India : day 14 : Jodhpur
Today is our last full day in Rajasthan. The past two weeks have been incredible - we've visited a lot of cities, and seen oodles of temples, forts, palaces, plus lots and lots of cows. In fact we are all a bit templed-out. Some of the highlights were the 15th century Jain Temple in Ranakpur made entirely from intricatiely carved marble; the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur which is over 500 years-old, utterly stunning, and overlooks the blue-washed houses of the Brahmapuri village; and our evening boat trip across Lake Pichola to Jag Mandir Palace for dinner. In Jaisalmer the monsoon arrived (on it's 'official' arrival date) complete with lightning and thunder, and it rained so much our room was flooded. The shopping has been fantastic - we've picked up lots of textiles, and bits'n pieces, and found several really good antique shops. Two of the best were: Ganesh Handicraft Emporium in Udaipur which is tucked away down a non-descript narrow passage that opens out into a large courtyard. Housed in a 300-year-old haveli (mansion) this place was stuffed to the brim with wonderful antique handicrafts and textiles; and in Jodhpur we stumbled across Maharani Art Exporters - an Aladdin's cave of treasures with a basement full of dusty treasures. Just as well we have a spare suitcase to carry our purchases home! We've spent the past two days in Jodhpur at a great hotel (complete with pool) which the boys have loved. They both have coped admirably with the heat, constant travel, and a couple of bouts of tummy bugs. Tomorrow afternoon we fly south to Kerala.