By Sangeetha KB.
My first journey westward and I was looking forward to being in a land and experience the terrain at the foot hills of the Aravallis. I followed forts, frescoes & folklore on my journey through ‘Rangilo Rajasthan’. Rangilo meaning ‘colorful’, is an apt adage for Rajasthan.
Red is the color that influenced me most. The red stones adorn the wall of mighty forts like Amer, Mehrangarh and Kumbalgarh to name a few. They stand tall for engineering excellence, a symbol of power & strength which the Maharajas commanded for years. Walk in to these forts, and soak in the silence of steep stairways, secret gateways and the stunning architecture. Don’t forget to take a minute and thank these heroes, for without them we’d never have the freedom we enjoy today.
The Golden sands will beckon you. The desert has a charm of its own, much like the mountains & the sea. The sun sets beautifully across clear skies and drowns in the desert sands much like the sunset at a beach. The big differentiator is the silence. With mild winds blowing and delicate sand creating beautiful patterns on the surface, this experience makes it surreal. One can sit here for hours without feeling the need to talk to someone or do something. The clouds reflect the deep red sun and the sand glows to a beautiful golden during sunset. Be there to experience it & I bet you’d come back with a song in your heart.
As white as snow and as bright as the sun! The maharajas of Rajasthan belonged to the Surya Vansh or descendants of the Sun God. This symbol adorns the walls on many significant palaces and museums. The white marble that Rajasthan is famous for, is truly worth the pride. One can find distinct carvings, murals, pillars & ceilings in fine marble. One engineering feat that can puzzle a modern day geek is the ‘Chatriyan’ or sacred dome built to honor the dead kings. The circular dome has marble placed in fine circles and the placement is impeccable. Most of these are not stuck together with cement / mortar but seem interlocked. The white marble is certainly the pride of Rajasthan. Do take a minute to appreciate the creators of this timeless beauty during your journey.
There is an interesting story about the turbans that men wear in this side of the country. The turban is worn differently across different regions within Rajasthan. Some look simple while others look large and heavy. Interestingly men wear bright colored turbans in pink, yellow, orange or red. Women usually walk around with a large veil and curios eyes wanting to look out. Electric Pink is the standout among women followed by bright yellow or deep purple. Watch out for dance, music and puppet shows that happen within forts and palaces. Most of them are open throughout the day and last just a couple of minutes, ideal for a busy traveler can catch a quick glimpse.
Rural Rajasthan is beautiful and a drive across the Haldi Ghati is a must do in case you intend to visit Udaipur. People here are warm and willing to help. The food in Rajasthan is tasty and has an unusual mix of spices. Do take time off to stop at road side dhabas for chai, pakodi. Relish some good rabdi or pyaaz kachodi, you’ll not regret the extra calories. ‘Khao Sa…Khao Sa…’ is like an anthem you’ll hear while stopping by eateries. It’s a lovely way of persuading you to eat more.
I visited Rajasthan during December and the fields blossomed with yellow mustard flowers. In addition to mustard, the state also grows wheat, sugarcane and roses. And yes, a good part of Rajasthan is green, thanks to many initiatives taken up by the government & the people.
My journey covered all the popular tourist spots and some that I wasn’t aware of. My visit to the ‘Maharana Pratap Museum’ on the way to Udaipur was one of them. The place has statues & and an Audio Video covering the life & accomplishments of the King. The Maharana fought the Mughals to regain his territory after 21 years of struggle. A sacrifice that we need to justify amid the innumerable scams, insecure citizens & mindless politics that the country facing today. The awe of Rajasthan took me back in time to the integrity, discipline & patriotism that ruled the nation 200 years ago. The citizen of today was carrying candle light vigil in silent protest against the Delhi rape case is small gullies across the state. This shade of grey didn’t feel good.
Food music, people, places & everything about Rajasthan is colorful. Rangilo it is indeed!
Must do activities in Rajasthan:
· Camel Ride in the Desert: I made sure; mine didn’t take me off for a free ride to the neighboring country. And yes, our neighbors stay very close
· Chai at a Dhaba: Rajasthani chai is the best I’ve had. There is loads of ginger and cardamom. Have as many as you can
· Chokhi Dhani: A very good concept to intertwine music, dance & food. You’ll love everything about it. Indi Yeah! This country never fails to amaze me.
Author Bio: The author travels to get a life & works as a Business Analyst for a living. She is from Bangalore. She believes that every journey has something new to offer, the idea is to remain disconnected from the noise and connect to the place, and you’ll pick up a lot more things than just souvenirs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
India Untravelled offers a chance to discover Rajasthan's folk and farm culture near Jaipur, at Nirvana Organic Farm.
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