11/25/2007 to 12/1/2007 | India , Rajasthan


After leaving Pushkar, with the rest of the crowds at the conclusion of the fair, I spent a half day in Ajmer before heading on to the town of Bundi.  Ajmer is a Muslim pilgrimage town, the site of the tomb of an important Sufi saint.  For me it was a place to get some much missed meat at the kebab and curry stands that lined streets around the tomb.  Leaning more on the carnivore end of the culinary spectrum than the Vegan, and having spent 5 days in the pure Vegetarian (not even eggs) town of Pushkar, I must say, it was very nice to get some chicken curries and mutton kebabs.  Despite the good food, the town did not enchant me as much as my next destination of Bundi, a place I had planned on spending a day or two.  That day or two quite easily slipped into five, in Bundi’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  A speedy departure was further delayed as I discovered on my arrival that Bundi was about to host its own festival known as the Bundi Ustav, which I shall describe in a later episode.

Even without its friendly people, Bundi is a pleasant place, with a labyrinth of narrow streets and brightly colored houses broken by the occasional temple, old havali, or step well.  This old quarter is dominated by the city palace of the former Rajput rulers which sits on a hillside perched above the town and beneath a fort that occupies the crest.  But what really made Bundi a pleasure to stay in, was the people who were genuinely friendly something difficult to find in the heavily touristed cities of Rajastan, where a seemingly friendly hello is almost immediately followed up by a request for money in some form.  Only about half the kids suffered from “one-pen-one-rupee-idice.”  This is opposed to other cities in the state where you would think, and perhaps many of the children do, the English greeting is “Hello-one-pen-ten-ruppee.”

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