The ‘Sites’

Backdated from March 21/22.

Apparently, no visit to India is complete without a stop at the country’s sweetheart site, the Taj Mahal. I honestly might have given it a miss regardless, but Agra was a natural stop along the route from Jaipur to Khajuraho. First, though, we had a quick detour to the middle of nowhere to visit the Chand Baori stepwell.

I’d never have known Chand Baori existed if not for Pete. Lonely Planet doesn’t acknowledge its existence and Abhaneri, the town in which it lies, isn’t exactly a hub of tourism. I’m not sure if the place even has accommodation of which tourists can avail. But one of the advantages to traveling by bike is that you can make detours, bus routes be damned, to check the little ‘off the path’ places like this.

Pete was aware of the site as it was one of the shooting locations for ‘The Fall’ (you’ll see a shot of the stepwell scene at 01:49) – a movie of which he’s a big fan. A little short on plot but undeniably stunning in its visuals, the film’s scenes were shot on location in a variety of sites around the globe, and Pete had made it a side note of his RTW trip to try and visit as many of them as possible.

We parked the bikes in front of a small shop just across from the stepwell and hired a guide; partially to tell us the story of the site, but more to purchase some good faith from the locals so our bikes, still loaded down with our baggage, would remain untouched while we were away from them. Continue reading