Wednesday morning soon arrived and after a delicious breakfast of paneer stuffed Paratha it was time to hit the road again. As we left the hotel we picked up the spice and tea man, who showed us all the spices and different tea and insence fragrances he had to offer from the comfort of our air conditioned coach seat whilst en route! I could get used to this style of travel/shopping let me tell you! Sadly I had a bit of jippy belly- not Delhi belly but just an overdose of spices- I’d embraced Indian food morning, lunch and evening, and on top of 40+ degrees and so wasn’t feeling on top form. Our ever decreasing stash of travel cash, and my long suffering husband both managed a heavy sigh of relief when I could only face picking up some masala tea and some saffron for mum before forcing myself to sleep for the journey! If I weren’t feeling so rotten I probably could would have brought enough for Mr spice man to retire early!
Thankfully after a doze, plenty of water and a couple of bananas, I was starting to feel back to normal just as we pulled off a marginally bumpy A road equivalent into basically a dirt track! By the time we reached the point that the coach couldn’t go any further we were met by a collection of camels, carts and a band welcoming us off the coach! Apparently this was our transport to the next hotel, the phenomenally beautiful Patan Mahal Heritage hotel. We were treated to a Royal welcome which let me tell you, I think I could get rather used too!
The hotel has apparently had lots of investment from Great Rail who basically turned it round from a wreck to what is now a beautiful, beautiful characteristic hotel with mountain views that are just breathtaking. In doing this, the hotel now can employ lots of locals from the village and therefore they do truly think of us as royalty.
On arrival we were greeted with flower garlands, bindies and a nice drink. Our room was marvellous- it had a mezzanine that had 3 separate rooms including one in the turret! We also had a terrace and a huge bathroom. We were in heaven.
We raced to the pool, bagged a sun lounger each, and set out our stall for the remainder of the afternoon along with the rest of the group. Everyone was buzzing!
At 5pm Mavi took us for a walk through the village to witness traditional village life. We watched as the ladies sat on the porch making bangles (I may have had a little shop too!) we went to see the Potter, saw the small holding, and I even joined in the local ladies yoga, which I may add, I am NOT a natural at! It didn’t help that I was wearing a long skirt (excuses excuses hey!) and I will never forget Mavi’s face as I tried to get my leg over my shoulder! Maybe his translation was off…!
That evening was our last as a group and so the hotel put on a gala farewell dinner. We had musicians and dancers, it was fantastic and we even had a go ourselves at the dancing. Keith is NOT a natural but fair do, he gave it his all. What a perfect last night.
The next morning we had the morning around the pool before the local school bus ferried us all back to the main coach and we had our journey back to Delhi. I could feel the emotion bubbling up, I was so not ready to say goodbye to Marvi and the boys. We dropped the main group back to the airport, we were staying over at the airport hotel as we were flying back direct in the morning and we got driven to the airport hotel to say our farewells which was emotional! What an absolutely FANTASTIC team they were. Without them (and Ian, the Great Rail Tour Manager of course, who was constantly smiling and checking we were all ok) this trip wouldn’t have been the same.
We fell in love with India- the people, the food, the history, the chaos. I can’t recommend this tour enough- it’s almost a week since we are home and I still feel sad about leaving!
If you are considering travelling to India we highly recommend taking this tour with Great Rail.
Until next time,