once in a while. We have a busy day tomorrow, we have to get a 4 hour bus to Pathankot, from where we catch an overnight trains to Rishikesh (the home of yoga, and homeland of the ganges), where we will be for a couple of days! Hope everyone is well,

Chris and Alex xxx P1030909.jpg

Posted by chrisalex 02:39 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Delhi and Shimla!!

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We arrived in Delhi fine and checked into hotel, which was rather dire to start with (there was no running hot water and the room was just as bad. Either way we pay 2 pound more and go upgraded to a nicer room with hot water and a TV! We spent the day walking around New Delhi, which is the section the British built and probably the better known part of Delhi. P1030749.jpgP1030752.jpg Its really nice and well preserved, it constitutes the seat of the Indian government now, so at least it is being used unlike so many of our old buildings! We basically walked everywhere for the whole day, it was hot but not as hot as when we were last in Delhi. Instead of using rickshaws we used the underground system in Delhi, which was an interesting experience. It was quite 'quiet' on the way in, but the endless queuing and tokens and pay here, stand here, stand there, got to us in the end and we were glad to resurface in the end. On the way back however we unfortunately decided to go back in rush hour. I don’t think I have ever been so squashed in my entire life, it was just awful. However squashed you think the London underground gets, then times it by 10, I think I held my breath for the whole journey. Needless to say we were glad to get out of the metro system, but we saved lots of money (train ticket cost 8rs, whereas a rickshaw would have been about 60s).

We left Delhi on the fast train to go 400km north to Kaka, which took 4 hours and then changed quickly to the toy train which took us to Shimla up in the mountains, the old British summer capital city. The toy train went very slowly, we covered 100km in around 4 and a half hours, we could have walked faster! P1030785.jpgP1030800.jpg It was so cute though, only 4 seats wide and about 6 carriages! The journey up through the mountains was stunning, the scenery is truly breathtaking! It got gradually colder as well as we retreated further into the mountains, but we arrived here on time into the smallest station ever. The whole of shimla is like nothing else, it looks like a mini English village crossed with Switzerland! P1030815.jpgP1030823.jpgP1030819.jpgP1030820.jpg The hotel looks like a little wooden cabin, unfortunately without heating as it is very cold here at night! The locals think we are strange, as we are wearing summer clothes with trainers - not the best or warmest of looks! But the hotel supplied us with duvets, so we got warmer last night! All the locals seem adapted to the temperatures, wearing normal Indian clothes perhaps with a bobble hat as well! We have another day here to explore, so we may take a day trip or just continue walking around the little streets! After Shimla, we are off to Dharamsala on a 10 hour bus journey, which is going to have stunning scenery, albeit uncomfortable! Hope you are all well

Lots of Love

Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 02:23 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)


Taj Mahal time...

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Got the train fine from Ranthambore Tiger Land, it was actually one time all the way! Unfortunately someone was sat in our seats, so we had to cram onto some spare ones, typical Indians; they won’t budge even if they know they are in your seat! We arrived late to Agra and went straight to bed, and then the next day we took a day trip to Fatehpur Sikri, which is an old abandoned city about an hour’s bus journey from Agra. Was really pretty and in quite good condition, housing the largest gateway in India, apparently! (Over 100ft high). P1030603.jpgP1030596.jpg

After that we got the bus back to Agra to watch the sunset over the Taj Mahal on the other side of the river, which was ace as it the white marble changes colour with the sun! P1030617.jpg After that we had dinner on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, which is right next to the Taj, so it was quite surreal eating dinner in front of the Taj Mahal. This morning we got up early to watch the sunrise over the taj, which was just as magical. P1030661.jpg We managed to get through the security just in time to watch it come up. P1030670.jpgP1030704.jpg We stayed for a couple of hours, which was a rather chilly time to be walking around outside, but English weather, have hardened us to this!

We now have the rest of the afternoon in Agra, where we are going to walk around before our train to Delhi at 7pm tonight. We will be in Delhi for the next 2 days, so we shall write there! Hope everyone is well, much love
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 22:54 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Jaipur and Tiger Safari!

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Hi everyone!

We arrived in jaipur fine on an overnight train with the friendly accompaniment of cockroaches! Chris was really unhelpful in getting rid of them, so we were equally rubbish and just sat there quaking in our boots for the whole journey! Either way, we survived and arrived in Jaipur very early the next morning. Jaipur is very pretty; it’s the pink city and is nestled in a valley with a lake as well! We had a rest when we got there and completed our touristy tasks from midday onwards. We walked around the old city, before scaling a large now disused minaret for the views over the whole city, which was stunning as it was a particularly clear day! P1030357.jpg After that we went to the palace and to see the maharajas larger than life astronomical set, with the worlds largest sun dial (some of your may have seen this on 1 of palins many travel documentaries!). P1030366.jpg P1030373.jpg It was really enjoyable and full of tourists; I appreciated the architecture despite the understanding of the mathematical side being non existent! P1030393.jpg P1030427.jpg

The following afternoon we got the train to Ranthambore National Park, to see tigers! We went on an all day safari yesterday and we managed to see a tiger, albeit through some trees, but a tiger nonetheless! P1030548.jpg The park itself looked like Jurassic Park, and was full of lots of dramatic scenery and various different types of wildlife! Despite the tour being a bit disorganised, we both had a really good day and we shared our jeep with 2 other Brits, so that kept the cynicism rolling! We both caught the sun; I now look like a beetroot, whilst Chris looks like a roasted coffee bean!

We are now off to Agra today to see the Taj Mahal, and then onwards to Delhi and the north!

We shall write again soon, hope everyone is well,

Love Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 00:41 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)


The land of camels and sand!

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This will only be a short one, as it hasnt been long since the last entry. We thought we should update however on the days events so far. We got up far too early this morning (4am....eurgh!) to get train to Jaisalmer which was due to leave at 6am, but ended up leaving at 7.45am (the glory of indian trains eh?). P1030254.jpg The train journey was pretty uneventful, apart from the odd sand dune, but dragged too much towards the end. We got mauled by rickshaw drivers when we got off the train, as the guy who was meant to be picking us up was late (he actually never turned up in the end). After being told to go to various different hotels in town, each of which was better/cheaper/closer than the last one, we ended up choosing the quiet guy in the corner who was just sat there. Turned out to be a good deal, was cheap and he ended up being a bit of a nut job as well, so entertainment all round after the long train journey! P1030256.jpg

Hotel is really nice, its run by an Austrian lady, and as such all the rooms are decorated in an austro- indian style, very odd to say the least! The main exciting news of the day however is that we went on a camel safari this evening. P1030292.jpg P1030296.jpg It was just brilliant, and very cheap as well. We got a jeep out to the desert, where the camels were waiting, then we got an hour or so trekking further into the dunes, where we got off and watched the sun go down. P1030308.jpgP1030331.jpg It was amazing to say the least, then the return journey back to the car and then back to town, all for the bargain price of 500rs (about 7 pounds) !! I managed without screaming to get on and off the camel, chris who has done this before is now a cool customer (although i dont think his camel liked him all that much). Overall was brilliant, definitly an experience to be remembered!

We went up to see the fort this afternoon, its really strange, almost like a massive sand castle. We were going to go around the palace but the prices were too high, it was an extra 3 pounds if we wanted to go in, just because we are white! We are now off on a train to jaipur, the pink city! Then after that we are off to find tigers! We shall write again soon, hope everyone is well!
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 07:22 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)


The blue city....

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We arrived in Jodhpur the night before last, after a long drive from Udiapur where we left at 9am. We visited Kumbalgarh on the way to Jodhpur, which is basically a massive fort in the middle of nowhere perched on a hill 1100 metres above sea level. 9P1030082.jpg Once you climb to the top, you can see the fort wall which stretces 36km into the distance. P1030083.jpg The views were stunning and it was well worth the climb to the top. It was hot, but breezy as well, much like european weather! Needless to say we had our photo taken by an indian family on the way, and various questions about where we were from etc, but mainly staring....P1030088.jpg

From Kumalgargh we took the car (a sardine can on wheels - code named dizzee rascal) another 2 hours to jodhpur through the deserts of Rajasthan. P1030108.jpg We arrived quite late in the evening, so we checked-in, had dinner and went to bed. Yesterday we explored jodhpur some more, and we got a rickshaw all the way up to the Jaswant Thada for 45rs (about 55p), which is the memorial for the Marahajas of Jodhpur. Set on a hill overlooking the city, its really quite serene and leafy. After that we went to Meherangarh (the city fort), which was just massive and really well presented by indian standards! P1030132.jpgP1030145.jpgP1030192.jpg We got an inclusive audioguide as well, so it was educational as well! Half way up we managed to witness a guide putting his turban on! Chris quickly became Steven Spielberg and videoed the event, we'll try and update this at a later date!

We are off to the Umaid Bhawan Palace this afternoon, once it has cooled off a bit. It's the palace where liz hurley got married a few years ago! We need an early night tonight as our next train is at 6am, so we need to be up early in order to get to the station! We are off to Jaisalmer for 1 night, where we hope to embark on a camel safari! Im quite scared of heights, so we shall see how i manage. Chris is an old pro now, so im sure he will dispense tips along the way!

Until next time, lots of love
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 23:45 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (2)


sunny 32 °C
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hey everyone!

have been in Udaipur for the past 2 days, having a really good time! P1030009.jpg The hotel is really nice and we have a balcony and everything, all for the price of 5 quid a night each! We have great views of the lake as well, which is really pretty both day and night. We went up to the monsoon palace last night via rickshaw allll the way up this windy road to the top so u can get amazing views of the city whilst the sunsets, its really beautiful! P1020914.jpg P1020915.jpg We sat up there a while whilst the sun went down, watching all the monkeys and everything! On the way back down the rickshaw didnt even start his engine, we just rolled all the way back down the hill, which was amusing to say the least!

We went to the City Palace today, which is where the maharaja currently lives. P1020992.jpg We get to look around the old part though, which is all white marble with stunning glass work. Everything was really well kept, really bright beautiful colours as well! On the way back to the hotel we stopped at another museum which housed the worlds biggest turban, which was amusment enough for me! P1030038.jpg We are currently been eaten by mozzies in this internet cafe, so i shall away for now! Ill write agen soon, we are both well.

Chris and Alex

Posted by chrisalex 05:13 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Our Arrival...

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firstly - sorry for not writing sooner we have been pretty tired since we landed and needed to get a few things sorted out thats all! We landed fine with no delays, and a 2 hour stop over in helsinki (which was about -6). P1020810.jpg Then we got to mumbai at about 4.30am and it was 22 degrees, so a slight change in temperature! The weather is hottest around midday, where it reaches the mid 30s, so I have to apply liberal amounts of the ol' sun tan lotion there! We have been exploring mumbai by ourselves really as varun is quite busy with work, but he has taken a couple of days off to entertain us a while, which is ace. We spent most of the first afternoon pootling around the gateway of india and the taj hotel and just relaxing really. P1020817.jpgP1020820.jpg We went out for a few drinks last night and didnt get back till late (although varun insists that 3am is very early to get from a night out in mumbai). It was quite quiet as it was midweek thats all, but it suited us fine!

Varuns nephew Ruhan is so cute (hes only 2 months old), and hes quite quiet although when hes hungry, he will let us all know about it....P1020833.jpg

Varun is off to delhi tonight as he has business for a couple of days, which doesnt really affect us as our first train is tomorrow at 3.45pm, so we can relax and prepare for the journey ahead. We are leaving a small case of stuff here in mumbai, which we will probably end up sending back home once we return in a months time! I hope you are all keeping well back home. Chris is fine and sends his love, as do i. Ill try and write as regularly as i can.

Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 23:33 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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