Monkeys, rats and havelis

If someone asks you to see a rat temple just say no. In fact, you can even skip the monkeys. It’s really not necessary to acquaint yourself with all of the planet’s warm-blooded vertebrates!

I’m not sure why I agree to these things. But someone mentioned a monkey temple on the way into Jaipur would be a cool thing to see. More than 2,000 rhesus macaques make the Galtaji temple their home.

The site consists of several temples and sacred kunds (water tanks) that thousands of Hindu pilgrims bathe in throughout the year. We were accompanied on the site by a caretaker, who made us (especially Sophie) feel more comfortable with the monkeys.

Sophie finds the courage to have a monkey on her shoulder

Sophie finds the courage to have a monkey on her shoulder

The caretaker convinced us to feed them peanuts. We then got a little more brave and let them rest on our shoulders. We took many pictures, but we all have slightly disgusted looks on our faces because monkeys are not the cleanest!

The Karni Mata Temple outside of Bikaner should be avoided at all costs. Are you kidding? It’s a temple infested with over 20,000 rats!!! The rats are treated as sacred and given protection. And you must remove your shoes to see it…

What you should see however, is where my cover photo comes from. We made a stop in Mandawa, a former trading outpost on the caravan route between China and the middle east. A fort was built in 1755 and a town grew up around its walls.

Opium traders used their wealth to build “havelis” or large mansions. They covered them with frescoes, which is why Mandawa is known today as Rajasthan’s open art gallery.

The town is a favourite setting for Bollywood films because of the many frescoes, although the majority of paintings are in dire need of restoration.

We stayed in a heritage hotel converted from an old havelis. The paintings in this former mansion have been restored, and are beautiful to look at. It’s too bad the bathroom was still needing attention.

We went to the rooftop at sunset to see the view of the town. You could tell that school was out, because kids were flying kites on the surrounding roofs. It’s one of the cool things that happens daily across Rajasthan!

4 Comments on “Monkeys, rats and havelis

    • We walked in and then turned right around. It’s a place I wish I could truly say that I haven’t been to!!!

      – Heather

    • Yup – definitely not a place you want to say that you’ve been to!

      – Heather

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