We stayed five nights in Bundi. Like many legs of our trip so far, we often end up with a little more time than we'd like at once place near the end. We thought we should leave Pushkar, we didn't want more time than necessary for Agra or New Delhi, and there really wasn't anything else en route to see, so Bundi it was. Five days was a little long, so we spent a fair amount of time trying to stay cool in our room, a day's adventure being a trip to the bank or a gander at some of the water tanks throughout the city. Here's a little pictoral review of some of our time.
As Tyler had mentioned, Bundi was filled with baoris, or water tanks, that were used for ceremonial purposes in the late 17th/early 18th century. The most impressive was the Ranij-ki-Baori, or Queen's Baori that was only 20 meters from the main market area. The tank was built deep into the ground, with beautiful carvings on the walls and pillars connected with carved elephants and sinuous arches. The scale was impressive. It must have been almost 50 meters deep into the ground.
We saw others around town, some that were almost equally impressive but not as well-tended. Most were overgrown and being used for more domestic purposes, such as drying cow dung. One closest to the market that we stumbled upon seemed to have been re-purposed as a garbage pit.
Queens bath--you can get a sense of the scale by seeing Tyler down at the bottom
Graceful pillars and sinuous arches at the entrance
Another baori, or water tank, demonstrating why they are sometimes referred to as "step wells." Note the power station built right next to it.
Memories of Cambodia
I'm sure this is true of more of Hindu India (outside of the predominately Buddhist and Muslim areas we stayed in), but I was pleasantly surprised to see temples and architecture styles similar to that of the temples we saw in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor-esque towers rose randomly throughout the city, which was filled with an impressive number of revered icons and temples. It makes sense, since the Angkor temples were built by Hindus, but it was still a fun connection to make from different locations of our journey.
Angkor-esque temple in Bundi
Angkor-esque sculpture on a cenotaph, or tomb
Bundi Market and Street Scenes
Almost every day, for one reason or another, Tyler and I would have to run the gauntlet that was walking down the main drag and through the market of Bundi. It always exhausted us, dodging bikes and motorbikes and cows and manure and people, being constantly barraged by the same conversation ("Hello, what's your name? What country?") and attempts to sell us something, anything all the while sweating profusely. I didn't get many photos there--having the camera out meant having lots of requests of "one photo?!", in other words, rupees for the photographed--but here are a few favorites.
Bundi milkmen's rides. The milkmen came in from the villages and then rode around town on motorbikes with the brass urns, from which they would ladle out milk for businesses and households.
Chili seller in the market
Sewing machine repair man. In India, you see some modern things, but you also see items, such as sewing machines and bikes, that have been repaired and held together for years (probably decades in many cases)
While at our guesthouse, our host (whose name is actually "Sashi" we finally confirmed) offered to do henna, or mehndi, for me. Basically, it's a temporary tattoo of sorts made of a paste of henna that is piped onto the skin and left for six hours to leave behind a reddish-brown design. Henna is common throughout India, but the design varies by region. It's supposed to last for 10-15 days, but after about five days much of mine has faded considerably.
Mehndi-ed hand with the paste still on (sorry it's sideways!). You can also see I've got on a fancy stick-on bindi from the mother of the guesthouse to complete my Indian look!
Mehndi-ed feet the next day
Overall, there were good and bad things about staying in one place so long. It was a small enough town that we had mini-relationships (the guy we bought water from, the samosa guy, the internet guy, the place to burn CDs), but we did start getting a little antsy. Without that many sites, things to do, or much of a purpose after about three days we were a bit listless. Here's a nice shot Tyler got of the view coming into town when he went to buy our train tickets to Agra:
The view of Bundi from the main road
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