The rains have come in a big way to Rajisthan, driving the temperature down dramatically and turning the streets that were already as dirty as any on the planet into a slurry of mud, muck, feces and trash.
We’ve been off our bikes now for over a week—longer than we were on them—and I’m anxious to get moving again. But riding off into a torrential rainfall is no fun, especially when there is no warm and inviting destination at the other end of the ride.
To recap, Rick and I rode nearly 500 miles from Amritsar in Punjab State to Pushkar in Rajisthan, timing our arrival for the annual camel festival. Pushkar was thriving, with streets crowded and pilgrims arriving by the busload.
We enjoyed the atmosphere and festivities for several days, then took a night bus to Agra in order to see the Taj Mahal, leaving our bikes and much of our gear in the care of the owner of the Rainbow hotel.
I’ve written a bit about our visit to the Taj in another post. Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal, is a frenetic city that held little appeal for me beyond the major tourist sights, so we gave it a day and a night and then headed off to Jaipur, the “Pink City”.
Jaipur was a walled city that has long-since outgrown the confines of it’s original enclosure. In the late 1800′s it was painted entirely pink in a welcoming gesture to the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) on his visit. Much of the pink paint remains today (indeed, it may be the original coat of paint), and Jaipur is an interesting place for a couple-day visit.
Unfortunately it rained all day, but we still enjoyed walking around photographing marble artisans and textile merchants. We almost had a chance to be extras in a Bollywood movie, but the rain was delaying their shoot schedule and we likely would have had to stay over another day to participate.
So it was onto the bus again, this time headed back to Pushkar to be reunited with our bikes and our gear.
Unfortunately I picked up a similar respiratory infection to the one that plagued Rick last week and have spent a good amount of time coughing and wheezing. In Jaipur, I stopped at a pharmacy and bought antibiotics for 142 rupees (less than $4) and hopefully I will be bouncing back in a day or so.
Now that the festival is over in Pushkar and the rain has come, this place is a ghost-town compared to a week ago. I would estimate the crowd at roughly 5% of what it was over the weekend, maybe less. That’s worse than Tahoe after Labor Day!
From here we are going to ride to Udaipur, a distance of approximately 200 miles. Depending upon conditions, that will take 3 or 4 days and should involve some decent climbing. Upaipur is billed as India’s ‘most romantic city’–something of dubious value to a couple of guys traveling by bicycle—but should be compelling.