Alastair's Blog

Royal Rajasthan Rally - February 2015

- Thursday, March 26, 2015

I've just got back from the Royal Rajasthan Rally, which is a 23-day event, starting in Delhi and driving through the colourful and historic state of Rajasthan, visiting Udaipur, Bundi, Jaipur and The Taj Mahal, amongst other places.

This was really a jolly with only three cars and no competition but we had a great time. Driving in India is never boring and neither is India itself. I tell people it's like being in a kaleidoscope and you don't even have to shake it to change the picture. We stayed in some lovely hotels throughout the trip and saw same great sights. We had a lot of fun with the Holi festival, a festival of colour which celebrates the arrival of spring. More of that below, as you'll see from some of the pictures!

You can find out more details about the rally on the Bespoke Rallies Royal Rajasthan website, and see the route we took.

Here we all are on the very first night having dinner in Delhi.

First night dinner in Delhi   Dinner in Delhi

And here I am before we start, inspecting the rally car - and all the cars lined up in the car park. We all had the same 4WD Toyotas, a model not sold in the UK. The cars were fine and gave no trouble at all throughout the event.

checking out the rally car   the rally cars in the car park

And here we are putting on the rally plates before the start.


We were allowed several rest days so that we could experience activities like a tour of the historic sights of Delhi, a tour of the Mandawa Open Air Museum, a camel ride and dinner under the desert stars in Jaisalmer. Here are some street scenes from Delhi and a video showing street food being made - vegetarian flat bread fried to order.


We managed to see a snake charmer with his pet cobra in action at the Gandhi memorial.

Snake charmer with pet cobra   Video of snake charmer

We also visited the historic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and visited a Bishnoi village where they protect the flora and fauna in the area. Here we are visiting the Gandhi memorial and a video of some southern Indian young women visiting the memorial.

Gandhi memorial   Video of southern Indian girls visiting the Gandhi memorial

We visited the golden city of Jaisalmer and saw this booze shop sign - it should read "chilled" but "child beer" sounds a lot better!

Chilled Beer sign   Jaisalmer Golden City

Lovely elephant painting and statue - maybe I'm back home at Space Station Self Storage PLC!

Elephant statue   Elephant painting

Making friends with the local wildlife & me at the Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, a wonderful building which appears to be floating in the Lake. We also visited a beautiful desert lodge called Jawai Leopard Camp and went out before dawn and saw 3 leopards on their way home from hunting - didn't get a chance to take any photos of that unfortunately, but it was very exciting to see them strolling across the rocks. We saw one of them sharpen his claws on a tree, just like you see domestic cats doing.


While we were there, the Holi festival took place. This is a festival of colour which celebrates the arrival of spring. They have a national holiday and everybody throws violently coloured powdered dye over each other, followed by water, and then have lots to drink - all great fun!


And some Holi festival dancing - it gets a lot louder and lot more colourful later!

Holi Hair   Video of Holi dancing

After Jaipur, we headed for Agra, where we saw the Taj Mahal, one of the Wonders of the World, built by Shah Jahan for his much loved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.


And me, jumping for joy outside the Taj Mahal!

A visit to McDonald's in Delhi, here's the menu, the Rupee is about 95 to the pound. And a video of traffic in India - never a dull moment!


And finally some videos of the various elephant rides we did, one to Amber Fort at Jaipur; a bit of a race, then a big clean-up! and another ride in Jaipur.


You can see even more photos and videos of the rally on my Facebook page, please head over there and "Like" the page to follow other rallies that I take part in.

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