The region in the northwest of India known as Rajasthan has long been a favorite base for cultural and historic exploration. Most popular routes include the three J’s: the Pink City and capital, Jaipur, the Blue City, Jodhpur, and the Desert City, Jaisalmer, along with Pushkar and Udaipur, the City of Lakes. One of our favorite cities in India, Bundi is a little off this beaten tourist trail. While Bundi has certainly been discovered by foreign visitors, it still maintains a ton of charm. It’s quiet, unassuming, and a laid-back place from which to head out into the countryside for a bike ride.
Personal Highlights and Tips
- Our stay at Hadee Rani, a 450-year old haveli run by a most helpful and friendly family. The host’s mother and wife are excellent cooks, and we had to force ourselves to eat a meal elsewhere at least once. At dusk watch out for monkeys leaping from rooftop to rooftop. They don’t back down, and they’re not afraid. You can at least intimidate them by waving the handy stick placed in a corner for just that purpose.
- A hike up to Bundi Palace and beyond to Taragarh Fort. The palace is set into the hillside, and filled with murals, niche paintings, marble floors, glass work, latticed windows and a garden. Bundi is known for miniature paintings, and the palace has a very well-preserved collection. Further up, the fort complex features deep baori (step wells), ramparts and battlements overlooking the town far below.
- The lakeside complex, Sukh Mahal, where Rudyard Kipling once stayed and wrote.
- Cycling into the countryside. Dusty roads pass through vibrant green rice fields, giving way to small villages, some no more than a cluster of wooden shacks at a crossroads. We’d ask directions at a tea shop, gathering a curious crowd before riding on. The day was a series of glimpses into daily life in the region, and a set of memories we will treasure.
- Rameshwar Temple, dedicated to Shiva, is about 20 k from Bundi. A long set of stairs up lead to the temple, set in a cave. Langur monkeys were everywhere, and we had to use care and step over countless tails. There’s a waterfall at the back, down some more paths, with a nice pool below, though apparently it’s more impressive in the rainy season. (We were there in January).