Starting on our sunset camel ride
From Jaipur we traveled to Bikaner (north east of Jaipur and further from the main tourist trail). By this time I was getting more than a little fed up with our driver who kept saddling us with "free" guides everywhere we went and trying to drag us into commission shops and restaurants. My frustration peaked in Fatehpur (a new Fatehpur). The small Shekhawati town is known for fabulous havellis but our driver refused to drive us into town, insisting that the police didn't allow cars in town (very much not so). Luckily Bikaner is a small city and easy to traverse on foot and with autorickshaws so we were able to take a break from our driver for a couple days.
Yesterday Tim took me to the office on the back of his bike. There are definite advantages of going on the bike, first and foremost being that although it takes over 2 hours to go from my door to the ATREE offices by bus, it's a mere 40 minutes or so on a motorcycle.
Entering the pink city
From Agra, we drove to Jaipur, the Pink City. Jaipur is probably one of the most touristed cities in the world, but still utterly fascinating. It's a beautiful place and was a nice start to our week in Rajasthan. Rajasthan was the start of our luxury travel and we stayed exclusively in heritage hotels (all havellis) that were each remarkable.
New Year's eve at the Taj
On New Year's Eve we drove from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Tim and I had been there right after we were married and Kalani had been there less than 2 weeks before, but it was still a magical place whose beauty wasn't diminished by second-timeness. Temperatures were at record lows (falling to just below freezing) and on our second day the fog was so thick you couldn't see anything but we got there just in time for sunset on a lovely clear day and had a great time (tho Tim quipped that the first time I'd been there I nearly had heat stroke (August!) and the second time I was going to freeze to death).
Old Fort mosque
Immo and Diana visited from 28 December - 16 January, 2013. We flew up to Delhi to meet them then proceeded to travel through the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan) then flew from Jodhpur back down to Bangalore. It was a fun trip, and we got to see a really different part of India. I'll start here with our three days in Delhi....
Coffee, black pepper, silk oak plantation agroforestry in Yercaud
After the conference in Salem we drove up to the Eastern Ghats. First we visited Kohlli Hills (which we thought was near where we were staying but turned out to be 90km in the opposite direction!), then we drove to Yercaud where we stayed in a really nice resort (3-day weekend, there wasn't much choice in hotels) for a couple nights. Forests were mostly confined to the lower elevations of the hills at Yercaud and the upper part was lush agroforestry systems growing coffee and spices.
Starting my talk
I was invited to give the Inaugural Address at the National Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity at Periyar University, Salem, Tamil Nadu last week. At first they asked for a 90 minute talk (!) but then dropped it to 45 minutes a few weeks ahead of the conference.
Since the conference was happening right before a 3-day weekend (Id-Milad) we decided to all go then spend a couple nights in a nearby Hill Station in the Eastern Ghats afterwards.
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