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Sunday, 15 March 2009


13th-15th March

Leg 3 – Ranthambore to Bundi
Distance - 124kms

Time – 4 Hours

Average Speed -31km/h

Road – Quiet, new, 2 lane highway followed by deserted single track road breaking up in places

A midday start, but with only 125kms to cover, no problem. Another new road greeted us as we left Ranthambore. It lasted for an hour or so, but then when we reached a village and a junction and the locals pointed us down a dusty track. The track turned into a single lane back road
, which was in poor condition, apart from a strip of tarmac down the middle – great for a bike! After an hour and a half of this, the road improved as we got closer to Bundi.

Situated outside of the Golden Triangle, Bundi receives fewer tourists than Rajasthan’s more famous cities. We wouldn’t have stopped either but for it making a convenient stopover between Ranthambore and Pushkar. We were pleased we did as it turned out to be the prettiest, most charming (for India – we’re not talking the Cotswalds here!) little town, and to quote Lonely Planet, “with narrow Brahmin-blue lanes, assorted with temples, classic havelis and picturesque hillside lake”.

The accommodation wasn’t quite as attractive and we ended up paying over the odds for a comfortable room, rather than accept the dives on offer for what we would normally pay. Pick of the town, the Haveli Katkoun Guesthouse is a good bet if you’re not on too tight a budget.

We spent the one full day we had in town exploring the sights such as the step wells, palace and fort. As we strolled through the back streets, Ady asked a small boy to take a photo of us. Sam thought he was mad and the kid would nick off with it (this is what watching Slum Dog does to you!), but he seemed genuinely interested and before we knew it, children were all clamouring around eager to get involved. Cries of “one photo, one photo” allowed Ady to capture some great poses by the kids. Before we knew it, the parents were being dragged from their houses and the photos turned into proud family portraits! Each time we set off further into the backstreets, the children would come running up behind us, co
llecting more and more friends. We felt like the Pied Piper!

Several hundred photos later and way too many over-excited children to deal with we were eager to make our exit. Some of the cries for “one photo” were starting to turn into “one pen” and “one rupee” and we knew we definitely had to go. Until now they’d been caught up in the fun of the moment and hadn’t asked for a single thing. Not wanting to condone begging, I suppose fair is fair and we’ve come away with some amazing shots. Still, there were just too many kids to start dishing out rupees, pens or sweets and so we scarpered!

For dinner that night we joined a couple we’d met in our guesthouse – Charlotte and Damien – fellow Londoners out on a six month break. In a bid to find somewhere serving “Non-Veg” (meat), we turned our noses up at several nice restaurants before agreeing on a menu sold to us by the owner of a guesthouse. He took us up to his rooftop “restaurant” where we found ourselves on an empty terrace with no other guests. A table and four chairs appeared out of nowhere, swiftly followed by a tablecloth and we were ushered to sit. Not quite what we’d had in mind – perhaps we should have made the effort to find the place in The Times – but the food was certainly home cooked. As the service was by the two (very) young daughters we didn’t feel obliged to tip!

Refreshed after a day away from ridi
ng, the next day we pushed on to Pushkar. It was Sunday at least and the roads were bound to be quiet…

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