The first thing you see at you decend from the surrounding hills is the imposing fort that dominates the valley and the entire town, it really is massive – this is the 16th century Taragarh Fort, which has largely been overtaken by troops of monkeys and the wild vegetation, but is well worth a visit for the view over the town, but take a stick to ward off the monkeys that sometimes get over-curious and at times quite aggressive.
The main attraction in the town are the fabulous step wells – there are reputed to be over 50 of these, which is amazing for such a small town.
Some of the step wells have been used as rubbish dumps, full of rubbish thrown into the wells, which are overflowing with plastic, which is such a shame, but which we have seen is a bit of a feature of northern India, which is often not the case in the cleaner cities in the south.
The fabulous Rani Ji Ki Baori (Queen’s Step Well) is well worth the few rupees entrance fee, it is an amazing 17th century structure with intricate carvings.
There is also Dabhai Kund, which is a little shabby and in disrepair, but well worth a look for the carvings, but just wandering around the town, look for railings, as more often than not, there will be a step well on the other side.
Take a short stroll around Bundi and you will see a temple at virtually every turn, and where there isn’t a temple, you will find a colourful shrine to one of the Hindu dieties.
Lakes and water
A short tuktuk ride away up the hill about 3 kms away from the town is a scenic lake, Lake Jait Sagar, framed by the surrounding hills, very nice at sunset, but once again, the litter almost overpowers the efforts of the water lilies to bloom. The Sukh Mahal is on the right side of the lake, which was once used as a hunting lodge and was where Rudyard Kipling wrote some of his book, Kim, and the film version was filmed around Bundi. Kipling said about Bundi Palace,”…the Palace of Bundi, even in broad daylight, is such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams – the work of goblins rather than of men.”
There is a nice walk around the lake (or at least part way around) and you can chat with the numerous fishermen, who buy chapatti dough from the vendors on the lakeside to throw to the fish, although I didn’t actually see any with a rod and line, it seems like just feeding the fish is enough.
Food & Drink
There are lots of cafés, tea shops and restaurants in Bundi, we ate mostly at our hotel and the food was excellent, but often went to a small little tea shop, Sanwariya Restaurant for breakfast everyday, it is run by a family, headed by the constantly smiling Sunita – the masala chai is very good and we had masala dosa for breakfast which was excellent.
There is also a government bhang shop in the main street, which is basically marijuana, and bhang lassis are available here and totally legal. In fact bhang is allowed to be consumed, but not smoked, which is illegal – weird.
The palace has a number of small palaces around the central residence, built by various rulers through history. It has some amazing frescoes, although some look a little tired now. If you go to Garh Palace, get tickets at the same time for a reduced price for entry into Taragarh Fort.
More photos of Bundi