Cycling in India, Sticks, Stones and Daylight Robbery

Before leaving Bundi the hotel manager, who had already been brilliant and very helpful, offered to phone a hotel in Bijaipur that was listed in the guide book, he also negotiated us a good price. Now we knew that it was to far to cycle in one day so he also helped with this problem as well, the upshot was that we’d cycle 40 miles or so to Bijolia then catch a bus to Bassi and cycle hey final 16 miles to the hotel, the details in hand, reservations made and our grateful thanks conveyed we set off, a final glance back at Bundi in the sunrise gave us all the inspiration we needed….

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Fabulous sight in the morning light !!
The road to Bijolia was a bit more interesting than the flat roads we’d been on so far and even had a good climb to get our teeth into…..

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A chai sop along the way with inquisitive kids added a bit of colour to our day…

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And soon enough we were in Bijolia, a quick snack, directions for the bus stop to Bassi and we were on our way, 3k on we found the stop and waited a few minutes for the bus, it duly arrived and with a little help our bikes and gear were soon stored and we were off !!
A bus ride that perhaps would have taken us half a day took only about an hour and a half and left us in Bassi, a few questions to determine our direction and we were on our way to Castle Bijaipur, 16 miles later as we crested a small hill it came into sight and as we followed the directions we soon arrived at the Castle….

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I was already impressed and things only got better…

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And better….

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And even better…

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We arrived early enough to enjoy the pool for an hour and relax with a cold beer πŸ˜‰
Our room, wow, the best on the trip so far….

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And the rest of the place equally beautiful….

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Truly a wonderful place, owned by Maharaja Rao Saheb Narendra Singh Ji, himself a keen cyclist, he told us that the castle has been in his family for thirteen generations. He also seems to know how to run a hotel, the staff were attentive, the food excellent, especially the breakfast….

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What a spread, the best on he trip so far !!
As we only had a short ride from Bijaipur to Chittorgarh in the morning we decided not to check out until midday, this way we could indulge in the luxury for a while longer, it also meant I got to finish a blog and upload photos to FB πŸ˜‰
Just as we were getting the bikes ready to leave Rao Saheb came to see us off….

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Very nice of him, he also pointed us in the right direction for Chittorgarh and on a nice back road !!
The route was only about two and a half hours and nice gentle rolling hills with good views were the order of the day…

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Our chai stop at half way turned into the usual scrum when the local school found out we were there, soon enough we were surrounded by kids…..

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Being chased down the road by our new fan club πŸ˜‰
One final hill with extensive views was all that stood between us and a flat ride into Chittorgarh…..

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As I said good views, shortly after reaching the bottom we crossed the highway on the road into Chittorgarh and as you look up and left its dominated by one of the largest forts in India….

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Although its huge, it’s really only a 16k wall round a flat rock and with nothing much to see other than the view we’d already seen we decided to pass on this one and chill out instead !!
We found a cheap hotel…

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And checked into our basic room….

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A far cry from Castle Bijaipur πŸ˜‰
Still it served its purpose and we spent some time wandering around, eating street food, drinking chai and chatting to people, back to the hotel early, bikes locked and off to bed, we knew that the ride to Udaipur would be a long day !!
It was to be our longest ride yet, 85 miles in total, all on a national highway so good road, fairly flat but with not much to see, although this did catch my eye….

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I tried to count how many people in this tiny truck and lost count πŸ˜‰
We often though we were on the wrong road as we seemed to be the only ones on it….

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A really weird feeling !!
Finally we reached Udaipur and followed the maze of narrow streets to Jagdish Temple, we knew this was hotel central, it didn’t take us long to find a suitable hotel, first thing is it safe for our bikes, second is price, third is it clean !! Ours suited the bill and it was also very friendly….

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Oh and did I mention the pool πŸ˜‰
The receptionist was good enough to care of bike safety (he did a good job) ! He also gave us a map and basic directions to some of the sights plus the expected amount we should pay for things , top man !!
After settling in we headed out for a wander round the hotels local area, what we really wanted was proper Indian food, not the bland tourist rubbish on offer. We asked a tuc tuc driver where to eat and he suggested Ronjis out by Chetak Circle, we employed him to take us, he waited, we ate and it was the best Thali I’ve had so far. They just kept filling up the bowls and the taste was brilliant, cheap to 300 rupees for us both !!
Now for those that don’t know, Udaipur is famous for the Bond film Octopusssy, if you watch it you will see many of Udaipurs well known places in it, to commemorate this fame several of the hotels show Octopussy every single night, we did not go and see it πŸ˜‰
We concentrated our efforts on the Palace, a very large complex containing a hotel (guest only) a museum and the Palace, we set off and brought tickets to the Palace and a boat trip on the lake !!
It took about three hours to get round the palace and museum, it would be difficult to tell you every thing about it so instead here are some pictures……

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It’s a fabulous building and the photos really don’t do it justice ( the full album is on FB) !!
Next up came the boat trip round the lake, we only wanted to go so we could get closer to the Lake Palace, it’s a very posh hotel, you can’t go unless your a resident,not even for drinks !!
Here are some photos taken from our boat ride…

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And finally, The Lake Palace Hotel……

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We didn’t realise at the time that the boat dropped you at Jagmandir Island, it’s actually a seven bedroom hotel and spa but also has bars and restaurants open to the public, we found the prices prohibitive but we enjoyed looking around…..

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A very beautiful place, even more so at night when it’s all lit up, sorry but my cameras not that good !!
The last thing to see was the Worlds Largest Turban, a bit of fun really, a museum close to our hotel has what it claims is the Worlds Largest Turban and a collection of models made from polystyrene, well we had to go see…,

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Like I said, a bit of fun, after fitting all that into one day we were pooped and with a 90 plus k ride uphill to Kumbhalgarh we ate local on a rooftop restaurant and watched the nightly firework show before retiring to bed πŸ˜‰
We set of early in the morning with a carefully drawn map from our friendly hotel receptionist, 7.00am is a good time to get out of a big city and we were soon headed towards Ishwal Bridge, we did need to check a few times but everyone seemed to know it and soon enough we found the turn of for Haldighati….

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We knew then we were definitely heading the right way, straight road now all the way to Kerwhala and follow the signs to the Fort. The route was generous with its scenery and also with its people, one tuc tuc driver stopped further up the road specially to take our photo for us….

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Very kind of him πŸ˜‰
The ride was good, as I said we had good scenery which always help pass the time but also means you need to stop and take photos…

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Pretty soon we’d found Kerwhala and followed the signs up hill to the Fort, about 6 miles or so, we saw it long before we got there though…..

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We were still a couple of miles away by road but it certainly made an impressive sight !!
I’ll tell you about it in my next blog, until then take care πŸ˜‰
JC

Oh yes, I need to explain the title, you see with everything in life there are good things and bad things, fortunately the good things and more importantly the good people out weigh the bad, so when some horrible little oik decided to swing a stick at me as I went past on my bike and on the same day another kid spat at me and finally on the same day another kid threw a stone at me I would dearly have loved to give them all a blood good hiding but I can’t and no matter how angry I was at there deeds I’m grateful that this certainly isn’t the norm out here, it’s very much an isolated case and I can definitely say that we have had more generosity and help than we could ever have hoped for. So no broken bones πŸ˜‰
As for the daylight robbery, we are tourists, we expect to pay more but we know how much more but one particular street cafe owner literally doubled his prices for us and then some, we were caught at the back of the cafe with several locals, we had no option but to pay but we made it crystal clear what we though of him !! Again this isn’t always the norm but it has made us a bit more wary and from now on we’ll ask the price before hand !!
Don’t let any of this put you of from coming, India is beautiful and the vast majority of its people are warm, friendly and helpful πŸ˜‰
Best wishes
JC

About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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4 Responses to Cycling in India, Sticks, Stones and Daylight Robbery

  1. Jean says:

    How did you find such gorgeous accommodations?

    • John Chevis says:

      Sometimes we get lucky but we also carry the Lonely Planet India guide book and it has a few recommendations, sometimes it’s nice to spoil ourselves, although we do sleep in some fairly basic accommodation as well. Our main priority is the safety of the bikes, cleanliness and price πŸ˜‰

  2. Jude Newton says:

    It all sounds & looks absolutely fantatic. I’m so jealous. πŸ˜‰ x

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