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Day 25, October 26th : Jaipur, "The Pink City" of Rajasthan

The Journey goes on through the Golden Triangle.

sunny 40 °C

The journey goes on after the marvellous experience of the Taj Mahal yesterday in Agra. Words and photo's are not enough, you have to be there for sunset by the River Yamuna. You must go there and see it !

After breakfast it was back on the road with my excellent driver, Sunjay. We drove out of Agra at 8am, and were soon out in the rural countryside on NH11 to Jaipur. The area looked rich in agriculture, small tidy field systems,very green, with people, mainly women, hard at work harvesting. There were many gangs of men waiting for their day's work, school children and student's off to school and college, and again more evidence of very poor people, especially the children, that makes me think how lucky I am.

The NH 11 then just gets better, "tarmac", and all the way to Jaipur, the "Pink City" in the desert area of Rajasthan, 260km away on the second side of the Golden Trianagle.

On route the first stop of the day is at Fatehpursikri, and the palace of the Mungal Emperor, Akbar. This was built in 1569, and is absolutely stunnning. It is full of all sorts of designs and influences including Persian and Turkish. It is one of the finest examples of Mughal architechure in the world, a combination of Hindu and Muslim design, plus many other symbols from Asia and the Silk Road. Constructed in the red sandstone of the area.

My second stop was unexpected, it was at the Keoladeo National Park and Bird Sanctuary at Bharatpur. What a fantastic 'birding' session with my great park ranger and guide Ishwarsing, a Sikh. He was very knowledgable as he took me around the national park, spotting many new birds of India that I had not seen. I was also able to take many photos of birds with my zoom lens on, the battery is still going after 3 weeks ?
I had a fantastic few hours at Keoladeo National Park, you must go there !

Then on to Jaipur, the flat lands suddenly gave rise to a series of red sandstone ridges that the road cut through, until we finally arrived at Jaipur, which was quite different to anywhere else I've seen in India. On the edge of the Rajasthan desert. I had other matters to deal with in Jaipur, God Bless Jane and Tom, my grateful thanks ! Finally arriving at the Hotel Sajjan Niwas, a very old and traditionally styled hotel, my base for the night.

I will add more information and photo's later. I'm still catching up with emails, phone and my travel blog.

Posted by Mike Casey 06:22 Archived in India Tagged landscapes people birds jaipur Comments (0)

Day 13 - Jogindar Nagar to Manali on a Royal Enfield Bullet

A 165km Road Trip through some of the most spectacular scenary in the Himachel Predesh

sunny 28 °C

I arrived in Manali on Day 13 of my trip through India after a 165km ride from JN to Manali. I have been keeping a daily diary of my trip, and have been trying to update my travel blog as I go, but sometimes you are off the radar and cannot get Internet facilities. So I am a bit behind, also I have yet to download photos and video clips, so please be patient with me.

I have had a tremendous time in the Kangra Valley, based at Jogindar Nagar for nine days. It seems much longer. I have made so many new friends here, especially Dr Naresh Singhla who has organised so much for me in the north. Naresh has in the last year set up a new venture in this area of the Himachel Pradesh called Alpine Treks and Trekkers Nest Hotel. He offers a very comfortable hotel and guided trekking in the impressive Dhauladhar Mountains. I highly recommend this stunningly beautiful area to you. Its less busy than other areas of the Himachel Pradesh, it is also a great base for exploring the rest of the Kangra Valley, and the fantastic Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj. Check out the Trekkers Nest website and go there !

I left JN at 10.30am on one of the greatest adventures of my life, a 165km solo motorbike ride through the Kangra and Kullu Valley's into the very heart of the Western Himalayas to Manali. I have had an incredible journey to Mandi along the beas River Valley, riding along high contouring mountain roads. after Mandi, the road climbed high above the dam and reservoir lake at the western end of the Larji Gorge. Then the climb up and ride through the Larji Gorge, absolutley stunning. then when I came out off the gorge, the unexpected, a long road tunnel that took 15 minutes to ride through, then I entered the southern end of the Kullu Valley. The road NH20 was actually very good from Mandi to Nagar, being a military road to the border areas, but after Nagar it varied between tarmac, potholes and unmade,rough and dusty.

I arrived in Manali dusty and a bit bedraggled. My Belsfaff riding jacket did the job over the last three hours. Its been a great adventure today, even Charlie and Ewan would have been impressed. Tomorrow I will have a rest day in Manali, booking onward accommadation at Keylong for four days, my base for exploring the higher passes of the Rohtang (3980m) and Bara Lacha La (4890m), but not onto Leh as planned as the snows have arrived and further progress will not be possible.

I will therefore explore the Chenab Valley, the Chandra Valley and the Bhaga Valley, that radiate out from Keylong, and the area around Manali. The peaks of the Himalayas here rise up to 6500m. They look very impressive from the Kullu Valley. The weather is bright, blue and sunny. Off to explore Manali now.

Posted by Mike Casey 10:40 Archived in India Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises mountains skylines people Comments (1)

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