DAY SIXTEEN… 27.15 miles (43.70 km)

Egrets search for frogs in the fields.  We sit at the chai shop and drink tea.  Thank God for quieter, less busy roads today.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Grey-headed swamphen.

1.00pm…. Did I say ‘quieter, less busy roads?’ Patan is exactly the opposite. Drivers use the horn to save other drivers the bother of looking in their mirrors. A number of very loud blasts on the horn soon alerts other drivers to your presence. But there are so many horns all being sounded simultaneously, that what is coming from where is very confusing. The main thing really is, just keep going….. round the crazy roundabouts where traffic comes from every direction, with no sense of priority to anyone.

We visited the beautiful step well, built by a queen to commemorate her husband. Described as “The Queen of Step Wells”, as indeed it was. Absolutely stunningly beautiful carvings all over.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Rani Ki Vav…. definitely the Queen of Stepwells, commissioned in 1063

After this, we decided to pop into the famous weaving workshops where double ikat weaving was practised. Unfortunately, a very enthusiastic man insisted on a totally comprehensive tour, including a full description of the ikat process and viewing of paper cutting work in action; delicate lace like designs.

Later we made our way to the famous old wooden houses (Haveli) where we were invited into to take tea with a lovely old Brahmin and his wife. Each day this old man rises, does his meditation, his yoga, then visits the temple, says his prayers to his god, then comes home for breakfast. In the afternoons he watches telly. Life, he says, is simple. No need to worry any more about children, money or other worldly things. Now is the time to get to know your God, to be with him.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Deserted Wooden Haveli
India Cycle Touring Gujarat
The retired Brahmin couple, who still lived in their wooden Haveli home…. a lovely cup of chai

There is also a lovely Jain temple in Patan. We made it there as the sun was setting. Jains were visiting to say their prayers and whisk with a strange brush like instrument? To remove flies from the air around them?

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Jain Temple at sunset