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Indien

The End

The End - Finally I can leave this country. The customs and moving the car into the container was a nightmare. For something that would last no more than a few hours / half a day it took three days plus.

But a least the remains of my Landy are now on their way back to Germany.
After close to 40'000km the Landy is in badly need for a major cleanup and service.... And then there will be the major conversion into an amazing camper. Stay tuned.


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Ellora Caves

So, done the Last location on my journey - Ellora Caves. This is amazing place. There Buddha, Hindu & Jain caves. Build between the 6th and 9th century. And what a build - just purely carved out of the rock with the tech and tools from that time. Some caves are so grand so massive and some carvings are so fine and detailed.Amazing! Everyone is talking about cave 16,the massive temple "Kailash". Two stories with grand hallways on the side and so detailed carvings. It's the biggest of its kind - bigger then the rock churches of Ethiopia. But my favorites are the number 29 with is grand scale made for movie sets and the Buddha Cathedral with it's amazing acoustics.


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Mandu

Mandu - One of the few Lost Citys of India. Basically founded in the 10th/11th century until the 16th/17th century from where it degraded rapidly. Today only the small Mandu Village is left surrounded by those mighty and plenty ruins. It's located on a plateau about 650m above sea level and ca 100 km west of Indore._1150418L8731283L8731312L8731262L8731273L8731341L8731348_1150451_1150438_1150447L8731361_1150527_1150529L8731447L8731445IMG_6179IMG_6182IMG_6183IMG_6186

Udaipur

Udaipur, a city enclosed by mountains and lakes and palace and palace and....... Some even call the city "Venice of the East", but n reality it has only about five bridges. Anyway, for most it's known as location from James Bond Octopussy. A great city to relax, to shop and really just to don't do a lot.


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Ranakpur Jain Temple

Ranakpur Jain Temple - a stunning temple made of marble. Hard to describe if you haven't seen it in real. Every corner full of rich and detailed carving. Breathtaking! The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar of the present half-cycle (according to Jain cosmology / religion. Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple. The temple occupies an area of approximately 60 x 62 meters and has over 1444 marble pillars to support the temple structure.


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Jodhpur

Jodhpur - probably the most Indian City I've visited so far. The fort in the background sets the scenery and then the blue city ( compared to the pink one it is at least colorful). the fort itself is on of grand ones in India. The ones in Jaipur for example are dwarft ones compared this one an its massive walls. On some location your can see the imprints of canon balls.

But best is the street life and the bazar around the clock tower. Nice atmosphere and compared to the other cities very relaxed and laid back.



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Jaipur

A few photos from my stay at Jaipur. Jaipur is the capital of the Indian State Rajasthan. A lovely city with a lot this to see such as the Observatory, the Amber Fort, the City palace (done a private tour) and Pink City. However, the pink city isn’t really pinkish anymore. More of an light orange and actually not so much color at all.

Also found a historic advanced AfghanCamera. Of course he took a foto of me.


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Ranthambhore National Park

Mission accomplished - Mietzekatze plus Mietzekätzchen. And one more Safari to go at Ranthambhore National Park.


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Agra Red Fort

Agra Fort is the former imperial residence of the Mughal Dynasty located in Agra, India. Originally the fort was built by Lodi but the Mughal under the pretense of renewing the fort tried to get rid of who built it originally. Since then a lot of false history has been attached to this fort. This mean once you are inside you see construction types historic elements & periods and different materials which really do not fit together in places. But it is still very beautiful and a must visit place in Agra.


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Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the South bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. I was there with the sunrise, which is best time to see the majestic complex. You should spend there at least three hours to see most a of it and to get a good overview what this place really is.


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Kalkutta

Kolkata - this is the place were really the British entered into India and the East India Trading Company. In the beginning there was nothing part from shallow waters and a small fishing village. The British took the place fro trading purpose and build it up. At one time it was the second largest city of the British Empire. And it was the Capital of the Indian Part of the Empire, before the capital was moved to New Delhi. I stayed there for four nights and went from the Eden Garten Cricket stadium to the Victoria Memorial to Mother Teresas house.


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Makaibari Tea Eco Estate

The Makaibari Tea Estate is probably the most talked about and fabled tea garden in Darjeeling area. And there are reasons for that. This is one of the oldest tea gardens in Darjeeling and was the first to establish a factory in the year 1859. This was the first garden in the world that was certified by 'Fare Trade' and the first to appoint women in a supervisory position. And they offer private Homestay’s at villagers homes instated of fancy & expensive bungalows. Also it is now the only tea estate that is still owned by a private family.

I stayed for two nights a ta family home and had strolls around the village the tea plantations.


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Singtom Tea Estate

It's currently the oldest tea estate in Darjeeling and offers a rare sense of nostalgia as it takes you back to British planters days of 1850s. Factually it was the Steinthal tea estate which was the first where Darjeeling tea plantation took place for the first time in 1852. Steinthal is a sister tea estate of Singtom. If you stay at Singtom Resort, you can still see some of the surviving tea bushes of 1852 that were the first to be planted in Darjeeling hills. I stayed for two nights at main historic bungalow, enjoyed the view and had of course a Factory Tour, Tea Tasting and a walk across the wide areas of the Tea Estate.


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Darjeelings Backroads

Once your leave the main city your are greeted by and awesome scenery. The tea plantations are perfectly nestled alongside the hills and there are small road everwhere you pass along. If your think the city has already the heritage flair, then a drive through the tea plantations is just another level. Simply amazing.


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Darjeeling

Darjeeling - the other major English Hilton to the East. At about 2000m it is located in a area of natural beauty. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, sets the horizon and from Tiger Hill if your are lucky and the weather is really good your can even see the top of Mount Everest.

The City itself is rundown but if your walk a bit your still can see a glimpse of the heritage and the glorious past. There are some good places to see such as the Tibet Museum, the Mall, the Mountaineering Institute, the St Andrews Church and places like the Joey’s pub or if you send it enjoy a stay at the 125 year old Elgin Heritage Hotel and experience some britishness. And of course there is also tea. A lot of. and the tea plantations are just everywhere around.


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Corbett National Park

The Corbett National Park - Home of the Indian Tiger. Founded by British hunter and wildlife expert Jim Corbett. It is the oldest National Park in India. I stayed at Jims Jungle Retreat for two nights and had two 3:45 private safaris. The Retreat i very lovely with attention to detail etc, but pricey. Sadly I didn’t see the tiger but saw his tracks, favorite areas, hunting places etc. The problem was that at this time of the year after the monsum season the jungle is so dense that you really cannot see that much. However it was still very lovely!!!


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On the road

The drive from Shimla onwards to the Nepal Board was a nightmare. Awful traffic, traffic jams everywhere, f***ing lorries, bikes, dust and what else. Not pleasant, the wort every in my life so far. Only the stopp in between at the Corbett National Park was nice.


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Shimla

Shimla - the former Summer Capital of the British Empire. This place should scream brightness in India. But really it doesn’t. Yes, the old Old buildings are still there but thats it. Nothing really about the history, the past, the Emprie, not even a single British or Irish Pub around. But the basar and the atmosphere made up for the shortcomings. They also realized that those shortcomings are important and a bonus for the tourism, but they are only building up the place slowly. It will take a few years to come.


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On the Road to Shimla

Once I left the so beautiful Ladakh aka Little Tibet the next destination was Shimla. Again I went for the Backroads, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. One of the most beautiful backroads so far. Some stretches looked like Switzerland or North Italy. Took about two days to reach Shimla.


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Amritsar - The golden Temple

The Golden Temple or officially known as Harmandir Sahib. This is the main sanctuary of the Sikh movement. It is said that this is also the place were Alexander the Great was on his final treck into India. The temple surrounds a peaceful atmosphere and you could easily spend hours. On a side note the temple facilities also provide free food for more than 80’000 people per day.


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Amritsar City

Once the border crossing was done I followed the Great Trunk road to Amritsar. This is the cultural centre of the Sikh movement. Their sanctuary is the Golden Temple (see next post). The city itself is one of the smaller once (about 1.1m people) but already very vibrance. the old city developed in the 17th and 18th century. Also, it is know for a very dark hour in 1919 when the British Army killed hundreds of civilians during a friendly unrest (The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre). Stayed for 2 days.


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