It was with some reluctance that the crews left the relaxing oasis of the Lake Palace this morning, returning to the main land to collect their cars.
Most managed to escape the city before rush hour and headed out towards the Eklingji Temple where the cows on the street seemed quite used to visitors stopping. One even nudged the car to try and persuade this reporter to buy food from the nearby seller for them.
The lovely rural roads brought us back to the highway and our first glimpse on the worlds largest Shiva. Bizarrely, this new tourist spot with its huge car park gives you a great view of the rear of the Shiva, with her face more visible from the road ahead.
We turned off the highway and found ourselves once more off the beaten track. Every turn introduced you to another marble seller with the quarry seen in the distance. There were also worked hand-making bricks and building Brick kilns at an amazing speed.
Lunch was Deogarh Mahal, a castle they had been converted into a hotel. The royal family still lives in part of the complex. Such is the castle’s location, our crews changed their mode of transport to a rugged safari jeep that could only just fit the narrow lanes where sellers offered textiles, homewares and electricals.
On to Ajmer, nestled amidst the Aravalli Range and sprawling along Taragarh Hill in central Rajasthan. By the time we reached the city, it was alive with people as they headed to and from temple for their evening worship. Every street was rammed with additional diversions testing our navigators and drivers.
After a brief rest stop, it was on to our night halt in neighbouring Pushkar but chances of a quiet night were scuppered as an elaborate wedding was taking place in the grounds. Just prior to the groom arriving on horseback to the sound of six ferocious drummers, the whole rally was invited to attend. Ladies in stunning saris walked around the garden which was adorned with beautiful flowers, lights and displays. There were pyrotechnics, live entertainers and amazing music that went on till late in the night.
With an 8am start in the morning, it will be interesting to know who will be late to the party…