Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day 11

Left Fort Chanwa at 9.30 this morning after a very pleasant evening, made even better by a good nights rest in our wonderful new room. After an hour or so stopped at a nice rest area for a cup of tea etc, June and several of the other shoppers in our party found a great little shop and many purchaces were made!! Continuing our journey to Ranakpur somewhat later than planned there were the inevitable encounters with cows, ox, tut tuts etc, as our wonderful driver, who looks just like a major in the army with handle bar moustache, attempted to make up time. We arrived at the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur in the early afternoon. This is one of the finest Jain temples in India and is the largest. Built over 50 years and started in 1439. Rising 4 storeys in parts it is 72 yards by 72 yards and has 1440 individually carved marble pillars. The workmanship is quite breathtaking even when you have seen as many temples as we have!! After a long visit we continued to our overnight stay at an old hunting lodge called Rawla Narlai. This is like fort Chanwa but not as large and is hidden away in a remote area at the bottom of a large hill. We were greeted by a relative of the Royal family who owns the building, a very regal gentleman who took one back to the days of the Raj, hardly surprising I guess as we are in Rajasthan!! From here they would head out and hunt tiger, black bear and other animals, all that's left are leopard now apparently.  Meal was ok, but it begins to have a sameness after a while. Lots of vegtables and mutton or chicken. Before the meal there was a show of dance during which we had a massage whilst sitting in our chairs, a very interesting experience.  Early night tonight we have a busy day 12 ahead of us.

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