India, Rajasthan
Comments 12

Royal Rajasthan

The pages of Indian history textbooks spring to life in Rajasthan. My winter trip to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur transported me to the pre-Brit India of royalty, grandeur and power. 

Despite the cold north, days are exasperatingly hot in Rajasthan, with frigid nights. Our road trips were filled with mirages, which tend to appear magical, despite tenth grade Physics. The sky was always a majestic blue, unlike I’ve seen elsewhere  in India. Even sunset in the state was different, more spectacular, with definite colors in sharp phases and a lingering after-sunset. The night sky was a sight I’ll never forget, especially in Jaisalmer; I have never seen so many stars twinkling in the pitch-black sky.

Flooded with blue-painted houses, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. It is home to one of the biggest forts in India, Umaid Bhawan, which took 15 years to build and is a proud glimpse into the luxury that our country could once boast. As a tourism-fed economy however, one half of Umaid Bhawan was bought by Tata and converted into the Taj Hotel.

The Blue City, Jodhpur

The Blue City, Jodhpur

Umaid Bhawan

Umaid Bhawan

Royal hookah!

Royal hookah!

A royal convertible!

A royal convertible!

Jaisalmer, the Golden City, is a small town with grand havelis, which are now houses, hotels, shops, even petrol stations. Crossings, dividers and light poles are also golden marble structures, giving the city a very ancient, royal feel. The ride into the Thar Desert is marked by shrubs and cacti growing sparsely on dull, dry ground, where no trees or crops could ever hope to survive under the penetrating sun.

The Thar Desert is a huge expanse of sand, not exactly post-card view, but spectacular nonetheless. My camel, Disco, aged 8, was my first touch-point with a real desert; until then, all my notions of Rajasthan sprung from the movie Dor. Unfortunately, poverty has grabbed and eroded even such a breath-taking creation of nature. My camel tender, Akeesh, was a 15-year old boy from a nearby village, who, always in the desert land, will probably never imagine where the rest of the world has reached. By the time Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan reaches these villages, we’ll be old or dead. It’s a sad, painful realization. It makes me wonder though, if the world were a happier place when everyone was still poor, when nature was home, when money didn’t exist. I digress.

The Golden City, Jaisalmer

The Golden City, Jaisalmer

Lake view

Lake view

Thar Desert

Thar Desert

Disco!

Disco!

Sunset in the desert

Sunset in the desert

The after-sunset

The after-sunset

Jaipur, the Pink City, looks more peach than pink now. Apparently, it was painted pink in honor of a king’s English friend, and has never been whitewashed since! Like the rest of Rajasthan, it is filled with pigeons and touched by royalty. It is however, a lot more posh and metropolitan. The Birla temple is a marvelous structure in white marble.

We detoured to Ajmer on our way back to Delhi. Honestly, I couldn’t decipher the Ajmer Dargah. If you can close your eyes and imagine the maximum number of people that could fill a given space, you can almost picture yourself at the Ajmer Dargah. It is evidence that faith can move millions.

In Rajasthan, the elephant symbolizes love, the camel,  luck, the horse, power, and the cow, spirituality. It is a state where history is still alive, a state which is truly home to the color, vibrancy and culture that is the core of India. It makes me want to go back in time and become a part of our grand history.

This entry was posted in: India, Rajasthan

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Over 3 years ago, I gave up my home, sold most of my stuff, stored some in the boot of a friend's car, and started calling the road home. Thanks for coming along virtually on my adventures! I'm always eager to hear your thoughts; leave me a comment and let me know how your travel dreams are shaping up and what you'd like to hear about more on my blog. Connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @shivya.

12 Comments

  1. If Jaipur gets white washed, it will turn white 🙂

    Lovely pictures. Looks like you had a great time visiting these places.

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  2. Oh my god!! That’s so so beautiful! Lovely pictures! 😀
    I’m going to Ahmadabad in Feb, I think I’ll take a detour! 😀

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  3. I think you have not explained why or how you travel so much if you are trying to finish your university studies and so would have to study very much. Also, I saw your very long reading list, and so I wonder how all that fits in.

    Something else. Do you know that you can whitewash a house pink or blue? You say that somew houses were painted pink in honor of some king and have not been whitewashed since. I am Swiss, but living in Spain, and so I found out about whitewashing. It is done with a lime solution and they often add some sand or marble dust or colour. Sand makes it pink. Abnd I know what makes it blue, but I can’t find the English word for it, at least not right now 😀 because I am writing at work.

    Whitewashing is very very nice work.

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  4. docmitasha says

    i’m half jodhpuri, and i have never seen the city from that vantage point. that’s shameful. i have also never been to anywhere else in jodhpur. i’m envious that you have! lovely pics, darling, and i’m glad your trip seemed to have gone so well!

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  5. @ Neilina: Thanks 😀 You must!

    @ Amit: Thanks 🙂 Definitely add Jaisalmer to that list!

    @ Nikhil: Thankies 😀 I hope you do! Tell me how it goes 🙂

    @ Valerine: It is 🙂 I hope you’ll take a trip soon. It’s so worth it!

    @ Cantueso: Welcome to The Shooting Star! I guess that’s the good part about college. You can squeeze in so many things and never figure out how you got enough time! My reading list is ever-expanding, so that does fit in 😀 Wow, Spain must be beautiful to live in!

    @ Docmitasha: Ah, so you know what to do the next time you’re in India! We should put it on our list of places to visit together 😀

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