Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arrival in India: Delhi, Mt. Abu and Bhinder

May 12, 2009

We arrived safe here to the Rajmahal Bhinder Palace two nights ago and completed our first on the project today. After a long couple of flights we arrived in Delhi at 12.30 am with no problems or hassles with customs or our luggage. We spent the next day exploring the hectic city of Dehli with the help of Developing World Connections friend Paul Singh, who showed us the Red Fort and some of the local markets. We then took an 12 hour overnight train to Udaipur, which turned out to be such a fantastic experience. It was so refreshing to watch the lights and villages fly by from the open doors of the train with the cool night air helping us forget the heat and the grime of a day navigating Dehli.

Awoken to the sounds and smells of fresh chai we then met Heera ( the project supervisor) for a quick visit before we boarded another cramped public bus to Mt. Abu. Situated in the middle of a desert, the town of Mt. Abu attracts many international and domestic tourists for the cooler climate and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. The group spend the few days here riding horses and motorcycles, seeing the various viewpoints, sunsets and magnificent Jain temples in the area. The ride back to Udaipur was interesting to say the least: a bus full of overexcited families all talking in animated voices pummeling down mountain roads with a cascading horn that was blown at every turn. The outcome was complete chaos, people getting sick out windows and crawling all over the floor, some of our very own joined in but everyone lived to tell the tale. We then travelled to the town of Bhinder by bus where we met all the project coordinators and settled into our new home at the palace.

Erected 500 years ago, the palace has been passed down through the generations and is in beautiful condition complete with colourful murals, steep staircases and resident bats! It is safe to say that everyone is in love with this place and feel at home amoung the spicy food, sweaty foreheads and stunning terraces.

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