Hey friends, Gracie and Lulu here!
Recently both of our Moms were invited to India for a little meet up with their friend, Kirsty Larmour, and her two kids. Since our Moms had never been to India before, both were very excited and accepted the invitation. We travelled all over the state of Rajasthan including the cities of Mandawa, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur and Delhi. We took lots of photos and it was so much fun.
Mandawa was the first stop on our little tour through India. It was a 7-hour drive from Deli where we flew into, (which was Delhi) so you can imagine how we all felt (well no, I can’t speak for other people, so you know how I felt). Just gotten off of the plane then into the car. “Don’t worry it’s only 7 hours” the parents told us. Uh, only 7 HOURS? And when we complained they said, “When we were kids we’d drive 12 hours and stay at caravan parks… We wouldn’t even go overseas, blah, blah, blah” well times are changing guys and it’s not like how it used to be 35 years ago. People fly when they go on holidays.
We finally arrived at our hotel. The rooms may not have been fantastic but the outside was so beautiful! It was covered in breathtaking Haveli style painting filled with detail and colour. We each had our own room but sadly they weren’t next to each other, but at least we were going to be out the whole day!
Since the drive was 7 hours we arrived pretty late so we all went to bed. The next morning my mum and I woke up super early (time difference) so we decided to go for a walk. We saw the locals going about their business and we also saw a lot of cows. Cows are very sacred animals to Indian people. They let their cows roam the streets and nobody is allowed to hurt them. If someone hurts a cow, they can end up in jail.
After breakfast, we got a guide who took us around to some “Haveli” style buildings. The Haveli buildings are old Indian houses with intricate paintings covering the walls. These Haveli houses were more like mansions, for the rich people to live in. They were so beautiful. A little later that day we walked to dinner from our hotel and we had a herd or men following us. It was quite scary. Maybe 30 – 40 men all in a clump just following us. We eventually managed to lose them XD (thank goodness!)
On our final morning in Mandawa we woke up and got into our mini bus, and drove another 7 hours to Jodhpur.
On the drive to Jodhpur, we stopped at a temple that worshipped Hanuman, the Indian god of monkeys. The temple was beautiful. The people worshipped Hanuman by giving him coconuts as an offering. We went in one hot, sweaty room where a large group of people were worshipping. The main man looked at us and signaled for us to come up to him so he could put the dot on our forehead. Not sure what to do, I quickly shook my head ‘no’ — and walked out. When we FINALLY arrived at Jodhpur (I’m not very fond of long drives), we walked into the homestay and the owner told us about the puppy they have. The kids were so excited when the owner took out their little one-month old dachshund named Lily. She was the cutest thing! After playing with Lily for some time, she sadly had to go back inside, so Lulu and I sat down and drew until dinner. Dinner was excellent, at a pizza place around the corner, but of course the tomato sauce was spicy, tomato sauce. Yes, seriously. We quickly learned that EVERY FOOD is spicy in India, even when you say, “no spicy”.
On our second day in Jodphur, we had an early start with a delicious breakfast and headed to the old town market. The market was not as pushy as some other places in India, but that is probably because of our very early start XD . We saw lots of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, toys, animals and much more. I learned that the dogs run up and bark at you but don’t actually attack. The locals just walked up and waved the dogs away so that we could easily walk through.
After we were done with the market, we went up to the famous Fort in Jodhpur, built in the 1400s. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but also scorching hot.
The next morning, we off on another seven-hour mini-bus drive to our next home stay in Jodhpur. This home stay was a little more of what I was expecting in India. We slept in small huts, or, shacks made of a clay material with dried leaves on the roof. Inside was a bed and a bathroom — not much but it was an amazing stay. And a bonus, they had a CALF, which was super adorable! The family was so kind. Everyone lives in one house so there were definitely a lot of people. When we got there, it was time for a late dinner and bed (seven hours of driving doesn’t leave us much to do).
After a good night’s sleep and delicious breakfast we got into the jeep for a safari and village tour. Our first stop was to a family’s house to see the traditional opium welcome celebration. We all sat around on benches with the man showing us how they do the presentation. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a wooden contraption, which strains the opium. He chipped off a little piece of opium from a larger chunk and mixed it together in water. Once the opium dissolved he strained it three times through a small strainer in the wooden contraption. He told us that the respectful thing to do is drink three small handfuls, which he did. After that he showed us how to put on a turban and let Lulu and my brother try it on.
Next stop on our tour, the Shepherd Village! I loved, loved, loved the Shepherd Village! We arrived and a young girl immediately welcome us into her house to see it. There was the mom, grandma, and three kids. Not even five minutes later, we had an audience of about 20 kids watching us, trying to communicate with us, showing us hand games, telling us there names. I WAS EVEN OFFERED TO HOLD SOMEONES BABY XD !!! Lulu found baby goats on the other side of a fence and we asked if we could pet them — AND WE COULD!!! Oh my gosh, they were adorable! We could pick them up and they didn’t move at all, besides a nibble at your shirt every once and a while. Lulu bent down for one moment to get a picture and was attacked by little nibbles. It was time to go when the sun began to set.
The next day was a visit to the village festival at the temple! The festival was super crowded and it seemed that everybody wanted to get a look at us. At first I couldn’t really tell, just glances at us here and there. But at one point we went over to look at camel and a huge crowd of people came over with us, except, these people weren’t looking at the camel, they were all looking at US XD !!
The next day we were off on another seven-hour drive to Udaipur!
To read about the rest of our trip to India please read Incredible India | Part Two!