DAY THIRTY THREE… 31.07 miles (50.00 km)
Our requests for tea and Poha were met with great enthusiasm. Our tea arrived before our alarm had even gone off. And poha, shortly on its heels. And icing on the cake, a very full bucket of hot water.
This morning’s ride so far has been lovely but very cold. The sun was just starting to rise as we set off from Abhaneri. Morning bhajan from the temple, and flocks of birds circling in the dawn light. A very large pig walking through a field of bright yellow mustard flowers.
A very large crowd of men and boys, this morning as we stop for chai. They’re intently interested in us and the bikes. As I move toward them, they move back. An illusion of space, even though privacy is totally invaded.
Our ride continued to be beautiful. Rural bliss with a backdrop of hills. That is until the last 10 miles when we hit a bumpy track that led up into dry sandy, thorny land around the tiger reserve. You couldn’t really call it a road, more a footpath, but we took it anyway.
Arrived at Bhangarh Fort to find a rather overpriced room, 1,500Rs with NO hot water and no twin beds (essential for a good night). However, the establishment was run by two very sweet young women (21), who fell in love with us, and hated us having to pay for anything (which was nice. But we still paid!). They told Tim he looked like a tomato, and had ‘too much blood’ in contrast to one of the girls who had ‘too little blood’ and had passed out that afternoon.
We visited the surprisingly good Bhangarh Fort, more a whole deserted city, full of temples, homes, markets and a palace. Apparently, 15,000 people lived here but the whole lot was abandoned overnight. The stories tell of a magician who cursed the city because he could not win the love of the Princess. His curse meant that anyone who was still in the city at the end of the day, would die. A more realistic scenario is that Moguls ransacked it and killed everyone who did not flee. Meanwhile, according to a local guide, the whole place as taken over by the ghosts of the 15,000 every night, after sunset.