We slept in and was able to start our trip at noon. We brought such small luggage’s that every morning it was a struggle to Tetris all our clothing inside.
When coming to India bring your student Id, even though the signs don’t designate a special rate. The foreigner student rate is only about 70% of the regular foreigner rate.
There are sooooooo many shops for tourists in India, with the exact same souvenirs, so don’t feel pressured to buy early. A ton of the shop owners will say they’re the only one that sells a certain handicraft speciality or at a certain quality. We ended up hearing that a ton and was ushered into a ton of shops and left less time for us to visit monuments. We actually ended up missing a super important monument Rankapur (the largest and oldest Jain temple) due to being at a shop too long. It was hard to understand our driver’s English on what the consequences of us taking too long at a shop that we didn’t even purchase from.
There wasn’t a time where We regretted that I should’ve purchased something at an earlier shop, that we couldn’t find at the same quality somewhere else. Also some shop owners will lie about the material something was made out of, for example the quality of fabric, saying something is Pashmina when it isn’t. The tell tale sign is lighting a match on one of the tassels and seeing if it smells like plastic or hair. This won’t ruin the fabric so I recommend you asking the shop keeper to test it, if you wish to purchase, the pashmina should also run around a $150. If it is any cheaper then it’s probably of inauthentic quality. The best thing about these shops is it’s usually air conditioned and they will offer your choice of beverage.
Some cultural things you will encounter is their emphasis on marriage, they often ask prying questions if you aren’t. There’s also people of the same sex holding hands and in Indian culture this just means friendship, so don’t be frightened if someone takes your hand. There is also a lot of public nose picking and people wanting to take selfies with you.
Today was a much more relaxed day with no set agenda. The flight we booked was at 8pm to go back to Delhi and we found ourselves trying to kill time.
We visited the Sahasra-Bahu “thousand arms” temple ruins that was built in early 10th century that was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was said to be the location of the original capital. The place had incredible carvings, but the rest of the previous statues were destroyed or ransacked.
After this we stopped off at an overlook of Bagela lake where we saw people bathing and washing clothes, from afar we could see the Eklingja temple that was built in the 7th century. We drove up to the gates of the Monsoon Palace, but the heat and the overwhelming amount of palaces we decided to opt out. Instead we visited the Maharana Pratap Smarack Samiti museum (you can easily skip this) that had oil paintings, bronze statues, and recreation of the town in miniature. Then to try to kill even more time we went to another tourist shop, but going to one of these daily had really made us super not interested, even though this was the shop that made Judi Dench’s clothes in 007.
Since we had done everything that the driver could think of he dropped us off at the airport at 5pm for our 9:30pm flight. We had Sri Lanka next on our itinerary after India, but currently it’s been declared as a “State of Emergency” due to anti-Muslim racism. So we ended up spending our time at the airport researching where to go next and we decided South Africa. We will be making our way to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and going to Kruger National Park.