26 Oct 2013
This morning we breakfast back at Ramrajah restaurant but it is too hot on the roof. We sit on the terrace and savour the most delicious fruit muesli and yoghurt with hot ginger, honey and lemon tea.
Our local guide Govind meets us for a tour of the palace. There are 3 palaces in the complex built in the 1500s– the King’s, Queen’s and another one that is now an upmarket hotel with only 8 rooms (we have a drink in the lobby after our tour).
The complex is huge and we get wonderful views from the different levels to the river, temples and cenotaphs in the area. The ceiling and wall paintings are still beautiful. One of the palaces was built for a king who only slept there one night and it was never used again.
Then we head out of town by tuk-tuk to a cooperative paper-making factory that is supported by Intrepid and put in place to provide tribal women with work. We are taken through all the different stages: cutting the cotton, remove the dust, soak to make pulp, pressing the pulp into paper, and drying, cutting, colouring. We even see them putting in a water mark. After it is rolled and dried we see the printing press where they are making certificates. The gift shop is well supported by the group.
When we were travelling to the paper factory we passed a local group in another tuk-tuk and exchange waves. Then they tooted and passed us again and tossed a handful of bracelets into our tuk-tuk. These simple bracelets are given as tokens of friendship.
On the way back to town we had to wait at a train crossing – time to take some pictures of children on the side of the road. While the barrier is down, vehicles jostle for prime position and eventually occupy all the space across the road – on both sides of the crossing. When the barrier goes up there is mass confusion as two walls of traffic face each other and create a huge traffic jam until they eventually manage to merge through each other.
It is then back for lunch at our favourite Ramrajah restaurant and then some free time to escape the heat. For lunch several of us have pancakes with banana and icecream!!
Eke and I head to the roof in the late afternoon to take pictures and then decide to head back down to the river to watch life go by. We meet the tourist policeman who introduces himself. We buy a cup of tea from a charming young girl managing a stall and sit chatting with a couple of young men who have ridden their motorbike from a long way away to come to the monthly festival at the temple tomorrow. A group of young lads have washed in the river and all congregate around a mirror at the stall to comb their hair and oil it. Women sit combing their hair and hang their saris out to dry.
A young girl (about 9) tries out her salesmanship and convinces us to come to her stall. We each buy a bracelet and she draws a henna flower on our hands for us. Another girl has been watching closely and when we tip the first girl she tries very hard to get us to come to her stall as well.
We wander up the street saying hello to lots of people on the way. The market at the Temple is filling up fast.
We have arranged to go to the Palace for dinner and have to go the long way around to avoid the Sound & Light show. Our meal and surroundings are a real treat (even for the 4 who did the cooking class) – we even had cocktails and dessert and it still cost less than $10.
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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