09.12.2009 - 11.12.2009
We stayed at another of Malcolm and Linda's recommendations in Bundi - a much less touristy town than others we've been to. Hadee Rani is a 450 year old house, or Haveli as it's know here, with just 3 rooms so more like a homestay than a guesthouse. It had a nice rooftop restaurant with great views over the town to the palace and fort on top of the hill - we even had a candlelit dinner one night. The roof was off limits for breakfast though - the local monkeys took charge of it and had to be scared off with sticks or even an air rifle, which apparently didn't hurt them - just 'frightened' them! They had to be careful when shooting as the rooftops are in use all the time for morning exercises, hanging out washing, eating, doing homework and especially for kite flying - unfortunately we were there too early for the annual kite festival when everybody joins in.
We spent one day doing some obligatory sightseeing - the old palace, including the Chitrasala, the fort and a stepwell. Stepwells, or baori, are huge ornate wells dug into the ground with steps leading down to the water - used in their heyday for both water and a cool place to gather and socialise in the heat of the summer - the biggest in Bundi is 45 meters deep.
We also had a trip out to a waterfall - 20km along a very bumpy road in a rickshaw. We were a bit disappointed when we arrived to see a couple of small streams heading over a cliff, although it looked a bit more impressive after we crossed the streams on two small bridges and looked over the edge. We walked down to a small temple and then to the bottom of the falls, where the flow looked much more impressive. After a few minutes we saw our rickshaw driver at the top of the cliff waving at us - looking like he wanted us to come back up, even though we hadn't been as long as we'd agreed with him. So we took our time and didn't rush back. When we climbed back up nothing looked at all familiar - there seemed to be a lot less rock and a lot more water than when we started - we could see our driver in the distance waving at us but couldn't work out how to get to him. It transpired that the river was dammed further upstream and that extra water had been released for irrigation, raising the level by a couple of feet. Four boys were obviously amused by our plight, but showed us the best route to get across - including the two bridges which were now underwater - they were really pleased to get a small tip each.