Land of the Kings
Trip Start Feb 09, 2012
11Trip End Feb 26, 2012
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Our bus got a flat tire on the highway today, so we all stood on the shoulder in the afternoon heat while the driver and assistant made the repair. They had it done in a mere 20 minutes or so - an impressive feat of coordinated moves honed, I'm sure, through plenty of experience
We were surprised by the level of activity in this small town, and soon learned that it was due to a local festival in honour of Lord Shiva's birthday. The main street had been painted red (symbolizing joy), and women were dressed in their brightest saris.
There were noticably more women than usual, making it all the more colourful against the backdrop of dusty streets. Trucks and buses crammed with people who had come in from the surrounding villages manouevered through the crowds. This is another place where tourists still seem to be a novelty, so we received lots of curious stares from the adults, and fom the children many hellos, smiles and waves.
We are staying at a beautiful heritage property that is still owned and operated by the original landlord family who collected taxes and administered the area on behalf of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The rooms are palatial, and there are a number of beautiful courtyards. There are yellowed portraits of past generations of the family on the walls in the rooms and passageways, featuring lots of serious-looking mustachioed men in turbans. At each of our hotels, we have received the lovliest of welcomes. There are always numerous staff members greeting us with a warm namaste, and usually a musician and welcome drink of fruit juice or fresh lime soda. Sometimes we are given a garland of fresh marigolds; this time we were showered with flower petals and each given a cool wet cloth to refresh with. Ahhhh...
Sam, along with the hotel chef, gave us a cooking demonstration and tasting of some traditional Rajasthani dishes in one of the coutyards. Sam is quite a keen cook himself, so he seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. We tried a lentil dish, another one with chickpea flour dumplings in a curry sauce, and some spicy fried chicken. The dishes were tasty, as was the saffron flavoured liqueur I sipped while watching the proceedings.
It was a royally good day in Rajasthan.