søndag den 17. september 2017

Rajasthani Plan

The 8th of July arrived and our Indian return was set into motion. We got through the immensely long way to Jaipur, with a 4 hour stop in Delhi in the middle of the night. Boy, that was rough. We were knackered when we arrived at our hotel but went out for a dosa anyway. And then we saw a Rajasthani puppet show !

The next morning we were up and at 'em early, heading out before it got too hot. Jaipur is the pink city, painted to stand out and as a symbol of hospitality. We saw the Hawa Mahal, which looked beautiful but very out of place with its' busy city surroundings - it looked like it belonged somewhere more quiet. My mum didn't even register that it was that thing we had seen in photos until we got home for the day, such were her serenity expectations haha.

 After this we headed for the Amber Fort, which was outside of the city.

 The mirror construction was subtle and beautiful.

 The walls of the fort slithered along the mountain side beautifully.

It did feel a little rushed though, as our guide didn't give us much time to linger.

 We left for Jantar Mantar, the observatory. The constructions here were interesting enough, but didn't really stand out that much.

The city palace was highly decorated and these doors blew our minds.

 It was interesting to see how they mixed three different types of architecture - islamic, hindu and maharajan.

We ended the night at Raj Mandir, possibly the best/fanciest Bollywood cinema in India. We watched a drama movie though, Mum. It was very violent, and the Indian audience applauded every time someone died. They also played the national hymn before the screening and everyone stood up. A fun experience!

In the morning I took another dip in the pool. It was very ornamental. 

 We quickly found out that we were the only guests at the hotel, to our surprise. We knew we were going during Moonsoon season, but we had counted on at least a couple others. And the sites we went to seemed crowded enough, so I shudder to think how many people are there during high season. It was an odd feeling being the only people in such a big hotel, and we almost felt guilty for keeping it open.
We were leaving for Jodhpur that day, but I had found out that there was a beautiful Chad Baori in Jaipur when I looked online the night before. I also realized that it was literally next to Amber Fort, and we got pretty annoyed that it hadn't been even mentioned to us by our guide.

Chad Baori are stepwell constructions collecting the water and it is a sight unique to Rajasthan. It was pretty mesmerizing and was absolutely my favourite thing we saw in Jaipur.

People were throwing bread down to the fish in the water. And we got to see it both in shade and sun when the latter burned through the clouds.
And then it was time to leave! I brazed myself for the 6 hour drive with seabands and an ipad with movies. We drove past these oddly shaped rock formations that in hindsight we should have asked to make a stop at.

We got to Jodhpur late and only just made it into the heart of the city before the sun set. We saw kids playing with kites, transwomen performing on the streets and getting everyone to dance - and there was even another couple at the restaurant!! We headed back for a night time snack in the hotel garden though and there were more people there which was nice.

 Early morning, things to see. First of which: Jaswant Thada, a gorgeous mausoleum.

We almost had this one to ourselves.

I fell in love with these yellow leaf trees.

It was time for another fort. Mehrangarh Fort lies in the middle of the city, and it is huge. Part of it has been made into a museum!

 The light reflected on, through or off most surfaces in the most wonderful ways.

It was pretty gorgeous.

We made a drive-by past this Umaid Bhawan Palace which is now a hotel and then went to a saree shop to get me a wedding saree. It was interesting to see the Rajasthani-specific craft of tie-and-dye patterns and block printing. I ended up spending more than I had thought I would on the saree, but it was pure silk and I was happy with my purchase.

 Where Jaipur was the pink city, Jodhpur is the blue. We asked around and found a good route to see optimal blue hues haha.

The blue against all the yellow, reds, and pinks was so gorgeous and this was definitely my favourite city for the aesthetic.

 We even found this lake where some boys were playing. And an old lady invited us to her roof to look at the view.

Aaah, look at that pop of yellow! I love this shot.

These ladies were so gorgeously vibrant. And the men stood around gambling.

These roads were very narrow and it was hard to even get a tuk tuk through them.

Another last dip in the pool, another departure for a new city. It was by this time that we realized that we had been too ambitious in our planning - going through cities this fast wasn't so fun. I watched Bollywood and Little Witch Academia on the way to Jaisalmer, the golden city. It is in the desert and the sandstone is their building blocks.

 The moonsoon hit that night when we were on our way out. So we lingered in the hotel gate, looking at the people passing by through the heavy rain. The power was out, so we couldn't go to our room - instead we sat on the porch with the owners and their dog, watching the lightning and I drew.

I was a pretty sight, but we were still happy when it stopped. After all, we were in Jaisalmer to go to the desert - which isn't much fun if it rains.

 Before going into the desert, we had a morning tour though. We went to the Gadi Sagar lake where they were tearing down what was left of a Bollywood movie set - they had been filming the previous day. My dad immediately felt like he'd missed out on that experience, but I don't think we would have been able to be close anyway. And it was raining so hard.

After this we went to - you guessed it - yet another fort. This is also in the middle of the city, but the difference here is that it is actually habituated to this day.


I thought I would love this fort, but I only really liked the Jain temple with its' wild carvings - the fort was otherwise mostly tourist shops and hotels and restaurants...

The sandstone carvings were gorgeous, and not two looked the same. It quickly got too much though, and we just felt overexposed. There were just too many details everywhere and their beauty was sort of lost.  Which was why seeing the Havelis didn't really make us too excited.

 It was nice to get a glimpse of everyday living though!

We passed many nice everyday scenes, and this is what we enjoyed the most.

Then it was desert-time. So we left our "bunker" and drove out of the city.

 On the way there Jai got a phone call from his company saying that our booked camp had been closed because of the heavy rainfall the previous night - luckily there was one other camp open and we went there instead. Normally there are tons of camps open, but it being the off-season...
We all found it hysterical that they had chosen these tiles for a desert bathroom - they honestly looked like a thousand scorpions.

 We got to the camp early and decided to leave for our camel ride early too, which proved to be a good decision as we got the space basically to ourselves - something that the later-comers didn't. They were almost going in a line behind each other.

Riding a camel was a lot harder than I had though. Since my saddle was uneven, holding on to it going downhill took all my strength. It was still a very special experience.

And it was actually pretty nice that it was so cloudy - then the heat didn't beat down on us.

Night fell without a sunset and there was a big dance performance before dinner.

Since there hasn't been a sunset, I was determined to see the sunrise. I got up and my dad went with me into the sand dunes.

We got the last few minutes of golden light before the sun showed itself. We weren't the only ones who had had this idea, and it was a little fun to be around the other morning people. It was gorgeous and I felt so drawn to the dunes, wanting to go further and further - also because I wanted to be by myself, away from the other tourists.

It had rained a little bit at night, because you could see the dampness on the sand in some places.

The sun got higher and shadows started to appear in the sand.
It was such a weird feeling to see trash and broken glass scattered everywhere in the dunes.

Dad got hungry, and we had to turn back.

Instead of waiting an hour or more for breakfast, we decided to head out early. We made our way back to Jodhpur and Mum and I went to the Sadar Market and to see the Chad Baori in this city. We had just arrived when the rain started coming down.

It seemed like this was the first rainfall here, and boys started appearing from all directions. They were drenched but it seemed like they had planned that if if started to rain they would meet and jump in the stepwell. It was fun to watch while we were waiting for the rain to stop! We then had a pick-me-up lassi at Shri Mishrilal - it was very lemon-y and thick.

And that was it for Rajasthan. We left for Bangalore the next morning.

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