North Tour: Jaisalmer and Jodhpur: Rajasthan, I’ll be back

Saturday, 5 March

JODHPUR TO FIROZPUR: RK, our tour guide, is Rajasthani. We asked him today what part of India he most likes to visit, and he gave us the answer you’d expect. Rajasthan.

But there really is something about the state I’m departing that separates it from the others we’ve visited in India. For once, I don’t feel like an animal in a zoo. We’ve had pictures taken of us, but at a frequency that pales relative to cities on the South Tour like Hyderabad and Kanyakumari. After 21 straight days of going out in Nagpur and hearing “foreigner” at least nine times, not one day on this tour have I heard the magic word more than six times.

In the streets of these J-color cities – Jaipur pink, Jaisalmer golden, and Jodhpur blue – there’s a crowdedness absent of its normal tension. With the exception of a shoe-wallah in Jodhpur, the shopkeepers have been relatively friendly and fair, conceding attention when passersby are clearly uninterested in becoming clients. “Come look my shop,” such a common refrain on the South Tour and in Nagpur, hasn’t been uttered to us by a single hawker on this trip.

Rajasthan is one of the places to which I’d like to return someday, and the views we were presented with today did little to deter me from wanting to come back. Another palace, another fort – each so beautiful I could have spent days inside and out, drinking in the landscape, architecture and beauty.

On the South Tour, we sometimes tired of visiting temples, their creativity fading into monotony. Not so here. In places such as the Maharengwar Fort, time stands still. Manmade spectacles abound in Rajasthan, the remnants of times when ramming down a door with an elephant was an effective way to invade a city.

Perhaps Rajasthanis in these places have just gotten used to foreigners. Or maybe the treatment of tourists is why they keep coming back.

Someday, I hope to come back too.



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