Hi Folks, I was rather unsure about visiting India this year, and only decided to go for it just over a week or so back. E-visa application went smoothly, although the questions can get a bit wearing by the fourth page. I managed to find a cheapish flight to Mumbai with Kuwait airlines, the drawback was a longer wait in Kuwait (don't tempt me...). Kuwait Airlines were a bit flat compared to the flair of some other middle eastern carriers. I asked the information guy where the "transit lounge" was, but he had no idea. Was easy to find, anyway. Huge bank of phone charging points, none working. Transit Lounge, not one display screen to show departures, and the announcements over the tannoy did not work there either. They redeemed themselves by allowing this famished old man two omelette breakfasts on the flight to Mumbai, and very tasty too. I was akin to the walking wounded by the time we arrived at Mumbai airport, mostly a combination of an early start from home on Wednesday, the late afternoon departure time to Kuwait, and the stopover, so was not looking forward to the visa queues. Guess what! I was the only person to go to the e-visa section, no queue at all! We touched down at midday, and the arrivals hall was empty, just one e-visa window open, and I had to cough discreetly to wake the immigration guy into full operating mode. I guess the main direct flights tend to arrive at night, so that was a happy consequence of the longer stopover. The luggage is x-rayed as you leave the airport, and there is a pre-pay taxi booth immediately to the left as you leave security. I asked there, bloke quoted Rs 790, I said no thanks. There is a second pre-pay booth as you follow the taxi signs, same quote there for A/C car, but Rs 590 for non A/C car, which I accepted. You pay the guy and get a receipt, which has the allocated taxi number on it, and the zone where it is waiting, and go down one floor to ground level to locate the taxi. Yet another pre-pay booth here! The fare was to Lamington Road area, I guess it would be a little more if one was heading to Colaba area. Traffic was pretty bad, and sitting stationary in the hot taxi, it was not long before I regretted my decision not to pay a couple of quid extra for A/C. I bought a couple of bottles of water and some powdered milk earlier, and managed a couple of hours sleep this evening, so now all set for several cups of tea and catch up on emails, etc. Very pleased to be here! Ed. Mooching in Mumbai... 26 Oct 2018 Slow start today, several cups of tea needed to get the system going. I took a taxi from outside the hotel down to the Gateway of India. Although it was not yet too hot, I asked for the a/c to be on, after yesterdays roasting on the way from the airport. The driver asked if I wanted to go to the airport tomorrow, so I asked him the price, Rs 450 quoted. I am not going, but interesting to compare with the airport taxi prices. After a quick look around, I walked up to the Mumbai Museum, set in very nice grounds. I had my bag with all my worldly goods in, so decided to come back another time without that, one needs to leave it in a store, but I did not want to risk that today, given the contents. Interesting visit to Jehangir Art Gallery, I met several of the artists who had work on display. I loved the pictures of Satheesh Kanna, vibrant take on Varanasi. Also met artist Austin Konchira, a former English teacher, we had a good chat about English language being downgraded nowadays in India. and Adish Jain, who had some astonishingly detailed collages on show. Do "google" these artists for more information. I took aarosh's advice and went to Sahakari for lunch, had a very tasty dosa. Just next door there is an amazing old building which houses a shop selling all sorts of household items and many food items. I hesitate to call it a supermarket, because the building itself is so intriguing. I wonder what it was, originally? Many of the old buildings show intriguing aspects of their past glory, I love the mix of architectural styles with everything from Gothic, Edwardian and Art Deco to be seen. A walk through a small part of the "Fort" district and I arrive at VT railway station, as it was called. Very grand design, the booking hall looks like a cathedral more than a train station! Back to the hotel and that is enough for my first day! I have posted a few pics on facebook, I am not too sure how to upload them to Indiamike direct, and I am too tired tonight to find out. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=0a3e44a11e Ed. Mumbai, Saturday 27th October. Sleep pattern not quite right yet, so I felt a bit groggy at the start of my second full day in Mumbai. (Duty free still unopened, so can't blame that...) Decided to pay a visit to the Mumbai Museum, formerly known as Prince of Wales museum. I managed to carry all my worldly goods in my pockets today, so felt happy to leave my bag in the storage room. The guard asked if I had left any passport or valuables in the bag, and I told him no, but a half eaten packet of moong dal is there, and I have counted each one. Made him laugh! The usual thing with prices, Rs.500 for foreigners, much less for Indian folk. I think this is fair enough. One is allowed to carry bottled water into the museum, which was a blessing as it was a pretty hot day, and the museum is mostly not air conditioned. I liked the stone sculptures the best, such skill in carving, and such ancient items. I felt a ray of hope for humanity to think that we had been making such amazingly artistic objects for so long, maybe we can survive the current mess we seem to be creating of the environment we inhabit... The bronze, brass and other metal castings were very interesting too, as well as the pottery. I liked seeing the pottery from the earliest periods particularly. Several galleries are given over to displaying the collections of the Tata families. While these are undoubtedly valuable, they seem rather out of place in an Indian museum, featuring European "old masters" paintings and Japanese items. I understand that museums can collect objects from across the world, not least the British, often at gunpoint... I guess I was just selfishly hoping for more Indian stuff. Time for lunch, and where else but back to the Sahakari, just nearby the museum. Rather busier today than yesterday, someone said they thought there was a partial holiday yesterday, so less folk about? Seated straight away, and joined by an interesting local guy who was on his lunch break, and so he was fretting about getting served quickly, only a half hour for lunch! I saw several people eating a thali type meal, so just pointed to that instead of scanning the menu today. Very tasty again. I had a walk in the Colaba area, crowded and touristy on a Saturday, and rather too hot to walk far. Taxi back to the hotel, going along the seafront this time, rather than through the city. One gets a fine view of all the tower blocks along the shoreline! Just had dinner at my hotel, now time for a cup of tea, or two... Ed More Mooching on Sunday 28th Oct. Had another nice walk around today. Having only just realized, thanks to arrosh, that my train departs from Mumbai Central, which I have never used before, I thought I would check it out in preparation for leaving tomorrow. By coincidence, my hotel is only a few minutes away from Central... I guess the taxi driver tomorrow won't be too pleased. Much smaller than CSTM, but has trains and stuff, so that should be all ok. I refer you to the Noel Coward song: "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun"... Mumbai is much quieter on a Sunday, I watched several hundred cricketers slogging it out on the "Oval" maidan. One can see India loves cricket! I liked the buildings on the other side of the road, rather faded art deco styling No prizes for guessing where I had lunch today... It took two attempts to get cash from a bank ATM, but I can now pay my hotel bill tomorrow. Ed. Delhi. Tuesday 30th October. I arrived in Delhi this morning, after an overnight train journey from Mumbai. It feels a lot cooler here, but only by comparison to Mumbai, it is not exactly chilly. Waiting to board the Rajdhani at Mumbai Central. The trolley is delivering dinners for the journey. We get a free bottle of water per passenger too! This is what the inside of my 2A/C (second class air conditioned) coach looks like. To the right hand side there are two berths one above the other which lie in the direction of travel, the lower seat also converts to a bed, and to the left there are 4 berths across the coach, two lower and two above. The right hand side berths have individual curtains to close, the ones with 4 together just have large floor to ceiling curtains to close off the corridor, but all 4 berths are open to each other. Clean packaged sheets and a towel are provided for each passenger. On Rajdhani trains meals are included. First up is a bottle of water, then a snack of samosa, and a few biscuit or popcorn type items with a cup of tea. One gets a "tea kit", which contains a tea bag, sugar and powdered milk. The attendant brings a flask of hot water and a paper cup. A coffee kit is also available. I chose the "veg" option for my main meal, which consisted of rice, chapatti, dal, a paneer (cheese) curry, and some curd. There was a pudding dish and a dry vegetable dish which I did not try. I enjoyed the meal very much. Sadly the train trip was slightly spoilt for me by having a very "entitled" couple opposite, who harassed the train staff with complaints and seemed not to be aware that there were other people on the train at all! What type of moron decides to watch a video on their phone at full volume at 4am? Anyway, you get the picture. A repeat of the "tea kit" and a couple of digestive biscuits arrive around 6.30am, and the main breakfast, in my case an omelette, at about 7.15am. The train toilets were fine, (tourists always seem to want to know...) and I found these two notices quite amusing... Not sure what constitutes an emergency, possibly a stubborn "floater"? I did not get much sleep on the train, so have just been relaxing at the hotel today, it is noticeably cooler here today. One small tip, if you are looking for the pre-pay taxi or auto booth at New Delhi train station, there are some brand new ones being constructed, but meanwhile go to the office near the exit to the taxi car park. Ed. Delhi. Weds 31st October I always have quite mixed feelings when I see the date 31st October... For many years I ran a shop which hired out and sold all manner of party costumes, in the UK this is known as a "fancy dress shop". Halloween was the start of our busy season, and I was usually exhausted and very glad to shut the doors after the last witch, wizard or ghost had left the shop. Feel quite relaxed this year, not a spook in sight in Delhi. I slept well last night, and after several cups of tea I ventured out this morning for a look around. My hotel is in Paharganj, a crowded area of side streets, small shops and stalls, quite close to New Delhi train station. Walking down the Main Bazaar road, I found an area with lots of fruit stalls, and indeed much else for sale. I am the Egg Man... I spotted several stalls selling these strange "fruits", not at all sure what they are? Lots of people buying long sugar canes with the leaves still attached, funny to see these being carried by passenger in a cycle rickshaw. I assume they are something to celebrate Diwali, rather than to consume. Walking on I came to Connaught Place, and ran into the usual touts of course. No problem, but I felt sorry for one or two tourists who seemed to think having a polite chat with touts was the way to get rid of them. A mock up of an American car, advertising "Detroit" shop... and a selfi opportunity for me. I wanted to exchange some currency, which I did, not a great rate though, **** Brexit! Quite a "smoggy" atmosphere today, not great for sightseeing. Thanks to all for the recommended places to eat! Ed. Thursday 1/11/2018 Delhi. I slept pretty well again, a softer mattress than many in Indian hotel rooms! Several cups of tea, and I decided to have a little explore of the Chandni Chowk area today. I made my way onto D.B. Gupta road and used the overpass to walk towards Ajmeri gate. I am used to seeing traffic jams in India, but it was a new experience to look down on them! A strange experience while walking on the overpass, I noticed an auto with several guys in stopped behind me. I walked on and they seemed to be keeping pace with me, always a little behind. I turned and took an obvious photo of them, and they drove off. Odd indeed. Keep Left? Bullox... Sadly, there is not much made of the Ajmeri gate itself. This area is very busy with dozens of small shops and workshops, most are concerned with metalworking. Many similar places stocking coils of wire, metal rods in different sizes and profiles, sheet metal, and of course tools of all shapes and sizes too. I liked seeing the tools and raw materials, the area is a real "boys playground"! The most noticeable thing is the hum and buzz of commerce, small or large, everywhere seemed to be doing brisk business, with at least one person always head down, busy writing out a chitty or two! As one progresses along the street, the businesses change, now we have door furniture, hinges, bolts, fasteners, knockers. This is a key maker's kit, he shapes by hand with files and a lifetime of experience... Now again it is plumbing goods, sinks, and multi coloured plastic piping. If you want colourful pipes, this fellow is your man! Paper goods up next, wedding stationery, cards, wrapping paper, all is here! I soon see the large mosque, Jama Masjid appear, and head towards it. There are several full size coaches near the entrance, and a steady stream of western tourists from them, as well as other independent tourists like myself. The coaches block the traffic, which adds to the general chaos in the area. Folk are charged Rs300 to carry their phones into the mosque, there is no storage offered. The gatekeeper today was most unpleasant, searching everyone's pockets! Nice little earner for someone, methinks. Me? nah I didn't bother going inside, felt the aggressive gatekeeper spoiled the mood for me. A further walk through the small back lanes and I came across a "fancy dress walla" sign! (My former business was a fancy dress shop...) Lots of little shops selling all sorts of interesting items. Then onto the main Chandni Chowk road that runs up as far as the Red Fort. Busy with pedestrians all seeking a shopping bargain, as well as folk looking for a quick snack or two. A Sikh Gurdwara is located here too. Ed. Chennai. Sunday 4/11/2018 I left Delhi on Friday from H.Nizamuddin train station. Auto from near my hotel, the cost was Rs.200. Traffic was quite heavy, but I was feeling relaxed, plenty of time in hand. The usual skirmishes with the porters, bloke wanted Rs.300 to carry my case to the train! I guess some people must pay it...? A couple of students chatted to me as I waited on the pedestrian overbridge, I find it best not to descend to the platform too early, in case of platform alterations. I was initially disappointed to have a side berth allocated, but as the berth above mine was not taken, I was able to leave the seats folded down in "bed mode" for the whole trip. Actually it was quite nice to be able to draw the curtains across and have a doze at any time I liked! The catering staff on this train are from the "meals on wheels" franchise, and the food offerings were similar to their other trains... sort of adequate, but to be honest, the content is a bit thin, compared to other catering franchises. We left on time, and I was surprised to note just how many "derelict" factory type buildings were visible at several places. I don't know if India has also suffered perhaps from changing manufacturing practices, but given the way that resources seem to be recycled well in India, it seems odd to see so many empty and decaying buildings. I slept well on the train, and was surprised to be woken from a deep sleep by the arrival of "early morning tea" at 6.30am. Water purification booths sprang up at several stations, but many have closed due to bottled water being sold. A full day of watching the passing scenery, lots of crops growing, I think rice and cotton amongst others. I got down from the train at a couple of stations, we stopped for 10 or 15 minutes a few times. Small herds of animals being minded by youngsters, goats and water buffalo, cows. Monkeys playing about on some station roofs. With the 9pm arrival time into Chennai, I was unsure if we would be given an evening meal, but a dinner tray arrived at about 7pm. Something new for me, some sort of lentil spheres in a sauce, plus the usual rice, chapattis, dal, and some curd. One thing about this train was the absence of any vendors coming through, so no chai, crisps, snacks, were offered. Food is included in the fare on Rajdhani trains, and we did get a couple of 1 litre water bottles, and some set tea and snacks on trays from the catering folk, all included. My coach was second from the rear of the train, it felt quite a long walk past the twenty or so coaches to reach the station exit! One blessing, no stairs here, so no porter wrangles either. Pre pay auto to my hotel is Rs.99, I think he made that fare up... I had booked an hotel in Chennai that I was content with previously, but this time they were having a few issues that I was not happy with, so after one night there, I transferred to New Woodlands Hotel, just nearby. Feel chuffed with my room now, it even has a small balcony. I went to a nearby shop for a few essentials: Wait Rose. I guess if we have dozens of restaurants called Taj Mahal, they can pinch a few supermarket names I have arranged to meet up with Nick tomorrow, so looking forward to that! Ed. Chennai. 5/11/18. A Bigger Bang. Tonight is Guy Fawkes night in the UK, and the start of Diwali celebrations in Chennai, both involve fireworks and loud explosions! A slow start to my day, nice breakfast of tea, and then more tea, eventually felt awake. I bought some washing powder yesterday from "Wait Rose", so started on my dhobi walla tasks this morning, washing out a couple of shirts and trousers. Despite the claims on the "Tide" brand packaging, it did not remove all the food stains from my shirt fronts. Task today, buy myself a "bib". I have used hotel laundry services in the past, and received back clothing which has been flayed into threadbare rags. Albeit without any food stains! I like Mark Twain's memories of India, where he describes women trying to break rocks along the rivers by hitting them with wet clothing. Nick-H arrives at lunchtime and after a chat to catch up since last year, we adjourn to the hotel restaurant for some food. A nice meal in a busy environment. We had thought to visit a busy shopping area called Parrys, just to have a wander around, similar to my last visit. Knowing my liking of train travel, Nick suggests we try the local suburban train line instead of an auto. I think we were both amazed to be charged only Rs.5 each, that is 5 pence, for our tickets. Nick generously offered to pay... Travelling in mid afternoon, we found the train to be fine, I enjoyed standing near the open doors as we whizzed along. I can imagine it being a bit less fun in the busy crush hours! Alighting at Chennai Beach station, we had a look around the streets nearby. Pumps and Bearings seemed popular products on display in this area. This chap very keen to be photographed! Perhaps being the start of Diwali, we noticed many of the small shops and businesses had closed early, although Nick was able to buy a couple of light bulbs that he needed, as well as drooling over some heavy machinery that he coveted, but has no space for. As with most Indian cities, lots of interesting buildings, at least to my mind, if one raises ones eyes above the ground floor level. Old Armenian church, you never know what you may find in the side streets. Quite a hot and slightly humid afternoon, we were both happy to take an auto back to the hotel, rather than walk back to the train station. Nick used his mobile to drum up an Ola auto and it soon arrived. Nice to be able to switch on the a/c when we got back, both feeling a bit over heated. A final chat, and Nick drove home, I hope the traffic was not too heavy... Quite a good view of the evening fireworks from my hotel balcony, no trouble hearing the loud bangs, either. Thanks again for meeting up, Nick. Next time you visit the UK, please feel welcome to come to Nottingham, there must be one or two machinery or tool shops there to visit too! Ed. Chennai. 7/11/18 Yesterday I made at least two faux pas... I walked to the Kapaleswar Temple, only to find it closed. There were one or two other western tourists looking a bit disappointed too, so I wasn't the only numpty in town. I probably should have remembered that they close in the afternoons, (between 12.30 and 4pm) but it slipped my mind, like so much else these days... Lots of spent bangers and crackers lying by the roadside, they seem to contain a lot of old newspaper which remains after they explode. As I walked back, an auto pulled up and a guy said that as it was Diwali, they were giving out gifts of food, from a take away and delivery service... "would I do them the honour of accepting some food"? I didn't really want to take it, but it seemed churlish to refuse a gift, so I took it. He then said it is "mutton biriyani", so after they had gone, I gave it to an old woman who was sat begging... I hope she was not vegetarian... Second error was a visit to "Wait Rose" again. I was feeling a bit hot and bothered by now, so after grabbing a few bottles of water and a few snacks I got stuck behind some slow people at the checkout. I thought I had paid with a Rs. 500 note, but the cashier said it was a Rs.200, and gave me change accordingly. I think in retrospect that I probably was mistaken, although at the time I put up a strong argument in my favour. I made do with my change from Rs.200, needless to say I won't be welcome in that store again. The 6th of November seems to have been the main night for the fireworks in this area, lots of attractive rockets, as well as the car alarm activating bangs and blasts! I tried again at the Kapaleswar Temple today, and had better luck. I remembered that last year, I had to pay a small fee to go in. This year there was a huge queue at the ticket office. I eventually got to the front and offered my Rs.50 and the bloke looked surprised. Apparently this was a special queue for attending one of the Hindu puja ceremonies. Bloke said nothing to pay today to just walk around. Very busy with lots of folk carrying baskets and plates of offerings, a huge queue in one place... Several cows are kept within the temple, and many of the temple statues are of cows. They seem well fed, with folk bringing them fodder also. A late lunch back at the hotel, and a relaxing afternoon. I have to check out at noon tomorrow, but my train does not leave 'till 9pm, so I hope I can find somewhere air conditioned to while away the afternoon and early evening. Next stop, Bikaner, Rajasthan! Ed. Bikaner Bound... 11/11/2018 Bikaner Bound… 11/11/2018 I solved the issue of where to spend my afternoon in comfort, by means of a later check out from the hotel. They let me stay ‘till 6pm, albeit after paying extra. Very odd auto driver outside the hotel. I negotiated a reasonable fare to go to the Chennai Central station, and we set off. We had only gone a few hundred meters when he shouts across to another auto driver and asks the way! Asking the way took place at least another 10 times before we got there. I am guessing Central Station ought to be a fairly well known spot to most drivers? Maybe it was his first day on the job… Still early for my train, I located the A/C lounge at the station. One pays to use it, I think it was Rs30 for the first hour, and then Rs20 for subsequent hours, per person. The lounge was “ok”, it was a lot cooler inside than out, but there were many flies enjoying the cool environment too. A large group of eastern folk were already there when I arrived, they seemed to have made friends with an Indian guy and his family. Lots of bananas and other food dishes being offered by the Indian family. I got the impression that the locals were maybe tour guides or hotel owners, they had no luggage, and left after numerous photos were taken by both sides. I wandered out onto the platform area, and soon saw my train being shunted in. My lower berth was another side one, I am quite happy with this allocation nowadays. Nobody on the upper bunk, so I secured my luggage and made up my bed. A surprise offer of “veg biriyani” at 10pm for Rs60 was accepted, although I was not very hungry. I had already bought bananas and biscuits just in case, at the station. I don’t think the “trade descriptions act” applies in India, I think my meal was better described as “rice biriyani”, given the tiny amount of veg. Soon fell asleep, only to be awakened by the occupant of the upper bunk arriving at some point during the night. The aisles in the trains are not over wide, and passengers tend to accidentally drag open the side berth curtains as they squeeze past with luggage, so not quite a sound night’s sleep… I had paid for my bananas with the last of my small notes, so the morning chai vendor had to pass me by, unable to change my Rs500 note for a Rs10 cup of masala chai. I was saved in the end by the breakfast guy coming through, I bought his “bread cutlets” offer and so got change also for the next chai bloke. When the next guy came through taking orders for lunch, I said “veg please”, he replied that veg was the only option on this train. Was surprised by that, but it explained why there was no “bread omelette” option for breakfast! These two staples of the railway breakfasts arrive in a foil container with either the veg cutlets or the omelette, together with two slices of plain white bread and a sachet of sauce in each container. There are some traditional Indian style breakfasts too. On this train the ANUVRAT EXPRESS , the breakfasts were Rs40 only. I felt quite at peace with the world as we rolled northwards towards Rajasthan, although I had caught a heavy cold, and began coughing and sneezing frequently. Lots of green crops growing, I saw several places where cotton was being picked. Further north many of the field were brown, either recently harvested, or just sown with fresh seeds. I ate all the meals offered by the train crew, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The meals were more substantial than those on the Rajasthani train, containing thicker dal, and more vegetables, etc. The food arrives on a tray with foil containers of rice, dal, and one or two veg curry items, together with a few chapatis. Always a sachet of hot pickle too! Eating from the foil containers, it is rather like a “take away” at home, although it is usual to decant the take away food onto plates of course. The lunches and dinners were priced at Rs.110 each, so pretty good value. I don’t think one would put on any weight if one ate only these meals, but decent enough for the price. The chai walla came through frequently and did good business from me, as did the hot tomato soup walla. I found the hot drinks helped my cold. The chap in the bunk above mine had claim to sit on my berth during the day, but he found somewhere else, so I was able to leave the berth in “sleeping” mode, rather than converting back to two chairs. I am not averse to an afternoon doze, so that was handy. I was given a greenish knobbly fruit by the upper bunk guy, it was only after closer inspection that I realised it was an orange. I am used to oranges having quite smooth skins, so the very lumpy skin confused me, as did the colour. Very similar to regular oranges inside, although rather dryer, not quite as juicy as one expected. I commented a while back about a woman watching videos on her phone at 4am at full volume, well it seems that everyone with a phone feels it is ok to play videos and music at all times on a train! I understand that “personal space” is not really a strong Indian concept, so I guess the projecting of ones personal music is just an extension of that… I was surprised to find we were on time arriving into Bikaner, considering the number of quite lengthy halts during the journey, we were held up several times for between 10 and 30 minutes. Salt is produced in this area... One very noticeable aspect of this route is the sheer amount of track improvements taking place, extra tracks, electrification, underpasses replacing level crossings, etc. Together with the large number of freight trains, I imagine this would be a good time to invest in Indian railways, if I were not against privatisation that is! After two days on the train, I felt I deserved a beer or three... An early night and a visit to Bikaner Fort in the morning... Bikaner Visit Nov. 2018. Bikaner visit, Nov 2018. I first visited Bikaner in 1983. We were en-route to Jaisalmere from Amritsar. The first leg of that journey was to Sri Ganga Nager by bus from Amritsar, we were surrounded by a huge crowd at Sri Ganga Nager, seemingly tourists did not turn up there very often. I can’t remember how we travelled from there to Bikaner next day, but I think by train? I seem to remember we stayed in a hotel somewhere near the station, but it is all rather hazy now. We did visit the camel breeding centre at that time, and saw a new born baby camel, but strangely we did not visit the fort, so I am making up for that again this visit. My digs now in Bikaner are only 200 meters from the train station, a former posh walled residence of some Rajasthan royalty, the family still live there, but also provide guest accommodation nowadays. The walls all display faded sepia photos and certificates of dignitaries and sporting events from back in the day… They serve beer, so together with the sound of the horns from the trains nearby, what is not to like? Apart from the fort and camel breeding centre, the other place that puts Bikaner on the tourist map is the “Rat Temple”. Folk feed and revere the rats here, believing that they may be reincarnations of their former relatives. Given that the rats run free, and one must remove footwear, I decided not to visit. Not my thing at all. Weather here is very hot and dry, so apart from visiting the fort, I was content to just put my feet up and relax with some delicious home cooked food, a few beers, and a good book to read. The fort itself is massive, and in good repair. Many rooms with ornate decoration, painted wooden doors, and furniture and personal possessions of the late Maharaja. I will let a few photos of the fort do the talking… While I was there, an international gathering of artists were painting in the grounds of the fort. You may see a couple of pics here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=2f0d7b33ca Ed.