First visit the Birla Temple (Laxmi Naryan Mandir). We experience a service which is very short, about 10 mins! A curtain opens to show Krishna and Lakshmi , goddess of wealth - very bling. Lots of loud canned music followed by a blessing from the priest after being sprinkled with holy water.
Off to the'Albert Hall' Museum, designed by Major S. Jacob showing exhibits from local Rajasthani life. Designed to re-establish Indian architecture. Bit like a mini British Museum, small collections from around world, including one Egyptian Mummy. Of particular interest are displays of small models showing all the allegedly possible (!) yoga positions
Don't know why we are surprised about the numbers of local families doing the same. We are almost the only non-Indian tourists. Hence more celeb photos wherever we go! Barb & I are still getting many Happy Diwali greetings. This is great until we are told we are being shown respect for our seniority & wisdom! We thought they were just being extremely friendly!
By road to Nimaj. Quite a few hours. Rural Rajasthan - Guava orchards, Lentils, dried Millet stooks, ploughed fields awaiting planting with wheat, ladies filling pots from wells. The women seem to work in the fields after doing the family & household chores while the men seem to sit in cafes chatting!
After lunch we pass through a large marble selling area. It used to be quarried here but it is now exhausted so comes from Udaipur. Further on there is a big mining area for Feldspar (used in pottery) & Quartz (for glass making).
Eventually we leave the main highway and travel on more minor, then rural roads to our Fort Hotel in Nimaj. Family owned & run by 4 brothers in a tiny village. It looks wonderful and has great potential. Needs a lot more TLC though.
We were supposed to arrive on a bullock cart, but the bullocks were still recovering from their Diwali celebrations. Before dinner, on the rooftop, we are treated to some traditional music and dance by a local family. A beautiful 20 year old dances to the music and singing of her brother, father & uncle. It is delightful. A little boy, of about 8 joins them. It turns out he is the Prince of the family who own the fort. After a lovely dinner we are treated to a short firework display.