Sue & Steve’s Indian Travelogue
I am sitting in our hotel room in Delhi. We are on the 18th floor and the views are spectacular although Sue is a little hesitant about looking out of the window!!! We arrived safely and landed 5 mins early after a fairly non-eventful flight. As usual the airline food was poor but the red wine was acceptable. The hotel is fantastic in every respect, cannot be faulted. The hockey world cup is in Delhi and all the teams and official are staying here. They have taken 80 rooms and you would not believe the security! Delhi is everything we had hoped for and just watching the locals going about their daily life is an experience not to be forgotten. The weather is brilliant, sunny and 32C. We have visited various mosques, minarets, the Red Fort, Gandhi's cremation site and memorial and markets. Old Delhi and New Delhi are quite different as you can imagine. Sue has managed to fit in some shopping and we have had some fun bartering over the price of pashminas! Tonight we are going to eat in one of the hotel restaurants. It is on the 20th floor and Sue will sit with her back to the window! Nobody has had any Delhi belly and we are taking heed of all the advice that was given to us. Tomorrow we have an internal flight to Udaipur, which is called "The Venice of the East”.
The India experience just gets better and better.
We had our evening meal in New Delhi and as I said it was on the twentieth floor of our hotel. Not sure if I told you that the hotel had glass lifts that looked down on the interior of the hotel. Just about managed to get poor Sue to the restaurant and our brave little soldier decided she would stay for the meal if our table was as far away from the window as possible - well done Sue! The restaurant was, would you believe it Chinese! Saying that it was an excellent Chinese meal and all four of us were happy with our choices.
We had a leisurely start to Sunday as we did not have to leave until 11.30. Today was our first internal flight that was to take us to Udaipur. It has been noted that the Indians are extremely security conscious and after our passports were checked seven times and luggage labels stamped and checked we left Delhi fifteen minutes late. It was only a fifty minute flight but they managed to serve us a hot meal. Everybody agreed the food was a vast improvement on Virgin’s effort. The landing was a bit hairy and bumpy and somebody heard the Captain ask which one was the brake. We arrive in bright sunshine and 33C. Typical Indian efficiency as our coach was waiting to take us to our hotel. But we could not leave as the baggage handlers had damaged somebody’s case. Problem was that they wanted to keep case and repair it. The loan case had a combination lock that none of the Indian officials knew the combination so one of them patiently worked his way through different combinations but gave up after 20 minutes. They eventually found a suitable replacement bag!!
We drive through the town and first impressions are this is going to be some experience! The driving standard and rules are unbelievable but more of that later. If you think driving in Paris or London is bad it is a walk in the park to this. On arrival at hotel we all experience the “wow” factor. This could easily be a secret hideaway for celebrities. The gardens occupy several acres and are stunning. A beautiful swimming pool with fantastic views and the hotel and staff are immaculate. We have free time for rest of day and a drink and sunbed are in order. Sue enjoys a swim in the idyllic surroundings before settling down to her drink and siesta.
Our candlelit evening meal is eaten outside under the stars. It is lovely and warm and the wine and food is superb. I think Sue is getting romantic!! One of those meals you do not want to end. And now to bed!!!
The following day is a 9.00 start with a visit to the Royal Palace. On our arrival a welcome of men and women in traditional dress throwing rose petals. Horses are lavishly decorated and there is music from a band that sound and look like the Indian contingent from Aberdeen! We are a little naïve to think it was laid on for us - it is all being filmed for a tourist promotion film!! We have our own guide and Sue has fallen in love again. She would like to take him home to do the ironing and empty the dishwasher as well as anything else she might think of!!! Anyway the ugly fellow gives us a super tour with full history. We return to our hotel for lunch and drinks. The early evening is to be a boat ride on Lake Pichola. The setting is beautiful viewing the Royal Palace with the sunset. The ugly fellow accompanies us and Sue said again it was romantic - should I be worried? We land on Pleasure Island (no, not the Florida Disney one!) and we have time for a glass of wine. This island was for the pleasure of the King in times gone past and is now a hotel. It was also used a location for the James Bond film Octopussey. All aboard for our return and a bar snack in the hotel. It is an early start so we decide to retire early, well that was the intention but you know how it is when you start having a drink and a laugh. We wished we had retired early at 5 the next morning!!!
We leave hotel in body if not in mind and proceed to the airport for our flight to Jaipur. Only a 45 minute flight and no in-flight service. The coach awaits to take us to our new hotel near the Ramthambore National Park. The coach journey is 4 hours and it compares to the “Back to the Future” Disney ride.
I will now give you my observations about driving in India. The drivers here must have a divine belief in incarnation. There are very strict rules on who has precedence and right of way. You give way to (in descending order) to cows, elephants, heavy trucks and buses, official cars, camels, jeeps, private cars, scooters and motor cycles, pigs, rickshaws, goats, bicycles, dogs and last of all pedestrians. To slow down is to falter, to brake is to fail and to stop is defeat. The horn is used all the time and has some communication system that seems to use the following guidelines. Short blasts are urgent for clearing animals, rickshaws and pedestrians from your path. Long blasts are desperation and seem to imply that you are going too fast to stop and unless the oncoming vehicle slows down we are all going to die. Flashing of headlights is obligatory and signifies that you are not going to slow down and are coming straight through. All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action are left to the last possible moment. If the vehicle does not have seat belts, none of them do, then all the occupants wear a garland of marigolds. As far as right of way is concerned the system appears simple. Traffic entering a road from the left has priority, so does traffic from the right and also traffic from the centre. Simple. All traffic occupies the centre of the road in case diversion tactics have to be applied. Last of all it would appear that overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle overtakes every other moving vehicle irrespective if it has overtaken you. Overtaking is only undertaken in suitable locations, such as in the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the middle of villages/city centres. No more than two inches is allowed between overtaking vehicles or in the case of pedestrians one inch. I am not joking, every word of this is true and in some cases worse!!!
I am now getting tired but I will just say that we did see a tiger and had an emotional visit to a village near Ranthambore.
We arrive at Ranthanbore after a four and half hour coach journey but it passes quickly because of the sights on the way. It is difficult to find words that describe the scenes we are witnessing. The only word that comes to mind is Biblical. It is like the Old Testament come to life! The strange thing is that the people appear to be happy with their lot and only demand a wave from us. In the rural areas there is little begging unlike the city where the begging is more demanding and professional.
On our arrival at our hotel, the Ranthanbore Regency , and have a quick buffet lunch before our first safari. We all climb aboard a vehicle I think was called a Canta. It is a 20 seater open top truck and handles that you need to hold on to. Off we go with no promise of a tiger. After 4 hours of being bumped and thrown about travelling across difficult terrain the promise was fulfilled - no tiger!!! Back to hotel for a snifter by the pool. The hotel I would call 3* compared to the 5* we have been accustomed to. Not to worry, it has a bar, a bed, a shower and surprisingly the food is very good indeed.
We are up at 05.30 the next morning to leave for the park at 06.15. For the first hour it is a little chilly but soon warms up when we see the sun. At about 07.30 our guide asks us all to be quiet. He then tells us that a tiger is close as the monkeys are sending warning calls. We wait in anticipation and you can feel the tension! Suddenly there she is. A magnificent tigress having a wash and a morning drink in a water hole. A fantastic sight, she is a one very big cat. We wait and she leaves the water hole and walks off in front of us about 20 metres away. It soon becomes obvious she is stalking some deer in the distance. We watch the scene all feeling a bit like David Attenborough!! We did not witness the actual kill as she killed a large deer behind the tall tiger grass. Still we watched her for about 15 - 20 minutes and everybody got the photos they had hoped for. So it was back to the hotel for breakfast.
We did have another safari that afternoon but no big cats but plenty of other wildlife such as many different birds, monkeys, deer, and crocodile. It was back to the hotel for our evening meal and some local entertainment provided by two little dancing children.
The next morning we left at 09.00 and before our coach trip back to Jaipur we were to visit a village that was about 30 minutes away. We had a guide that gave us instructions not to give money or gifts to any of the children. I do not think anyone was prepared for what we were about to see. On our arrival we were greeted by a lot of children who were in school uniform. They were so pleased to see us and all they wanted was their photograph taken! They would stand to attention and put on their best smile and when you showed them their image on the digital camera they were thrilled to bits. It is unbelievable that people still live in conditions like this. They had nothing and again it was Biblical. The animals wandered all over the area with no restrictions and the men folk did nothing all day (except sit and talk) whilst the women carried out all the manual work. We were told that it costs 50 rupees, about 75 pence, to send a child to Government school for one year!!! Truly this was a moving experience.
The journey from Ranthambore to Jaipur takes about 6 hours. The return journey takes longer due to cows in road, coach breaks down in a small village where we are the best entertainment that the locals have had for some considerable time!! The top radiator hose was replaced with alarming efficiency and we were on our way again. We then encountered road works you cannot imagine. Probably 20 miles of dusty, rocky road and this is a main road!!! We cannot travel much faster than 10 miles an hour and I would guess that this will not be top dressed in my lifetime. One reason I say this is that the only people we seen working were 4 women breaking up the rocks with hammers!!!
We arrive in Jaipur very tired but pleased to see our hotel is back to 5*. We receive a welcome with musicians (?), rose petals and a drink. Jaipur is going to give us some more experiences and sights I can see as this is a big city.
After an excellent Indian meal and a bottle of vino we are ready for bed (four poster!) and our tour of Jaipur tomorrow.
They say that travel broadens the mind and that is certainly true if you travel to India. I am realising that I am running out of adjectives to describe this country. But, saying that you could use all the adjectives you know and they would all describe this country.
Today we have a tour of the city of Jaipur and its attractions. Jaipur is known as the “Pink City”. It is called this because of the colour of the buildings and nothing at all to do with Elton John!
We are taken to the Amber Fort through the usual confusion and organised chaos. It is staggering that there are not more accidents, perhaps we can learn something and take no notice of traffic signs and just drive where and how you want. It is a regular sight to see 5 people on a motor cycle, husband, wife and three children. That is bad enough but the only one that will have crash helmet is the man!!! Although this is a large city there is little difference in living standards.
The Fort overlooks the city but to get there we have a short journey in a jeep as the bus is unable to negotiate the sharp hairpin bends. I was “lucky” enough to sit in the front and maybe I should have put my brown trousers on!!! There are also many elephants taking tourists to the Fort but the queue is very long so we have opted for the jeep. “Hell Drivers” comes to mind. Our driver is a cheerful little fellow, smiling and head bobbing all the way. It is a small concern that he only looks about 12 years old.
The Fort is spectacular and in remarkable condition for a 16th century building. After a comprehensive and informative tour given by a knowledgeable guide (hope there is not questions later!) we head off to lunch. We have lunch in the Raj Palace Hotel. The contrast from the hotel and the street outside is light years apart. Once again we are surrounded by very smart staff and lunch is superb. It would have been easy to sit here all afternoon as the temperature is now 36C. We set off to the City Palace Museum which contains some fine embroidery on the Royal wardrobe collection - “All The King’s Clothes”!
We are now going to an Observatory that was built in 1870. The architecture still looks today very futuristic and it has the biggest sundial in the world accurate to twenty seconds Sue is looking very interested but I guess she is wondering where the shops are! After the tour where we are in the hot sunshine having our astronomy and astrology lesson we head back to the hotel. Once more all the staff plus decorated elephant and musicians are there to welcome our safe return.
We decide we deserve a vodka or gin and tonic to talk over the day’s thoughts and memories. For our evening meal we choose to have a very good bar meal and a few dinks. An excellent night, which leaves Sue and Jill with tears of laughter rolling down their cheeks and contemplating a change of underwear.
Today we board our coach that is going to take us to Agra. On route we are to stop at Fatehpur Sikri. Most people take the opportunity to catch up on some sleep trying to erase all thought of a collision with a cow. We make a comfort stop at what is advertised as a motel. I am sure it will be when they finish it! We have a light lunch and have some entertainment in a nearby shop. Brian is in his element bargaining for little Luke’s T-shirts. I went for a walk around the gardens and saw something that will satin the memory and in a lot of respects sums up India. There was a large lawn that had not seen rain for 18 months so believe me the last thing it needed was cutting. A man in a turban and tunic stood behind a 16” push mower complete with grass box. A 2 metre piece of rope was attached to the grass box and the mower is pulled along by two women in traditional dress by means of a piece of wood attached to the rope. It is the middle of the day , 35C and sunny!!! All back to the coach to stop at Fatehpur Sikh. Here the local trinket salesmen are quite aggressive and Sue feels uncomfortable. It is only a short walk to the entrance and at least they are not begging and trying to earn a few rupees. The Palace is once again beautiful and we are reminded of the Forbidden City in China. Fatehpur Sikri is a deserted red sandstone city built by Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace during the 16th century.
We return to hotel for dinner. We retire early as it is our big day tomorrow - The Taj Mahal!!
Sorry for the abrupt end to the last postcard but I was overcome with fatigue and alcohol! We had an early start ahead and it was, for me, to be the highlight of the Indian experience.
First of all you will remember that we were taken to a small village outside Ranthambore and that we were moved by the conditions these people had to endure. We wanted to do something tangible for the children and the guide promised us that if we made a donation he would ensure it went to the children. He could and would not give them the money but they did want some school bags. Sometimes in life you have to trust somebody and we gave the guide some money and kept our fingers crossed. Since we have left Ranthambore I have received an email with photos from the guide. The photos show the children in school with their new bags! Our faith in human nature is enhanced and we feel really good.
Right, today then is the big day - the Taj Mahal. We are wondering if it will meet our expectations and if what we have heard from other tourists is true. We are like a lot of children having to eat our breakfast before we can open our “big present” on Christmas day!
We set off with our Agra guide and we have nicknamed him the Cisco Kid as he is wearing a cowboy hat and walks with a swagger. It is only a short journey swerving through the livestock. We are surprised by the number of tourists, nowhere near as many as we expected. Also we had been told to expect aggressive beggars. and vendors. They are noticeable by their absence, perhaps they are not up yet!! It only takes us 5 minutes to pass through the entrance via a body search etc. into a outer garden area. We stand whilst Cisco gives us a history of the monument we cannot wait to see!! The Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his wife Mumtay Mahal. It is often referred to as the most extravagant monument to love ever built Somebody once said that the Taj Mahal is a tear of love on the cheek of eternity. I am beginning to well up! The monument took 22 years to build and 20000 people were involved in the construction. The anticipation is becoming unbearable and eventually Cisco asks us to move forward through the gardens. We take a right turn and there through an archway is the Taj Mahal. Believe me, it exceeded all expectations and it was absolutely breath taking. I think we all had a “tear of love on our cheeks”! We pass through the archway and I am speechless and that does not happen often! The sheer beauty of this building is impossible to describe.
Cisco has arranged a professional photographer to take photos on the “Princess Diane bench” - you will probably remember the famous photograph. All couples have their photograph taken, how could you refuse? We also have a group photo taken I front of the Taj. Again we cannot believe that we do not have to wait to occupy our place on the bench. Photos duly taken we move towards the Taj with Cisco who tells us more about the materials used and carvings etc. We go inside to see the tombs of the Emperor and his wife and now we have a couple of free hours to wander around on our own. We all stare in awe and increasing wonder. The whole site , the Taj Mahal, adjacent mosque, Emperor’s guest house and gardens are beautifully maintained and I am impressed. The ambience is enhanced by ladies in colourful saris.
All too soon we make our way back to the entrance archway to meet the rest of the group and collect our photographs. Sue and myself are extremely pleased with our photos and we have no problem with giving our happy little photographer his money. After a visit to the washrooms and application of biological spray we make our way back to the coach. In an effort to cut down pollution around the Heritage site we have to board an electric bus to take us back to the coach. A few vendors selling trinkets, bangles, T-shirts and water but they are no problem. The last few hours have been magical and will remain in the memory for ever.
Before lunch we are taken to an embroidery and jewellery centre (could be dangerous!). The ground floor is a museum to an art form called needle painting, We are shown some very beautiful pieces that had taken one man between 15 - 20 years to complete. So far so good, this is a museum and there is nothing for sale. Men can be seen visibly seating and hiding their credit cards as we go to the first floor. Here is some beautiful jewellery that is for sale!! Sue has taken a shine to a diamond and emerald ring and how can I refuse as we have just seen the world’s greatest monument to love. The coach goes on without Brian, Jill and us and we are taken back to the hotel in the company Mercedes. Brian and I did not realise we had spent that much!
Our lunch is to be taken in our hotel and we have a bit of down time as we are not required until 15.30. We have the usual bar meal and vino going over the morning’s experience. Some of the group elect for a swim and some, I guess, a sleep!
This afternoon we have a visit to the Red Fort. The Fort is, you guessed it, red. It is a huge complex of various temples, mosques and living quarters. The Emperor who built the Taj was imprisoned here for the last 8 years of his life by his son. The son was power crazy so he imprisoned his father and the sad part was that the Emperor could see his Taj Mahal but could not visit it our the tomb of his wife. Cisco Kid gives us another comprehensive history lesson. It is very hot again and we are not that unhappy when it is time to leave. Before we return to the hotel we are taken to a workshop (and the sales room) that will show us they carve the marble and inlay the precious stones. The work today is only carried out by direct descendents of the people who worked on the Taj Mahal.
Back to the hotel for early doors and a cold beer. We have another early start to catch the 08.12 train to our next destination. I am writing this on the train and will tell you about it if I get chance to send another e-postcard.
Today we are going to catch a train from Agra to Jhansi and then a coach onward to Khajuraho. It is only a short ride to the train station and porters await to carry our luggage to the station. We are to catch the Shatabdi Express but it is not living up to its name as it is running 20 minutes late. Stood on the platform it is a “Michael Palin moment”. I feel like the experienced BBC traveller. The station platform is a snapshot of all Indian life. This platform is obviously home to some families and the little children busy themselves begging for coins or chocolate. The army is here along with disabled beggars, vendors selling hot food, tea wallahs , shoe shine boys, porters and genuine passengers. There is a continuous commentary from the public address system and I am not sure if it is telling us something important. Nobody else seems to be taking any notice so we continue to wait amongst the noise and hustle and bustle. Eventually the “Express” can be seen and within a short time it rolls into the station. Porters are now running about frantically in order to get the suitcases on board. We have a numbered seat and settle down for our train ride. The carriages are comfortable but scruffy. The occupants of the carriage are tourists and I would guess middle class Indians. A bit disappointing really as there are no individuals hanging outside our window. We are told that the Government have banned such practices but from what I have seen up to now in this country that will make no difference at all. Maybe the hangers on are further back on the train. Some of the countryside we are passing looks quite English with trees and arable crops. There is a tea wallah on board but we settle for a complimentary water.
The India Railway company is the biggest employer in India and I can only think that they make big profits as they do not spend the money on uniforms or rolling stock. We arrive safely at our destination after a fairly uneventful and smooth journey. The P.A. system tells us we have 8 minutes to get ourselves and the luggage off the train. The porters are lined up to get the luggage off the train. Made it!!
The coach is waiting and if we thought the coach rides had been rough up to now then were in for the “Road to Hell”! This was to be a 5 hour drive on roads that were made for ox and cart. Fortunately the coach was more modern and was probably only 20 years old. A lunch stop is made in a village that is a place of Hindu pilgrimage called Orcha. The village does seem to be a little cleaner than all the others, perhaps it is the Muslims that make everywhere filthy dirty although Muslims are only about 10% of the population. It is probably because Orcha gets a lot of visitors, Hindu and tourists and is a little more affluent. Lunch is totally vegetarian being Hindu. The village is on the banks of a river and there is some sort of festival going on bathing. There are some temples that are worth a photograph but we make haste as 3 hours of being tossed about face us. I think it is going to take some time when I get to the hotel to rearrange my internal organs.
Eventually, tired and battle weary, we have a vodka and tonic in front of us by the pool. Everyone soon returns to the bar at dusk as it is mosquitoes’ feeding time. Another day over and we all retire a little earlier as we have to be on the coach at 8 to visit some temples at Khajuraho. We then fly to Varanasi.
We have a few casualties to the “Delhi Belly” thing but everybody is ready for 8. All four of us have been alright and I am convinced it is the red wine preventative treatment so we intend to keep taking the medicine! We are going to see the Chandela Dynasty temples. It is only a short journey and all agreed the temples are absolutely spectacular. The main one could easily be one of the seven wonders. The temples are set in a beautiful park and are intricately carved with statues and friezes. Some of the carvings are erotic and form a basis for the Kama Sutra. I hope Sue is paying attention and taking it all in! Perhaps it is the carvings but it is very hot and sunny again.
We are then asked if anybody would like to spend a short time shopping - silly question. Does the guide not realise that Sue and Jill are professional shoppers? Shopping is another experience, can you imagine going in M& S and liking something that is £20 and after 10 minutes of bargaining taking it home for £8. This is India.
Off to the airport, very small, and our flight. One hour delay.
Arrive hotel at 4 and we can now relax, have a meal and drink but early to bed. Tomorrow we have a 5 AM call for a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. Night night!
We thought we had seen everything that India could throw at us but we had reckoned without Varanasi. We board our coach at 05.30 and it is still dark. Sunrise will be at approx 06.30 and we are heading to the River Ganges. Varanasi is reputed to be the most colourful city in India and is most sacred Hindu city in India. A total of 20000 pilgrims arrive in this city daily and it looks as though today’s contingency have already arrived!! It is the wish of every Hindu to come to this city at least once in their life. Varanasi has been a centre of learning and civilisation for over 2000 years. Our guide is a very confident and knowledgeable man. We are beginning to think he is a little political but he certainly knows his way around. Our driver has the three attributes to drive here, good brakes, good horn and good luck! It is unbelievable that there is not an accident but surprisingly there is no road rage here. Our guide tells us that it as Indian belief that laws are suggestions and you would not argue with that statement.
We are heading for the ghats on the banks of the Ganges. The ghats are areas along the banks of the river that have steps leading down to the river. These steps allow the pilgrims to reach the river and bathe in the sacred waters. We have a boat waiting for us so we can view the bathing ghats and temples from the river. The scenes we are witnessing are unbelievable and there are pilgrims having their head shaved on the banks of the river along with all sorts of other religious rites. Once gain organised chaos reigns. I am lost for words once again as I have to remind myself this is 2010 or the first day of 2067 in the Hindu calendar - Happy New Year!!
There are dozens of people bathing and waiting for the sun to rise. As the sun rises more people enter the river and offer prayers to the sun. There are areas for doing the washing and men frantically thrash the washing on stones in the river. The washing is laid out to dry on the banks of the river.
It is the wish of every Hindu to die in Varanasi and be cremated on the bank side cremation site. Some 200-300 cremations are carried out daily. We pass the cremation sites and although very early and the cremations have not started in earnest we can see the smoke rising from a cremation. The ‘undertaker’ cracks the skull with a large bamboo cane to prevent it being used in black magic rituals. Although to our eyes it looks extremely bizarre this is how every Hindu wants to end his life. This end will mean he will not be reincarnated and will remain in a cosmic universe. The Hindu believes in reincarnation but will only return as a human if all he has done is good. Everybody has done something wrong so he could be reincarnated as anything, possibly a cockroach. So better to be cremated on the banks of the sacred Ganges. I think I’ve got that right!!! People literally come here to die from all over India. Above the cremation sites are hospices - bit like Miami is to an American! The cremations are carried out in the open and a white and a gold shroud cover the body. The family of the deceased are not unhappy as this is a happy time for the Hindus - they have fulfilled their dream!!! It is a common misconception that the burning bodies are burnt afloat on the Ganges.
Every house in this bizarre and holy city has a temple and the river bank is lined with temples and some guest houses. The house where George Harrison lived during his stay in this city is pointed out to us. We return to the landing stage and our guide is going to walk us through a small part of the town. It is a narrow alleyway, no more than 5 feet wide, with homes, school, livestock and what they would call shops. The scene is awesome and the guide explains to us that there are 22 kilometres of alleyways like these in the city. We eventually return to the coach through the mayhem of the city that is now fully awake. We take breakfast at our hotel before a short coach journey to visit the Mother India Temple which is unique. We have to walk through a fruit and vegetable market and none of us can really believe what we are seeing but all are glad for the experience. The temple is very sacred but an ordinary building containing a large marble relief of India to our eyes. Back through the market and I hope my photos will portray some of the energy and colour of the scenes. This place certainly stimulates all 5 senses!!
Only one more tour to go, a visit to the workshops and shop that make and sell the famous Varanasi silk. A very interesting presentation and surprisingly enough no pressure exerted to purchase but we do!!!
Back to the hotel for a snifter and a few hours rest before an evening meal where I managed to throw a glass of red wine over myself! Well, somebody has to don’t they?
We travel to Delhi today and back to Heathrow tomorrow.
So the experience is nearly over and I really hope you have enjoyed these notes and they have not been boring. There is so much more to tell as I have not had the time to tell you everything.
The memories will last for many years and do not be put off coming to India. It is a beautiful and diverse country will lovely people. Despite the poverty everybody including the animals live in harmony side by side. We have not seen any fights or disagreements between animals or humans, not even the dogs scrap or bark!
A straw poll taken amongst the group lists the three highlights as the Taj Mahal, Varanasi and the village we visited. The tiger came in a close fourth. All I can add is that if you have not been to India, I know some of you have, then please come soon !!!
That’s all folks!!!!