We liked the pleasant town of Deoli but were glad to leave the hotel, which had been unhelpful and the first place to overtly try and overcharge us for the room. I guess this was not a town tourists would come to and therefore the hotel does not live or die by its booking.com (or equivalent) reviews.
We only had a short hop today to Bundi and 48km of flat on a main road were done by mid morning. As we turned into a small range of hills and rounded a corner we could see the spectacular palace emerging from the rock face. We settled into our simple guest house then went to explore.
Bundi could best be described as shabby but had a charm of its own. There were some tourists but not many and no stalls of tourist tat lining the streets. The palace dated from around 1620 and had clearly been spectacular in its time but had fallen into ramshackle ruin.
Some renovation had been done and gave a flavour of what it was like, including some fabulous murals, but all the upper floors were shut to the public. The views were amazing and showed a number of dilapidated buildings in the old town.
Now that we are connoisseurs of Rajasthani palaces and forts we could recognise the steep cobbled approach with sharp twists as being a deliberate defence to elephant charges.
High above the place was a even more dilapidated fort, which presumably the royal family retreated to if the defences were breached. The place certainly had atmosphere with bats hanging in the corners!
One day someone may be able to invest a very significant sum to restore the site to glory, when it will certainly rival those we have seen in Udaipur and Jodhpur. There the deposed maharajas reinvented themselves after independence to become custodians of local culture and set up Trusts to convert their fading buildings into national monuments and museums. What happened to the Bundi royal family is not known to us.
We strolled the old town and saw the active market and did our ‘jobs’ (cleaning our stove, getting money, buying provisions, recharging our Indian SIM card). At our now very relaxed pace this took most of the rest of the day and recharged our legs a bit in preparation for a longer cycling day again tomorrow.