From the green Punjab to the drought of the dessert

At the moment we’re finished at the Pakistan side of the border and ready to enter India, we meet two Dutch girls. The “globegirls(.nl)” are traveling with their mobile home and are heading back to this is the most beautiful border we have seen up till now.

Nice gardens, good looking soldiers and something that looks like stadium. Why there is a stadium? Every night there is a big spectacle at the border when the flags are going down. On one site the enthusiastic Pakistan people, on the other side the cheering Indians. A few days later we are in the middle of the Indian crowd and see how they go wild when the soldiers are walking and running around. They make a nice show and when the flags are down the people leave the border again.

When we enter the Indian side of the border with our cycles there is a camera team who sees us. Today is an important day for the relationship between Pakistan and India. The first bus line between Delhi and Lahore is a fact. The ceremony has just finished and the camera team is putting their cameras away, but when they see us the camera appears again. They make an interview with us and when we cycle into the country the cameraman runs after us: “slowly, slowly” he shouts.

In Amritsar we visit the ‘Golden Temple’. This is the holy place of the Sikhs. The Sikhs-men are worth to look at as well. They all wear a …… with a lot of hair in it. They don’t cut their hair ones in their live because of their religion. Small boys have already a small knot of hair on their heads. So everywhere we see hair in Amritsar! Before we enter the temple we have to put of our shoes and wash our feet in a special waterpool. And this time something nice for Steven: he has to cover his hair as well! Everyone, men and women have to cover their hair. So we buy a real nice orange scarf for Steven and it looks great on him! Pilgrims from all over India come to visit the Golden Temple. The temple contains 750 kg of gold and you can see it in the middle of a lake. The pilgrims are doing their washing rituals in this lake. We walk around the lake and look at the pilgrims. We lopen een rondje om het meer en kijken naar alle pelgrims en hun rituelen.

Leaving Amritsar we cycle trough the green fields of Punjab. Most of the times they do not speak English, but it’s nice to look at each other. When we make a picture of one of them and we show it on the digital the pilgrim start to smile.

The landscape changes slowly from green fields into dry land and sand. The hills are coming back again and that feels good after cycling on flat roads for a long time. The camels are coming from all directions. It’s great to see how they walk with their big feet and when we pass them we have to look up to see their proud heads.

After six days of cycling we arrive in Bikaner. We find ourselves a very cozy hotel. The rooms at this place are different and there is a wonderful garden. The owner tells us that there is another couple on the bicycle. Rob and Lucie from Gaanderen left the Netherlands two weeks before we did and they are on their way to China. Since we left we have contact by mail and it’s really nice to read their stories on their website. (www.travelbybike.ismijnpassie.nl) It’s funny to meet each other, nice to hear their stories and we can talk for hours. In the evening we have dinner together and afterwards we enjoy the puppet player. The next they we visit the Temple of the Rats with the four of us. We try to have a look at the temple but the only thing we see are the rats. The rats don’t look very healthy and afterwards we throw our socks in the trash bin….

After a couple of days we wave Rob and Lucie goodbye. We stay for a few more days and enjoy the garden of the hotel. We polish our bikes because they are very dirty from all the sand and dust. Totally relaxed we continue our trip to Jodhpur. We enjoy the surroundings but we have to be aware of the traffic. The busses and trucks think they are the kings of the road and they won’t stop for anything. Sometimes we have to dive of the road to save our selves.

Ten kilometers before Jodhpur we find a very nice guesthouse. There is a big garden with cottages where we can put up our tent for free. The son of the boss asks us if we would like something to eat. He invites us for the wedding party of his sister. It’s again a very special event, like the wedding in Pakistan. This time men and women aren’t separated. The women are wearing very beautiful dresses in bright colors. After the ceremony of the rings it’s time to sing and dance. Everybody sings and dances on the songs of the Bollywood films. We enjoy the dinner and talk with a lot of people. At the end of the night we go to our tent.

We are cycling criss cross through the small streets of Jodhpur in search for a place to sleep. The only option in a hotel is a small tent on the roof. We don’t hesitate and from our tent we have a fantastic view at the blue houses and the fort of Jodhpur. We visit he fort lying on a rock of 125 meters high. With an audiotour it’s nice to explore this place. It’s funny to see all the people walking around with a headset. We feel at home in Jodhpur, a city with nice streets, shops and people.

In Jaitaran, a small village with only one hotel, Steven wakes up and doesn’t feel very well. Despite this we decide to move on. But after 30 km Steven can’t continue. In the next village we arrange a jeep which brings us to Phuskar. They bring us to a nice place. Steven sleeps the rest of the day and recovers very fast. But than it’s my turn. Probably we ate something wrong ….. But we have the ideal spot to recover. Phuskar is a holy place for Hindoes. There is a lake in the middle of the village and there are temples everywhere. Meat , eggs and beer are not allowed in this place. When we are both feeling ok we climb up a hill to a temple.

Lahore – Amritsar: 64 km
Amritsar – Zira : 84 km
Zira – Muktsar: 92 km
Muktsar – Ganganagar: 110 km
Ganganagar – Suratgarh: 79 km
Suratgarh – Lunkaransar : 110 km
Lunkaransar – Bikaner : 78 km
Bikaner – Nagaur: 120 km
Nagaur – Mandore : 134 km
Mandore – Jodhpur: 13 km
Jodhpur – Jaitaran: 90 km
Jaitaran – Phuskar: 28 km cycling, then with a jeep.

 

 

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