Chittorgarh – day 44

A big day for us in several ways!!! Firstly, we have summoned the energy to leave Udaipur for a day trip to continue our collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites by visiting Chittorgarh Fort. Secondly, after 44 days of travelling, we have crossed the £1,000 mark of our combined spendature (accommodation, food, travel, everything!). Not entirely sure why this is of importance (to me, especially!!) but it feels like an important milestone. Thirdly, Jayne got annoyed for only the third time during our entire trip but it was with such theatrical flouncing it was truly brilliant!!
Anyway, set an alarm clock to decide whether we had the strength/want to leave the confines of our room and decided that we needed to give it a go! Up, showered, dressed and at the local bus stand by 9.15am to work out how we were going to make the 2 hour journey to Chittorgarh. Managed, by pure luck it would seem, to get tickets for the 10am bus which was blissfully a Volvo Mercedes (meaning it was actually somehow decent – it even had air conditioning and ‘free’ bottles of water!!). Jayne read her book whilst I gave myself pins and needles in my arm by sleeping in the weirdest position possible. Once we arrived, we were surrounded by tuktuk drivers, all desperate to drive us around the main sights of the fort. Certainly the most hounded we’ve been in a long time but also by the least persistent – most of them had left us by the time we got to the end of the bus! Wanted to stretch our legs and knowing that the first gate was less than 1 km away, we decided to start walking. Found the initial fort gate (with a minor detour through some back streets, thinking we’d found a short cut but ended up doubling back on ourselves) and began walking along the defence walls up to the top.  Each gate was deserted and we went exploring in each one whilst people stared at us from the back of tuktuks. Not sure if it was cause they thought we were crazy for walking or because they were surprised to see white tourists (we only saw one other white couple the entire day). The fort is covered in semi-restored buildings and palaces so we wandered around, looking at different things and trying not to over do it.  Near the entrance was a beautiful Jain Temple which was surprisingly empty. There were signs near the door asking women not to enter if they were on their period which is the first time we’ve seen this. The carvings on the outside of the temple were particularly beautiful especially the ones that had sandstone running through them.   Went to a different site that had a few different buildings in it – mainly a very tall tower that you could climb. We went in but after seeing people squeezing up and down the narrow staircase with no barriers we decided against going to the top.  The site itself was very busy and, going back to my previous comment about not being used to tourists, we were inundated with requests for photos and people taking photos of us when they think we’re not looking (FYI – Indian people are the least discreet people we’ve met at taking sneaky photos!!). Think it was around the fifteenth man taking a ‘sneaky’ photo of me when Jayne lost her temper and stormed over to him demanding to have his phone. Turns out his was taking video footage and Jayne tried to delete it whilst telling him that tourists didn’t like having their photos taken. Not sure English was his strong point and since he was smiling so much so she waved her camera in his face saying ‘No photos. No videos. I don’t take photos of you!’. He clearly thought she was about to punch him in the face with her cannon SLR! It probably doesn’t sound it but it was incredibly funny to watch and it was nice to know that Jayne was feeling better enough to defend me against the locals. Surprisingly, we didn’t have anymore trouble for the rest of the day!!     Went to the water palace before getting a tuktuk back to the bus stand. Having had such a lovely bus trip this morning, we were keen to get a similar bus on the way back. Unfortunately, we were back on a regular local bus although we can’t complain – we didn’t have to wait long, we got 2 seats and it cost hardly anything! A 9-year old girl sat in front of us and, for the majority of the 3 hours back to Udaipur, we played thumb wars, rock-paper-scissors and taught her some words in English. We asked her how many brothers she had and she started with one and then 2 minutes late, she had 4 – she had forgotten 3 of them!! One of her brothers wanted to practise his English with me so I chatted to him whilst Jayne got cheated out of a game of rock-paper-scissors. The brother had a bad stutter and you could see how grateful his parents were that I was happy to wait until he was ready to talk. When they got off at their stop, half the bus got off – their family was massive!!

Got a tuktuk back to the old town and went to our favourite restaurant – cheap and nice! Jayne asked for her vegetable byriani to be spicy and it has actually burnt my lips!! I’m such a lightweight with spices! Headed back to the guest house to plan the next few days and collapsed into bed!

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