My indigenous affair with traveling started when I was very young. But the real zeal of traveling caught me in my early twenties.
I have travelled with family.
I have travelled with old friends
I have travelled with new friends
I have travelled with complete strangers
I have travelled with my gang
I have travelled with colleagues
I have travelled alone
Nothing can beat the feeling of being on the run!
Every time before I start my journey I get apprehensive
And every time I touch home after a trip, the hollowness eats me
Every time I look at my feet and think is this the last trip?
How many time have you noticed that something good has ended before it ends?
For a person for whom sea and hill station is a usual affair, visiting Rajasthan was offbeat. Sometimes you write a travelogue because you were so happy during the trip, you want re-live it again and again! And sometimes you just write it for the love of writing.
The journey started on a different note! Embarking on a journey always send jitters… good ones and bad ones.
All you travelers out there, a piece of advice – do check your tickets thoroughly before you jump onto the train, bus for that matter anything. And trust me it’s going to save you a lot of embarrassment. I suffered some serious identity crisis (wink). Never mind that’s a different story. Let me not drag you there…
Finally my train touched Rajasthan… And then the routine checking in and all that mundane regular stuff. Next, was traveling across the city in the local transport. This part of the travel somehow gives me a usual at the same time unusual feeling…
Bheed to har jagha hoti
Ghar mein bhi aur bahar bhi
Bheed mein khona to ghar pe munaseef nahi
Lekin kisi dusre seher mein
Lekin kisi anjaan nagri mein
Khud ko bheed mein khone ka mazza hi kuch aur hi hota hai
Yeh baateein to chalti rahenge…filhaal hum nahi khote..chalo us dor ko kheench le…
My first bus ride in Rajasthan and I got scolded by those “Rajasthani choris”. Remember when they say eyes speak. Trust me, it definitely does! And as a self-proclaimed photographer I could only imagine them in my invisible frame.
Whatsoever, I finally reached “Blue city – Jodhpur. Rajasthan has a tune attached to its name. As beautiful is the place, beautiful is the music. With all those palaces, forts, Rajputs, royal gharana stories, haunted “Kuldhara”, Jaisalmer’s yellow limestone carvings, the living fort… Somehow it all stays with you. And then you sit under the naked full moon night sky, cold chilly breeze and sight of the Meherangarh fort and real good food and with an old friend. What more can you ask for? It’s a feeling nobody can take away from me and I can’t possibly put it in writing. But I think you will go with the flow.
Rajasthan is a place:
Where ever you go, the music follows
Where ever you go, the voice follows
Where ever you go, the shadow follows
Where ever you go, the thought follows
After exploring the beautiful Rajasthan… Gorging on the kachoris… Then we… well we… I definitely had company…. a very old and wise friend started on another midnight run to the next destination, we actually fought with a person who as quoted by his family members was the way he was cause “ yahan ka hawa paani aisa hai” and “uska tone hi aisa hai”… I was like what the fudge! People actually give such explanations.
Night-out on a train with the bone chilling cold wind of a winter night was an out of the world experience.
Yes I miss winter. When you tend to stay in Manipal for a decade or more, the threshold goes down.
God only knows, the “garam adrak-wali chai” saved us. There was something about this place which kept my psychosomatic pain components very happy releasing a lot of endorphins (well these are the perks of being a pharmacologist).
It isn’t fair if I don’t mention about the world-famous “Pushkar mela”. Its huge, though I didn’t see what I was hoping for. But its worth a visit. Then the famous “Brahma temple by the pushkar lake”.
Going by the mythology, Lord Brahma is worshipped in very few temples. This is one of them. The temple, the evening aarti and the lake, its beautiful.
And there was Ajmer.
Ajmer is famous for two things- Ajmer Sharif Dargah and the rose flavoured lassi. The place gives you so much peace. It was altogether a very different yet wonderful experience for me.
Rajasthan gave me something- peace and a lot of thoughts to feast upon. This part of the story won’t be complete without me mentioning about the adventure of getting down in a completely unknown station, and hunting for garam chai… And god bless the old lady who was nice enough to make us a “perfect ginger tea” so early in the morning.
Next was – Jaisalmer. The golden city of Rajasthan gives you a grand welcome with all those spectacular yellow lime stone carvings. It is amazing how delicate and extremely beautiful these carvings are. It will surprise you, in a brilliant way.
Then there is the living fort of Jaisalmer.
“The Living Fort” as called by the locals. It’s a home to thousands of locals. The grandeur of the place sweeps you off your feet. And then there was the chilly weather, which made it all better. The next part of the journey covers the safari through “Thar desert”. First they took us through the deserts, better to hire an SUV. The road gets better and better as you move forward. You can actually see all the sand below the layer of coal tar. Passing by the barren lands, windmills by the side, few small huts in between, it all made me wonder people still live like this. It is saddening to look at.
No water, no plantation and they have to travel quite a lot of distance for grocery shopping. Even the cattles have nothing to graze on, but they all survive. Let’s not indulge on the darker side of the place.
Yeah then the camel ride. Well with all that massive amounts of adipose tissue, I really felt sad for the camel. Poor animal. But somehow the “sawari” gave me that “your royal highness” wala feeling. Watching the sun go down and light washing away the desert was stunning.
The evening was later followed by cultural richness and proper Marwari bhojan. We returned when the night was still young, with the moonlight guiding us through the darkness. (Darkness just reminded me of “Darth Vader”).
The next day we covered “Kuldhara- the abandoned & cursed village”. The strangeness of the place sends you back in time. One night in 1825 all the 83 villages were abandoned, leaving back a cursed village. The ruins of Kuldhara stands still surrounded by the strangeness and emptiness dawned upon it by mankind. And if you actually google, it is haunted my friend. “Haunted” !!
The next and last destination was “Longewala post”. Whatever they showed you “Border”, it is the same place. The place, the Pakistani tanks and a small video on what exactly happened in the battle of longewala, it all made me wander about the true nature of a man.
They kill again
They save again
Few run away
Few fight bravely, with their inner demons and the outer as well
The visit also included being a part of “aarti” at “Tanot mata ke Mandir”. It all speaks for the believe in something so powerful even science fails to explain. A power bigger than everything, a power above everything. You actually have to visit the places to feel, what I felt. It is something unusual and at the same time very usual.
There ends my long travelogue on Exotic Rajasthan.