Odayam bliss

Great to be back on one if my favourite beaches. So hot this year. Water us divine. Walked almost to Edava today on the beach but had to turn back as was hot hot hot.

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Varkala slow down

I’m finally slowing down after the hectic sightseeing up north. A lot has changed in Varkala since last year. A lot less tourists because of currency issues. Seemingly everyone is tussling over rooms in Sri Lanka. I’m back at my hotel near the ashram where I meditate and practise yoga twice a day..Such bliss. Sunsets are as exquisite as ever.

Shakil’s speedy tuc tuc view of Jaipur

I had one day really to get around Jaipur because I arrived late in the evening. Had no accommodation sorted but it was fine. Kukki from Bundi had called a friend in Jaipur and he recommended a couple of spots n Banni Park close to Pink City and the Bazaar. You’d need at least another day so you could spend a good bit of time up at the Amer Fort and Palace. I love Jaipur. This cool tuc tuc guy called Shakil picked me up at the bus station and drove me everywhere I wanted to go from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon. He is the business. If you go to Jaipur, call him and ask him to pick you up at your hotel. The best way to see Jaipur is from the back of his dilapidated tuc tuc! I’ll add his number ASAP. Ill also put in info on hotels and restaurants when I get a chance. Shakil’s English isn’t great but he gets by having never gone to school at all. You’ll figure it out on the phone but he’ll understand the name and address of your hotel or put the concierge on to him. In person then, you can figure out your itinerary. He’s a great guy. He took me to the Monkey Temple, Amer Fort, the Elephant Village, to a henna woman, Albert City Museum, some amazing craft showrooms and for great breakfasts of samosa and chai each morning for breakfast and to tourist restaurants with great WiFi for lunch. He even waited for me at the bus stop and took me to buy oranges and bananas for the journey. Call Shakil (photographed here) in Jaipur 91.7062957104

On the road with Prem: Udaipur to Kumbhalgar

I met my driver Prem (photographed) at 8.45am and he took me to see Kumbhalgar fort, (2nd to The Great Wall of China)

 the jungle safari and we shared a lovely lunch and tea later with his buddies. He was a wonderful host and lifted my spirits after the nasty sleepless night on main street in the awful Hotel Ishwara Palace dive (do not go anywhere on main street) Anyway the day trip was spectacular and Kumbhalgar Fort has been one of my top must sees so far. 

Kukki’s Tour in Bundi

Kukki senior and his son Kukki junior or Bunty run really cool day trips out to the beautiful countryside. We set off at 10.30am and were back just in time for my bus to Jaipur (4.5 hrs at 160 rupees) not bad. The day trip for three of us was 3000 rupee and worth every bit. We saw lots of Bird species, an amazing waterfall, cave paintings, camels, monkeys, a temple, met some gorgeous local kids and Kukki took us for Sampras and chai on the way back. Great day out. I’ll add pics later.

Kumbhalghar Fort: 2 hour drive from Udaipur

Pictures are taking forever to upload but you can see pics and read about this place online. It’s been one of my highlights so far in India. A fortress second only to the Great Wall of China. It is breathtaking. A must see.No buses or trains go there so hire a driver. Apparently, from Udaipur you should be able to get there and back for 1500 rupees. I paid 2000 but Prem my driver was excellent and had perfect English. He took me to the fort, organised a safari (3,500 rupee is standard but we got it for 3,200) The cost of travelling solo! Sadly I think the lunch we shared was what gave me the jippy tum tum so be careful dining there. Perhaps you can go to one of the swish spots or the new Kumbhalgar Safari Camp place looks fab. You could dine there or even splash out and rent one of the cottages for a mere 6,500 rupee. They are on Tripadvisor and are part of Truly India hotel chain..They have a swimming pool so it might be a lively treat night. Pack your togs!