Jungle Fortress

We woke up with slightly sore backs and went onto the roof terrace for some breakfast and to plan the day ahead. We were going to visit the 500-year-old Bundi Palace, Chitrasala (a small 18th century fort) and Taragarh (an overgrow 14th Century fort).

Bundi isn’t on a lot of travellers lists of places to visit in Rajasthan so when we visited the Palace we had it pretty much to ourselves. Like all palaces/forts we have visited so far Bundi’s had high walls, a steep entrance and a very imposing gate. Inside the gate was a courtyard which Harri said looked like something out of the Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling did visit the Palace, wrote some of his book Kim nearby and is said to have got the inspiration for the Jungle Book from this area). We then spent a good hour clambering about the different rooms, levels and staircases being careful not to fall off the edge (the shin height walls wouldn’t pass UK safety regulations for a tourist attraction).

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Back out the main gate we carried on up the hill to Chitrasala. The small fort is pretty much part of the Palace, the main difference is the fort is over run with monkeys, there are so many and they’re so aggressive (don’t look them in the eye we were told) that you have to take a stick with you in case they attack. Thankfully we didn’t look too intimidating and were given a free pass to some beautifully painted and decorated rooms at the rear of the complex. Back through the gauntlet we continued uphill to Taragarh.

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Taragarh is a 14th century fort which has been taken over by greenery, it was also one of my favourite places we had visited to date. Taragarh is about a 15 minute hike uphill from Chitrasala, once at the top of the hill you are greeted by an imposing gate an seriously impressive views, we continued through another gate, past a step-well and into the main fort. The main fort was dilapidated and in some areas shrubs and trees (one was very well established) flourished. It was this overgrown, unkempt nature which gave me such delight especially as I clambered onto the old ramparts and wandered between the different rooms. Then the monsoon came. After a good 20 minutes of waiting for he rain to abate we gave in and started the trek back down the hill, only this time the rocks we had walked up were now slippy with the torrential rain, needless to say we went cautiously and got drenched in the process.

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We eventually made it to the bottom where we dashed to a small restaurant for green pea masala, rice and naan (12). Shortly after ordering the rain came to a stop and whilst we were eating the sky turned from grey/black to brilliant blue.

After lunch and now enjoying the sun we explored Bundi, including one of the stepwells (they’re plentiful across the whole of India). On the way back from the step well we wandered dozens of the small streets and alleyways, enjoying the impressive art work which adorns many of the doorways.

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In the early evening we caught a moto-rickshaw to the station where we boarded an overnight train bound for Agra.

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