India Diary - 22 September 2001

Sightseeing! Today made me glad that I've stuck with Rajasthan. I saw the magnificent fort from close up (I can also see it from the restaurant at the top of my hotel), the very relaxing Jaswant Thanda (memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II), the Umaid Bhawan Palace and finally the gardens in Mandore, where I indulged in a little game of cricket with the local school kids and teachers. 1 wicket for 1 over with only 4 runs wasn't a bad bowling average I thought, although I was out for a duck directly afterwards! (I have to say that I rather un-sportingly called for a re-adudication by the third umpire, there was no way that I was out!).

The guys that I spoke of yesterday belong to an organisation called 'Giants' which has the aim of speading a message of peace, goodwill and ecological protection (I think!). One of the gentlemen was very animated throughout the discussions and very friendly - to the extent that, I had been offered a room in his house, accomodation in his brother's place in Jaiselmere and use of his car and driver for sightseeing, all before the night was out! He also offered to show me 'mehndi' - Indian hand painting being done. This turned out to be a competition at a local school and was extremely interesting. He then took me on a tour of the handicraft factory that he owned, and mentioned that he was looking to expand his export business into the UK and was looking for a good, honest, simple man to look after the marketing side of the operations there... I don't know about all that, but the furniture is excellent (the hand-carved, solid stuff that's so much in vogue at the moment), so I know where I'll be going when I want to buy stuff for my next house!

I'm off to Jaislemere on the overnight train this evening to see what that place is like.

All things considered, I really like Jodhpur and am glad that I have to come back (the route works out like that). I would recommend staying at the Govind hotel if you come here - the place is excellent, and the guy who runs it is a star.

To tomorrow...

Created by Dan Leigh 22/9/01