I had a request to revisit Rajasthan, a state in Northern India. Of course I haven’t visited a lot of India, only scratching the surface of this amazing country, but if I had one recommendation (apart from visiting the Taj Mahal) it would be to spend time in Rajasthan. I was there for about a week, mostly in the countryside. If you need a break from India’s crowded, dirty cities, then head north and spend a few days in one of this area’s magnificent rural palaces now turned hotels.
The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur, the pink city and the Palace of the Winds is the iconic symbol of the city. It was built to allow the ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday city life pass by. You can also tour the City Palace. Near Jaipur is the Amber Palace which is a corruption of the real name, Amer Palace. The photo is taken of the gardens in the lake. You can also ride an elephant (which of course I did) to get to the fort which is a great example of Rajput architecture. I could spend hours just staring at the intricate designs and carvings on the buildings. One day, when I have loads of time (stop laughing) I’m going to research the lives of the royal women in the 16th century and write a book set in one of these palaces.
If you’re into birds, then a stop at the Bharatpur bird sanctuary should tickle your feathers. According to my guidebook, if you do visit, bring insect repellant as the shallow pools are also home to millions of mosquitoes. If birds aren’t your thing, there’s also a Tiger Reserve. I visited one, though I’m not sure if it was this one, but didn’t see any tigers. Tigers and birds aren’t the only animals you can experience in Rajasthan, I also rode a camel as a part of the state is desert.
But for me, the most incredible experience in Rajasthan was the people. As we were driving down the road, we saw a group of Indian women in gorgeous saris balancing bundles of wood on their heads. I also had tea with a farming family, cycled along a country road and don’t get me started on the beautiful children. While there I purchased a hand-painted silk bedspread that I’ve been too afraid to use because I don’t think it will clean well. But now that I’ve painted my front room a new colour, I could put it on the back of my sofa as a reminder of my incredible visit to this part of the world.
Finally, for this post anyway, don’t forget to visit the city of Udaipur, considered the most romantic city in India. If you can afford it, stay at the Lake Palace Hotel, where James Bond romanced a circus troupe of women and fended off the bad guys in Octopussy.